Winter on Sheldrake Point

The winter solstice is just one week past, and meteorological winter almost four weeks gone by. Visitors this time of year stopping by for a holiday tasting often ask, “So, what do you do in the winter on Sheldrake Point?”

Many assume that we roll up the carpets and head for the Bahamas until April. That is certainly a nice idea, especially considering the brutally cold and snowy winters we endured in 2014 and 2015. Alas, we can’t just lock the door and open bottle after bottle of Sheldrake Point wine under the shade of palm trees.

Because winter on Sheldrake Point is too busy!

Our core crew of twelve people are hard at work at Sheldrake Point year round. Half of those folks are in the vineyard and the winery.

The Vineyard Crew Never Rests…

Vineyard work continues through December; vine pruning wraps up in January, then it's on to other projects.

Vineyard work continues through December; vine pruning wraps up in January, then it’s on to other projects.

Our average temperature in the first three weeks of December was around 49 degrees, a solid 12 degrees higher than average. So far, winter on Sheldrake Point hasn’t been so bad! In fact, the temperate weather and near-complete absence of snow has been a treat for working out in our vineyard.

Dave W., José, and their crew will be pruning vines until late January. They are also making repairs to the trellis, and installing new drainage in anticipation of new vine planting in the spring. February will be vacation month, followed by vine tying in March and April.

…Neither Do the Winemakers

In the winery, Dave B. and Julia are tending to the 2015 harvest now in tanks and barrels. They will soon prepare for bottling more Sheldrake Point wine, starting in late January.

These jobs are all part of the routine every winter on Sheldrake Point. The season of snow, cold winds, and short days tends to thin out our herd of visitors, so this quiet work of winery and vineyard nurturing goes largely unnoticed.

What’s Under the Tarp?

What's under the tarp?

What’s under the tarp?

One thing you will notice by next spring is the new Library Wine Grotto (a temporary name), which has been in the renovation process since early fall.

Some readers may be familiar with our satellite tasting room by the back courtyard, used over the years for overflow and groups. This newly re-purposed area will provide display space for our older Library Wines while serving as a location for upgraded tastings, small groups, and private parties.

Masons have been busy installing native stone and carpenters have been reconfiguring both the interior and the exterior – all under a mysterious plastic tarp that keeps things warm so the mortar will dry.

Visit us this winter on Sheldrake Point

If you are in the area this winter, please stop by for a sneak peek. The tasting room may be quiet but we are open every day. (Well . . . almost every day . . . sometimes it snows just a bit too hard. Call ahead to make sure!)

The view of Cayuga Lake is just as beautiful in winter, and I think our rolling hills and rows of vines have a stark dignity when covered in snow. Winter on Sheldrake Point is worth a look, and definitely worth a winter tasting.

Happy New Year!

Chuck was attracted to the Finger Lakes wine industry during his graduate work at the Cornell Hotel School and was instrumental in the transformation of the old abandoned dairy farm to today’s winery and vineyard. As principle owners, he and his wife Fran assume the risk of the venture and personally see to its priorities and requirements.  Chuck’s focus is on the management and company systems and processes.  When not in the office, he and Fran may also be working with the staff, doing repairs, tending the gardens, or chatting with visitors.