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dwelling in possibility

What is it like being a winemaker? Frankly, we're building the future. It's exhilarating yet exhausting; rewarding yet taxing. red tail ridge was born out of a necessity to progress; to envision what's possible, and then try!

With a climate similar to the cool climate regions in Europe, the Fingers Lakes is the perfect place to experiment. It was important to Michael and I to set us up for the long-term, which is why we became a LEED-gold certified green winery—currently the only one in New York State. 


This community and environment is everything I could have hoped for when considering where to experiment, grow and give back.  

THANK YOU for visiting our site and we hope to see you soon at our winery!

- Nancy Irelan

focused on community

Red Tail Ridge Sign

our region

the Finger Lakes region is home to a growing, influential wine scene that capitalizes on its unique environment and climate. it provides us with an uncommon toolbox, which makes our wines distinct.

food bank donations

giving back

over the last 10 years, through local and national partnerships, we have provided 10% of our sales from one of our best sellers "Good Karma," to support hunger within our region and the USA.

meet the team


Nancy Irelan

Nancy is the winemaker and partner at Red Tail Ridge. She has been in the wine industry for over 35 years.  


Nancy’s career path includes a decade at E&J Gallo as VP of Viticulture & Enology R&D, a PhD in grape genetics in the UC-Davis Viticulture and Enology Depart, along with various consulting gigs.


After years of large volume production and mass appeal, Red Tail Ridge is a personal journey of introspection for Nancy, as she focuses on how to best represent the unique personality and terroir of her vineyard.


Each wine is a tiny time capsule of typicity that reflects a moment in the life-history of our little property.


Mike Schnelle 

Mike is the vineyardist and partner at RTR. you might say he took the road less traveled on his journey to the Finger Lakes.  


He spent some time in heavy equipment construction during his younger days. After meeting up with Nancy and moving to California, he ended up going back to school and getting his MBA in Finance.  


Winegrowing is yet another evolution for Mike. With a few short courses in viticulture, and a brewing certification from UC-Davis, Mike basically packed up the two dogs and his belongings and moved to the FLX to start Red Tail Ridge. Nancy joined him a year or so later.

Winery Dog Bueller

Mr. B

Our rescue Bueller takes his responsibilities very seriously and patrols the vineyard on a daily basis. he is always available for furry cuddles and sloppy kisses!


We think Bueller is around 6 years old. We adopted him a couple years ago through the National Great Pyrenees Rescue (NGPR). 


While his first life was difficult, Bueller has adapted to his new life as family member and winery dog, and we can’t imagine life without him now. 

Tucker in Trouble.JPG


Tucker brings playfulness and a sense of adventure to the winery. He assists Mike in mowing the lawn by ensuring that bunnies and woodchucks are chased away from the mower. He is the official opening staff greeter as he monitors the vineyard in the morning. Additionally, he checks the irrigation pond's water level to make sure it has sufficient volume to maintain the vines.

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