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Ravines Wine Cellars


Ravines Wine Cellars Blog

Press and news that features Ravines Wine Cellars

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November 15, 2012 | Ravines ,

Wine Spectator Visits Ravines

Last week we had the pleasure of hosting James Molesworth, Senior Editor for Wine Spectator and author of wine blog Stirring the Lees, at our new production facility and tasting room.  On previous trips to the Finger Lakes, James had visited us at our tasting room on Keuka Lake, but this was his first time seeing our new home on Seneca Lake.

James had the opportunity to take a walk through our vineyard with Winemaker, Morten Hallgren, who explained his decision to field graft the vineyard's few acres of hybrid vines over to Riesling:

          Field grafted vines

"It's the first time in 25 years anyone has field grafted in the Finger Lakes.  It makes sense: You keep the root structure in tact, don't have to redo the trellis system and only lose one harvest, rather than the four or more harvests you'd lose if you replanted entirely. We brought in a team from California and the success rate of the grafting was 98 percent. Anything around 80 percent is considered good. So we are really happy. But that's the first step. Now we have to get them through a winter and this first one will be the most risky for the newly grafted vines."

Watch the video of Morten and James in the White Springs Vineyard >

After touring the vineyards and cellar, James, Morten, and Lisa headed to the tasting room to taste a few of our recent releases, including the 2006 Brut Sparkling and 2011 Dry Riesling.

Ravines 2006 Sparkling Brut

2006 Brut

Molesworth described the 2006 Brut, "It's very refined, with subtle, fresh-cut pear, white peach, jicama and almond notes and a refined, gentle mousse through the finish. It shows a light toasty note but stays lighter in feel and more floral throughout."" I'd like to see it put in blind with a flight of Champagne—I think it would hold its own."


2011 Dry Riesling

And his thoughts on the Dry Riesling: "The Finger Lakes Riesling Dry 2011 looks to be one of the top bottlings from this Ravines 2011 Dry Riesling heterogeneous vintage. It shows lovely cut from the start, with tarragon, flint, lime and pear peel notes and a long, nervy but invigorating's an excellent value."We had a wonderful time with James during his visit to our new winery and proud that he thinks so highly of our wines and the bright future for Ravines.

Read more about James' visit to Ravines on his blog Stirring the Lees and follow him on Twitter to see some great photos he took of the cellar and vineyards!

Time Posted: Nov 15, 2012 at 7:05 AM
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November 12, 2012 | Ravines ,

NY Times & Washington Post Recommend Ravines Dry Riesling

   In today's edition of The New York Times, Eric Asimov, wine critic for The Times, writes about some great wine suggestions for those who waited until the last minute to head to the wine shop. Asimov recommended Ravines Dry Riesling as his standby American White wine for Thanksgiving dinner:   

2011 Dry Rielsing recommended by The New York Times and the Washington Post

"My standby is the $15 Finger Lakes riesling from Ravines. This is a great wine..." 
Full Article >

   The Washington Post recently published their annual list of "Thanksgiving Wines to Try", a selection of wines that will match well with the White House Thanksgiving menu or your own traditional turkey and stuffing. Ravines' 2011 Dry Riesling was included in this year's list, receiving an 'Exceptional' 3 star (out of 3) rating and the following review:  

Ravines Dry Riesling 2011

Finger Lakes, New York, $17

   The wine industry east of the West Coast is exploding, and New York’s Finger Lakes have established a distinct character and style for Riesling. This lovely example caresses the palate with a limpid, mineral texture and flavors of apricot and peach, with a refreshing edge of talc and lime.

   With Thanksgiving only a day away, now is the time to stock up on wine for your holiday meal. Be sure to include a bottle of our beautiful 2011 Dry Riesling on the table with your feast tomorrow.  Space

Happy Thanksgiving from Ravines Wine Cellars!

Time Posted: Nov 12, 2012 at 1:18 PM
Ravines ,
October 24, 2012 | Ravines ,

Harvest Update

The harvest crew brings in hand picked grapes.Harvest at Ravines is coming to a close this week, after being the earliest harvest on record, the final grapes - some beautiful Cabernet Franc - from the Hobbit Hollow Vineyard located on Skaneateles Lake, will arrive in the cellar tomorrow.

