The Oldest Bottles
Sheldrake Point Vineyard is actually the second winery operation to exist here in Sheldrake-On-Cayuga. Back in the latter years of the 19th century, there were significant vineyards planted just north of the point. Farmed by Fred Wyer, a Scottish descendent who came to this area from Nantucket, the vineyards produced grape juice and wine which was delivered across the lake by sailing ferry where the products boarded a train for shipment to Auburn and beyond.
The vineyards were abandoned in the 1930s and today, thick forest stands where the grapes once grew. However, the granddaughter of Sheldrake’s first winemaker has been living here for over 70 years and frequently shares her memories of running and playing in her grandfather’s vineyards as a little girl.
In her collection of family treasures, Naomi still has several bottles of Sheldrake’s original century-old wine. Like any good Scot, Fred was always frugal and bottled his wine in whatever bottle he had available. The corks seem to be holding up under their old wax seals, but the labels have long since disappeared, the apparent victim of hungry silverfish. Seems the basement insects have a taste for the glue used to paste the labels back then.
We weren’t there, but word has it that the last time one of these ancient bottles was opened, the wine was compared to the sweet nectar of springtime, unsurpassed on the palette in both bouquet and complexity, rivaling the great wine houses of the old world.
Hmmm, that’s the same sort of review we hope to attain one hundred years from now!