Winery Profile

Fossil & Till was started in 2013 as a project between two friends with the goal of producing unorthodox, naturally made wines in the Finger Lakes. Inspired by natural winemaking from regions like the Loire and Beaujolais, Fossil & Till focuses on a minimalist approach to winemaking: native yeast fermentation, no additions of acids, sugars, or enzymes, little to no fining or filtration, and minimal additions of sulfur. For the first vintage in 2013, they created a pétillant naturel- a traditional method used to make sparkling wines that predates the Champagne method.

Kris Matthewson disgorging by hand

The aim of Fossil & Till is to explore the terroir of the Finger Lakes through an unorthodox, experimental, and natural approach.


Sustainable. 100% Riesling. Sourced entirely from the Davis Vineyard, a vineyard planted in 1998 in the “Banana Belt” of Seneca Lake, a 9 mile long microclimate on the eastern side of the lake known for warmer temperatures than the surrounding areas. The soils here are Howard Gravelly Loam with a subsoil of shale. All work to the vines, including leaf pulling and green harvesting, is done by hand. The grapes were hand-harvested at 18.9 Brix & sorted into lug bins then sorted again before being whole cluster pressed in a pneumatic bladder press on the gentlest setting. The juice was settled for 72 hours before being racked off the gross lees. Native yeast fermentation took place and the wine was racked into bottle and sealed with a crown cap before fermentation could finish. Fermentation completed in bottle (final wine’s sugar was 2 g/L) and the wine rested on the lees for 6 months. The bottles were then disgorged by hand and resealed with no fining or filtering. Sulfur use was kept to a minimum at 15 mg/L. 48 cases produced.


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