In spite of the unprecedented early start to the season, the quality of the grapes in the 2012 vintage has been remarkable.  The white grapes were able to fully ripen while maintaining the bright acidity that the Finger Lakes region is so well known for. The red grapes hit sugar levels higher than we've ever seen before, with some of our Cabernet Franc coming in with Brix as high as 25.  For the most part, the grapes retained a good acidity level, allowing the wines to retain an excellent balance to go along with ripe softer tannins and intense aromas.

The only Riesling that will be bottled as a single vineyard Riesling is the Argetsinger Riesling, Sam Argetsinger and crew with Riesling grapeswhose grapes come exclusively from Sam Argetsinger's vineyard located on the southeast corner of Seneca Lake. Sam's vineyard is one of the oldest Riesling vineyards in the Finger Lakes.  The shallow, mineral-rich soils of the vineyard give the grapes a leaner fruit profile with more floral characteristics and focused minerality.

Fruit as unique as the grapes from Sam's vineyard require special treatment in the cellar. A portion of the wine is put into old, neutral French Oak barrels for fermentation and aging on the lees throughout the winter.  Aging the Riesling in oak barrels softens the mouthfeel of the wine while making it structurally more complex.  Winemaker Morten Hallgren has been utilizing this technique in the production of the Argetsinger Riesling since the 2010 vintage.

               Winemaker Morten Hallgren checks fermentation in the barrel.

Time Posted: Oct 24, 2012 at 1:34 PM
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October 15, 2012 | Ravines ,

Ravines Purchases White Springs

     The White Springs Vineyard.

Ravines just got better! We are pleased to announce the addition of the vineyards and winery at White Springs Farm to the Ravines Wine Cellars family.  In a deal closed earlier this year, Ravines acquired the White Springs production facility, along with 42 acres of vineyards at the Geneva site and an additional 19 acres not yet under vine.

               State of the art production facility.

The deal was an acquisition of assets, not a merging of the two brands.  White Springs owner Carl Fribolin maintained ownership of the White Springs brand and the White Springs tasting room located on State Route 14.  Ravines will continue to make wine for White Springs, as we have already been doing for the past few years.

The addition of the vineyards is especially exciting for Ravines explains winemaker, Morten Hallgren, "With its proximity to the extension of the Niagara escarpment, it sits on calcareous soil with pH values between 7 and 8. Our first impression is that riesling, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, and gewürztraminer will stand out."

View of the White Springs Manor from the vineyard

"The vineyards at White Springs are exquisite and the production facility is unrivaled in this region. This will be the third year we have produced our wines here in this facility and we couldn't be happier." - Morten Hallgren, Winemaker

Renovations to our Neo-rustic style Tasting Room, housed in the old wooden granary of a 
New Ravines tasting room in Geneva New Yorkbeautifully preserved barn, are complete. We are developing exciting new tasting and tour programs exclusive to the new property.  Vineyard tours and production facility tours will allow our customers to see the process and the great emphasis we put on excellent grape growing and production.
Time Posted: Oct 15, 2012 at 12:51 PM
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October 8, 2012 | Ravines ,

New York Times Top 12 American Value Wines

  Ravines Riesling New York Times best value wine

The New York Times wine critic, Eric Asimov, recently selected Ravines 2011 Dry Riesling as one of his Top 12 American Value Wines.

Ravines Finger Lakes Dry Riesling 2011, $15
A perfect contrast to the off-dry Hermann J. Weimer style. The Ravines Dry Riesling is truly dry and intensely mineral, succulent and lip-smacking. A great house white.

Check out Eric's full list of top 12 values in American wines and be sure to follow his blog! We love his appreciation for the Finger Lakes wine region and are always beyond thrilled when he recognizes any of our wines!

From the Finger Lakes, a Concentration of Good Wine
In my column this week, partly in response to a reader’s challenge, I suggest a dozen great values in American wines, all $20 and under. Some of you may be surprised at the selection, which includes four bottles from New York State.  Really? Indeed! New York, especially the Finger Lakes region, may have the greatest concentration of good values in the United States. I picked two Finger Lakes rieslings, one from Ravines...

Read More >

Time Posted: Oct 8, 2012 at 7:50 AM
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October 8, 2012 | Ravines ,

Harvest 2012

Believe it or not, Harvest 2012 is already underway.  The 2012 vintage will be the earliest harvest in the Finger Lakes on record.  An early bud break, a small crop, and a warm, sunny growing season have resulted in exceptional ripeness levels.  The sunny, dry weather has given us clean fruit in pristine condition.

            Grower Sam Argetsinger and crew unloading hand picked Pinot Noir.

