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As summer winds down in the Finger Lakes, White Birch Vineyards is preparing for the 2018 harvest. Today our team met at the vineyard to walk the rows, review the season's crop, determine the order of picking of varietals based on their progress and of course, to sample the grapes!

Today our group consisted of Morten Hallgren (Wine Maker), Dave Pittard (Vineyard Consultant), Melissa Zell (Owner), Marie-Helene Gingras (Tasting Room Manager), Julio Parillo, (Vineyard Employee), Brian Taylor (Farm Manager), Alison Ferretti (Tasting Room Associate) and myself, Virginia Wheeler (Asset Manager).

The weather was beautiful and the grapes were delicious, bountiful and guaranteed to make perfect Finger Lakes wines.              

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 The Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival launched their 60th Anniversary season by opening with the sensational hit 'Mamma Mia!' last night.

The show runs June 6 through June 27 at the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse in Emerson Park.

White Birch Vineyards is proud to be a sponsor of the Festival and is excited to have our wines featured at the Playhouse for Mama Mia!



Tickets for Mamma Mia! are extremely limited, and can be purchased by phone at 315-255-1785 or toll free at 1-800-457-8897, and online at and enjoy White Birch Vineyards wines during intermission.


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On Thursday April 19th, the Sherwood Inn will be presenting a five course wine dinner featuring White Birch Vineyards wine.

Tickets are $55/pp.  To reserve your seats call 315-685-3405 or visit


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 The season is slowly winding down and the preparations for the winter are under way. The left most picture is the first frost of the season, which was cold enough to freeze the leaves and close out this growing season. The second picture is the vineyard on the following day. As I type this blog, it is 20 degrees outside and there is an inch of snow on the ground.

This season's harvest in the Finger Lakes was one for the record books with vineyards producing more grapes than they have in quite some time. The weather last summer during the bud forming stage was good and the winter was mild so the buds lived to produce clusters of fruit. The season started off with more than average rain and then September was dry and warm to help the ripening once again. For the last few years good weather in September has helped push the grapes to ripeness.

Let’s hope next season isn't just helpful in September but helpful all summer long.



The left picture is of Chardonnay grapes that are ready to head to the press pad for the first step in the wine making process. In the field we use a hopper and conveyor to load the grapes from the 30# “lugs” into the approximately 1600# macro bins. We hand pick our grapes so the pickers leave the lugs under the trellis and we come through and empty them into the hopper that connects to the conveyor which drops the grapes into the macro bin while the tractor is moving, which helps speed up the process.
Hand harvesting is a long process and can take an experienced picker up to 3 hours to complete a full row, depending on crop load. So far this season we have harvested the Pinot Gris, Sauv Blanc, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with the Lemberger being picked this week.