Personal Touch, Environmental Responsibility, Experimentation
At Red Tail Ridge Winery we specialize in limited production wines because we believe that quality is more important than quantity. Keeping our production down allows us to better monitor the details of the wine making process. We produce small-lots (sometimes less than 50 cases) to further preserve and enhance the varietal characteristics that we generate in the vineyard.
We also believe that experimentation is an important step towards unlocking our vineyard’s, and this region’s, potential. We have 21 acres of cool climate varieties: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling. While you may be most familiar with these cool climate varieties, we are also examining some more obscure red varieties that work well in cooler regions of Europe.
Obscure Reds Varietal Series: We produce Teroldego, a red Italian grape variety grown in Alto-Adige, with deep color, brambly blackberriness, solid acidity and moderate tannin structure. Our Dornfelder is a red variety grown in Germany that produces medium body wines with velvety texture, slightly floral notes and flavors of plums, blackberries and/or cherry. We also make Blaufränkisch from a local vineyard until our own rows of Blaufränkisch are mature enough. The variety is well known in cooler regions of Europe; the wines are peppery and cherry with slight herbal notes of oregano and rosemary and a good balance of acidity in the finish. Lagrien is another northern Italian variety that we have also planted on our estate. This grape can produce robust, big bodied wines with obvious tannins, low pH and relatively high acidity. Descriptors include plumy, earthy, chewy and mineral. It is a descendant of Teroldego, and related to Syrah, Pinot and Dureza. Over the next couple of years we will be planting small experimental plots of other obscure varieties to examine their potential to produce high quality dry red wines in the Finger Lakes.
Other Experimental Wines: We also produce a series of expressive Riesling styles to uncover the grape’s versatility with varying fermentations, must weights, and vineyard locations. Our Sparkling portfolio includes multiple traditional methode champagnoise styles such as Sparkling Teroldego, Blanc de Noirs, and Sparkling Rosé. We also produce a Riesling Pétillant Naturel. In addition, we are currently experimenting with skin-fermented white wine styles utilizing different varieties. Winemaking at RTR will continue to evolve with an edge of curiosity.
Read about our LEED-® Gold Certification and more, by clicking here.
Red Tail Ridge is a 52 acre vineyard and winery located on the western shore of Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes region of up-state New York. Click here to learn more about the Finger Lakes and our climate for grape growing. Our winery is named after the two nesting pair of hawks who live in the woods surrounding the vineyard. They are our constant companions when we are working on the vines. We are a husband and wife team, so vineyard development, winegrowing, winemaking and management are currently divided up between us, Mike Schnelle (viticulturist) and Nancy Irelan (winemaker) with some helping hands as well. Check out the rest of our crew here.