The first Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for our sparkling wine production were harvested last week from Sam Argetsinger's vineyard.

          Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for sparkling wines from the Argetsinger vineyard.

Expect to see a lot more from us this fall.  We're looking forward to a fantastic vintage.

Time Posted: Oct 8, 2012 at 7:25 AM
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January 31, 2012 | Ravines ,

Dry Riesling named Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines of the World for 2011

The Wine Spectator lists Ravines Dry Riesling as one of this year's 100 most interesting wines of the world!  This follows recent accolades by Eric Asimov, New York Times wine editor calling Ravines "One of the best producers in the Finger Lakes," and recommended Ravines Dry Riesling as his top pick for Thanksgiving saying, "among some excellent whites, it was our favorite wine with food."

                                 Ravines Dry Riesling Wine Spectator's Top 100 wines of 2011

"Ravines Dry Riesling is like no other, it is my own personal expression of Finger Lakes Riesling. Each vintage is different in its own way, but the style does not change: delicate aromas of floral, citrus and fruit, vibrant acidity and a mineral-tinged finish. I stir the lees to create a richer mouthfeel and ferment out the sugar which brings focus to the flavors and aromas."
-Winemaker, Morten Hallgren

Due to high demand, we are now sold out of our 2009 Dry Riesling. The 2010 vintage is now available, exhibiting many the same qualities and nuances of flavor.

Time Posted: Jan 31, 2012 at 1:14 PM
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October 13, 2011 | Ravines ,

New York Times features Ravines and Finger Lakes Wine

Eric Asimov visited Ravines Wine Cellars during the 2011 Harvest season:

"I was a bit starstruck when he came to the tasting room because I have appreciated his work for years, but he is a super-nice down to earth man," reflects Lisa Hallgren. "He said he was 'blown away' when he first tried our Riesling and that was such a big complement for us.  Not everyone appreciates the focused, minerally style we make as it’s very different than other Finger Lakes producers, but Eric likes it and his opinion means a lot to us."
                        Morten Hallgren walks through the vineyard.
Morten Hallgren in a Finger Lakes vineyard. Photo by Nathaniel Brooks for The New York Times


By ERIC ASIMOV, published: October 11, 2011
Read full article >>

Ravines Wine Cellars, one of the best producers, makes a wonderful dry riesling. I drank a 2009 and liked it so much that I bought a case, for just $14 a bottle. Ravines also makes a superb riesling from the Argetsinger Vineyard above the east bank of Seneca Lake. The lakes, deep claw marks left in the earth of west-central New York by glaciers moving south from the Hudson Bay, are as much a part of the winemaking culture here as tough vintages like 2001. The great depth of their waters nudges this otherwise inhospitable region to a level of bare tolerance for the fine wine grapes planted on the lakes’ slopes. In winter, the lakes almost never freeze, moderating harsh cold to protect the dormant vines, while in summer they air-condition the vineyards.

“The whole cool-climate viticulture thing is lacking on the American wine scene,” said Morten Hallgren, the winemaker and owner of Ravines with his wife, Lisa. “It shows a bright future for the Finger Lakes.”


By ERIC ASIMOV, published: October 11, 2011
Read full article >>

The best vineyards are planted on slopes surrounding the lakes, where they benefit thermally from the lake effect: in the summer, cool breezes from the lakes ease the heat, while in the harsh winter, warmth retained by the lakes prevents the vines from freezing.

Closer to the lakes, vacation homes occupy the shores, each, seemingly, with its own dock, along with the occasional resort. The flat, fertile land in between the lakes serves old orchards and dairy farms. A significant population of Mennonites lives in the land between the lakes as well. Numerous signs warn motorists to be aware of horse-and-buggy traffic.

Tourism is important to the region, but it’s not the wealthy sort of wine country tourism more typical in California.

It's not Napa, but it has some outstanding wines and lovely scenery.

Time Posted: Oct 13, 2011 at 1:45 PM
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May 24, 2010 | Ravines ,

Cool Climate Viticulture

Vineyards on Keuka Lake in the Finger Lakes region

Cool-climate viticulture and the Finger Lakes. This is only the first of what I hope to be many blog entries pertaining to cool-climate viticulture and the role the Finger Lakes could play in the American wine market. To most wine drinkers, familiar with both European and American wine regions, there is an inescapable paradox, which can be kept down for a while, but sooner or later has to surface. In Europe, the cool climate wine regions have historically held privileged positions in the minds of wine aficionados.

