By Finger Lakes Correspondent Jason Feulner

In the last few years the Finger Lakes region has attracted a plethora of media attention for its improving wine. This attention hasn’t just attracted tasters and consumers. It’s attracted entrepreneurs as well. The abundance of cheap agricultural land along the beautiful shores of the lakes offer quite an opportunity for those who want to break into the wine business. Despite the fact that the region already boasts over 90 wineries, there is room, at least physically, for many more.

Hence, new wineries have popped up all over the place.

In this article, Alex Shabar of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle highlights White Springs winery on Seneca Lake. Jeff Richards of the Elmira Star-Gazette writes about a California couple and their new red tail ridge winery (lower-case on purpose). And, finally, the informative Finger Lakes Weekend Wino reviews Shaw, a new winery on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake.

What is encouraging about these new wineries is their initial emphasis on vinifera.  For much of its history, the Finger Lakes produced sweet wines made from American grapes while vinifera struggled to gain a significant foothold. Now that so many wineries have found success with vinifera and high-quality hybrids, there is a general feeling that the future of the area lies in these grapes. 

New wineries will struggle with the increasing competition in the area, as well as the difficult growing climate.  Despite these challenges, the Finger Lakes region provides a unique opportunity for those investing in a winery.  Large and sparsely populated, the relative cost of land, supplies and services in the Finger Lakes is less than other wine-growing regions both in this country and abroad.

It’s great to see people living out their dreams.  Hopefully, their efforts will produce some great wines that we can all enjoy.