Posts Written ByMichael Chelus

At Liberty Vineyards, Family Tradition Turns Into Fine Wine

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Chautauqua County has been known as the one of the best places in the world to grow concord grapes for generations. That is why many family farms have been growing grapes there for well over one hundred years. Some farms that started growing mostly Concord and native grape varieties over time added vinifera grapes to their fields to sell to home winemakers. Recently, the region has seen an increase production of vinifera grapes and received acclaim for its success in growing them. These small blocks have grown into acres and acres of vinifera grapes that supply a burgeoning winemaking scene…

21 Brix: A Rising Star on Lake Erie

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Grape growing is big business in Chautauqua County and has been fore more than 100 years. The region gained prominence for grape growing when the concord grape was brought there in the 1870s. Called “America’s Grape Country,” the region is the oldest and largest concord grape-growing region in the world. The success of that grape has long been the dominant theme in the area, eclipsing the limited success vinifera grapes have enjoyed. There are more than a dozen wineries in Chautauqua County today, nearly all producing some vinifera wines. All of these wineries have had varying levels of success, but one…

Blending at Arrowhead Spring Vineyards

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Covering the Niagara and Lake Erie Regions the past few months has allowed me to meet many of the local winemakers. While I’ve been a wine lover, as well as a novice winemaker, for many years I’m just now learning many of the fundamental phases of a vintage in a commercial setting. At the end of September, I was invited to assemblage at Arrowhead Spring Vineyards in Lockport, New York. Assemblage is the French term for blending wines and the term used by Duncan and Robin Ross to describe their process at ASV. Joining me at the session were Ryan Little, winemaking assistant of Arrowhead…

Chateau Niagara Winery: Making a Name on the Lake Ontario Plain

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“Wine should always have a story and wines need a sense of place.” That is Jim Baker’s mantra. Baker is the owner of Chateau Niagara Winery in Newfane, New York and strives to live up to that mantra. To that end, each wine in the portfolio has a unique story regarding its inception and creation that Jim happily shares with each interested consumer.  These stories and Jim’s own respect for the terrior of the Lake Ontario Plain motivate Chateau Niagara to offer quality vinifera wine made in the Niagara Region. As happens often in the wine industry, the tale of the…

Eveningside Vineyards: Created Out of Passion, Driven by a Lifestyle

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Passion. Love. Family. Friends. Lifestyle. These five elements drive the wine philosophy of Eveningside Vineyards in Cambria, New York. Run by Randy Biehl and his wife, Karen, Eveningside Vineyards was founded in the Niagara Region in 2000. This simple philosophy governs how the Biehls approach wine making — and their lives —  and it’s one that has enabled the Biehls to own and operate one of the most successful wineries in the Niagara Region for over a decade. In their thirties, Randy and Karen got “the wine bug,” as Randy describes it. They were living in “suburbia” in West Seneca,…