Those are literally chunks of limestone sticking out of the earth.
That's unique because when we hear winemakers talk about the composition of the soil we have to use our imagination. In the case of Heart & Hands Wine Company on Cayuga Lake, the vines have not yet been planted. It's all about the site, which prominently features limestone, and we have the rare chance to see the composition up close before vines begin to grow (until his site can produce wine-worthy fruit, Higgins is sourcing his grapes from several growers in the region). In the Finger Lakes, limestone shows up in the extreme northern parts of the area -- not near many prime vineyards, in other words.
But what's the big deal with limestone and Pinot Noir? Why should wine drinkers care? What difference does it make? To get the answers I went out to Heart & Hands on a rare sunny day. In the video I'm joined by winemaker and owner Tom Higgins and his loyal dog Fion.