By Evan Dawson, Finger Lakes Editor

Photo courtesy of Red Newt Wine Cellars

Why is David Whiting smiling?

More importantly, why is he smiling while holding what appears to be a pitchfork?

We might never know the answer to the second question, but he's happy to explain the first. Harvest has wrapped up at Red Newt — at least, the final grapes came in to Red Newt Wine Cellars one week ago. Crush has finished, and Whiting is already working with assistant winemaker Brandon Seager to assess the 2009 vintage.

It will take time, but Whiting is fired up to talk about the aromatic whites.

"So far, things look good," he said. "I feel that riesling, gewurz, and pinot gris are outstanding." 

If he's right, it's good news for a producer that has recently focused on a range of whites – from low-priced everyday wines to high-end single-vineyard gewurztraminers. Red Newt has also bottled single-vineyard red wines. Whiting is optimistic but more hesitant to pass judgement on 2009 reds.

"The reds are looking good at this point," he said. "Very mature, but with ample acid and low pH."

Then, seemingly speaking for dozens of Finger Lakes winemakers, he continued: "We'll have to wait for an assessment on these."