Think: Mosel, Champagne, Alsace, Loire Valley, Burgundy, Bordeaux and Piemonte. While subject to considerable vintage variations resulting from their limiting growing season, these regions have nevertheless been associated with the very finest wines produced in the World. Understanding the sources of the vintage variations, wine drinkers anxiously await the reports describing the growing conditions of a particular vintage. It is understood, that only a few privileged regions provide the necessary conditions to produce wines of such reputation and interest and that these wines command a premium. It is perhaps because the grape growing and wine making conditions in these cool-climate regions are more challenging, that they have received most of the attention over the last 200 years. It is perhaps also because of the intrinsically higher quality potential, as defined by the consumers, that they have been held in high esteem.

Contrast this scenario with what has been happening on the American wine scene. Not including the Jefferson-era East Coast attempts or the native Labrusca as well as French-American hybrids, the action was long restricted to the West Coast. Despite sometimes significant climatic differences, I will contend that nearly none of the West Coast wine regions would qualify as cool-climate regions. I base this contention on two essential criteria: cool-climate viticulture severely limits the grape varieties suited to that region and, equally important, the wines produced retain essential cool-climate characteristics: moderate alcohol, noticeable acidity, fresh fruit aromas and significant aging potential. While many West Coast regions meet certain of these criteria, I do not believe that any meet all of them. On certain occasions, you could argue that the natural conditions are there, but than wine makers ( and winery owners) choose to bend the natural conditions to the point of loosing the regional character of their wines. I could easily be wrong on this point and would welcome corrections.

In the United States, I would limit the significant cool-climate wine regions to the following: Michigan, Parts of Pennsylvania, Long Island and the Finger Lakes region of New York. I know there are noteworthy producers of interesting vinifera wines in other regions, such as Millbrook in the Hudson Valley or Sakonnet in Rhode Island, but they remain isolated. Returning to the initial paradox, my question is this: why have the cool-climate regions in United States received so little attention? As a winemaker in the Finger Lakes region I’m primarily concerned with our region. Why has our wine region, at least until very recently, failed to attract the attention of the American wine drinkers and wine professionals? From my point of view, there is nothing more exciting than a cool-climate wine region maturing to produce interesting noteworthy wines. To be able to follow this rapid evolution is a unique insight, that none of us could experience in Burgundy or Bordeaux. Much like these regions, vinifera winemaking arrived later in the Finger Lakes than it did in California, Oregon or Washington State. The same was the case in Europe, where winemaking followed up the Rhone Valley before spreading to the northerly wine regions. In Europe, the spread of viticulture took centuries. In North America, we are essentially talking about four decades.

There will always be great spread in quality and style in new wine regions. This is even more true in a cool climate region such as ours. However, our region has the potential to produce wines with a balance, an elegance, a purity of aromas that simply cannot be duplicated in a warmer climate. This is why the cool-climate regions of Europe are now considered the classic regions. Just following this evolution in our region would be a worthy endeavor, so why has this not happened yet?

Time Posted: May 24, 2010 at 1:23 PM
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February 26, 2010 | Ravines ,

Ravines Single Vineyard Riesling Wins High Scores in Specator

“Quality is on the upswing in New York’s Finger Lakes Region” according to James Molesworth, senior editor of The Wine Spectator magazine.

Sam Argetsinger and Morten Hallgren unload award winning Riesling grapes

​Ravines Wine Cellars, and our Dry Argetsinger Riesling is one of the features of this article, and Molesworth points out that Ravines single vineyard Dry Riesling is the only non-desert wine in the Finger Lakes ever to have consecutive vintages with outstanding ratings.

Sam Argetsinger and his family’s estate vineyard are a big part of the beauty of this wine. Old vines, gravelly loam and limestone deposits create a distinctive minerality that sets this vineyard apart from others.

Ravines Argetsinger Dry Riesling is not the only wine from us that made Molesworth’s list, also included was:

Ravines Riesling Finger Lakes Dry 2008 (Floral with perfumy hint of peach, green almond, green apple, and melon rind notes, Bony in style, but not severe. RATING: 92
Ravines Meritage Finger Lakes 2007 (Shows depth and refinement, with currant, damson, plum and black cherry fruit, and on a fine-grained structure.  Tangy herb and mineral hints.  Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot.) RATING: 89

Currently our 2008 Argetsinger dry riesling is only available to our Ravinous Wine Club Members.  It is , so come JOIN NOW!

Time Posted: Feb 26, 2010 at 1:00 PM