We’ve had a lot of good news this year! Colloca Estate Winery, located on the shores of Lake Ontario on Little Sodus Bay in Fair Haven New York, has been named 2019 New York Riesling Winery of the Year in the New York International Wine Competition held recently in New York City.
The 9th Annual New Competition received over 1,400 entries from 24 different countries this year and awards are certified by a trade-buyer-only panel of judges. This trade only judging sets the it apart among competitions throughout the world.
New York State had its share of winners. In addition to Colloca Estate Winery being named New York Riesling Winery of the Year, Wagner Vineyards in the Finger Lakes was named New York Ice Wine Winery of the Year. And, wines from Black Willow Winery, Bright Leaf Winery, Sheldrake Point Winery were among the winners for individual wines.
Dr. Chris Colloca, founder and CEO of the Colloca Estate Winery grew up in Oswego, NY and attended Ithaca College at the southern end of Cayuga Lake, one of New York’s Finger Lakes. He had a hunch that if the Finger Lakes could have such an effect on microclimate for grapes in vineyards there, why not Lake Ontario?
Grape growers in New York State’s Finger Lakes Region were among the first in the state to experiment with European wine grape varietals known as vinifera. The Finger Lakes Region is credited for its lake effect tempering the vines and providing a beneficial microclimate.
His hunch paid off. He has a trophy case full of medals to prove it and being named 2019 New York Riesling Winery of the Year is recognition of his dream.
Dr. Colloca believes in the importance of terroir to making good wine. “Great winemaking starts in the vineyard,” he says. “The soils, sunshine, winds, and rainfall all contribute to a wine’s character and quality. Undoubtedly the characteristics that make a wine great: its complexity, layers, mouthfeel, aromas, and ultimate taste, are credited to terroir”.
Colloca Estate Winery and Lake Effect Vineyard® sits on 103 acres overlooking Little Sodus Bay in Fair Haven where he planted his first grapes just over 10 years ago. Not only did it receive the prestigious Riesling Winery of the Year award, the wines themselves brought home medals as evidence of their merit.
Wines from Colloca’s Lake Effect Vineyard® won 4 medals including:
2017 Colloca Lake Effect Vineyard® Dolce Riesling - GOLD - 94 points
2017 Colloca Lake Effect Vineyard® Riesling - SILVER - 93 points
2017 Colloca Lake Effect Vineyard® Dry Riesling - SILVER - 92 points
2017 Colloca Lake Effect Vineyard® Pinot Noir - BRONZE - 90 points
Dr. Colloca attributes his success to one simple reason. “The same moderating influence that is credited to affecting the climate for the Finger Lakes is also attributed to Lake Erie and Lake Ontario … but on a much larger, grander scale”. It’s why he named the vineyard, The Lake Effect Vineyard®, and has secured Federal Trademark protection for the brand.
“It’s my belief that over the next couple of decades many other wineries will pop-up on the southern shores of the Great Lake Ontario and benefit from the incredible gifts that this bountiful land provides us,” said Dr. Colloca. “Certainly while other wine regions in the world also benefit from the lakes over which the vines are perched, I truly believe we are on to something magical here in Fair Haven”.