Winery Profile

Keuka Lake Vineyards, owned by Mel Goldman, is a small estate winery that has earned a reputation as one of the elite producers in the Finger Lakes since Goldman started KLV in 1997. The estate controlled vineyards are situated on the southern slopes of Keuka Lake, the Y-shaped crooked lake, in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York. Keuka Lake Vineyards farms 53 acres of vines but cherry picks 20 acres for their own wines and sells the rest to neighboring wineries. Keuka Lake Vineyard’s focus is on their four distinct single vineyard bottlings of dry Riesling, but they also produce a benchmark example of Vignoles as well as Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, and Leon Millot. While KLV’s efforts are essential, it is the depth and size of the Finger Lakes that makes grape growing in the climate of New York State even possible. The summer heat retained by the lakes lengthens the growing season and acts to moderate the extreme cold temperatures of the vineyards in the winter. Come spring, the now frigid waters moderate the warming air temperatures, delaying bud break and lowering the risk of damage by frost. It is the interaction of this temperate climate with the soil and topography of the land surrounding Keuka Lake that gives these vineyard sites their unique terroir. The glacial till topsoils (mixture of glacially laid rocks, sand, silt, and clay) deposited on the lower slopes above Keuka Lake provide for the water drainage that is essential for vine balance and health. The subsoils are predominantly shale, which lends a distinct mineral edge to the wines. The slopes themselves allow crucial cold air drainage during the winter and maximize sun exposure over the growing season.

“The winery is making a statement with its single-vineyard Riesling bottlings sourced from small vineyard parcels…” –James Molesworth, Wine Spectator

Wine Info

Dry Riesling “Falling Man Vineyard”, Finger Lakes: Falling Man Vineyard, planted in 2001 and totaling less than 1 acre in size, is planted on a seriously steep hillside where pickers are known to stumble and tractors apt to slide. The soils were left fallow for 10 years before planting to revitalize its ecosystem. This vineyard clearly displays what makes Keuka Lake special: the steepest slopes of any Finger Lake leads to particularly rocky soils that impart a pronounced minerality to wines. Fruit was handpicked and the juice fermented at cool temperature over four weeks in a stainless steel tank. The wine was naturally cold stabilized by winter cellar temperatures and was left alone for five months cellar aging before filtration and bottling in April.

Dry Riesling “Eastside Vineyard”, Finger Lakes: Sourced from a 6 acre, west-facing single vineyard on the steep slopes of Keuka Lake, this is KLV’s only vineyard on Keuka Lake’s eastern side. Glacial till soils. Eastside has the best airflow of all KLV’s single vineyards.

Dry Riesling “Goldman Vineyard”, Finger Lakes: The original estate vineyard, planted in 1998, is less than 2 acres in size. It’s composed of the classic glacial till soils (a mix of gravel, quartz, and sandstone) of the Finger Lakes and sits on Marcellus shale subsoils. This tends to be the earliest ripening of the single vineyards bottlings.

Dry Riesling “Estate”, Finger Lakes: Sustainable.  A blend of wines made from the Evergreen Lek, Eastside, and Ernesto vineyards on situated on the steep shores of Keuka Lake.   Rocky, gravel soils known as glacial till comprise the top soil and the bedrock is shale.  Fruit was handpicked and the juice fermented at cool temperature over four weeks in stainless steel tanks.

Semi-Dry Riesling “Estate”, Finger Lakes: Sustainable.  A blend of estate-bottled vineyards including Goldman, Ernesto, Lucie, Eastside, and Evergreeen Lek. Slow cold fermentation over 3-5 weeks in stainless steel.

Vignoles, Finger Lakes: Vignoles, a highly aromatic grape made by crossing two little-known grapes, Seibel and Pinot de Corton, has become associated with the Finger Lakes, a region where it thrives. Grown in KLV’s estate vineyards along with their neighbor, Purple Foot Farm. Rocky, gravel soils known as glacial till. KLV Vignoles is fermented almost dry with native yeasts and aged in stainless steel.

Cabernet Franc, Finger Lakes: Produced using fruit grown by Harry Humphries of Overlook Farms, a fine producer with vineyards located along the west side of Seneca Lake. Just shy of six tons was crushed and fermented in small 1-ton bins and the caps punched down by hand twice daily to achieve gentle extraction of flavor and tannin. The wine completed malolactic fermentation followed by seven months aging in neutral oak with weekly lees stirring to enhance mouthfeel.

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