I still haven't tasted a single wine from Three Brothers Winery, but I've been in touch with Erica Ridley, who serves as general manager there, for months -- all because of Twitter. She's one of a growing handful of Finger Lakes wine industry types to get on Twitter and really engage with customers (and the press).
Erica has a degree in dietetics from SUNY Oneonta, grew up in the Finger Lakes and has lived in the region her whole life.
She's also a vegetarian, but we won't hold that against her.And now, on to our standard Q&A questions:
What (and where) was the first bottle of wine you remember drinking?Of course something cheap and sweet, which I wouldn’t touch now. Probably Lambrusco. And I thought I loved wine then.
What event/bottle/etc made you decide that you wanted to be in the wine industry?
When I graduated from Oneonta State with a dietetics degree I was on my way to Missouri for a Master’s in Exercise Nutrition.
I was looking for a job to keep me busy and out of trouble during the summer. I found an ad for a small winery on Seneca Lake who needed tasting room help. Believe me when I tell you that when I pulled down the driveway and saw Nagy’s Newland Vineyard’s tiny shack tasting room I considered driving away and not showing up for my interview. I got out of my car and walked up the stairs and decided I definitely didn’t want an interview…
As I was turning around the winemaker and previous owner of the property Dale Nagy was walking up the stairs to greet and interview me. It was too late.
Later I met Dave Mansfield the owner of Three Brothers Winery who purchased Nagy’s and was building his wineries next door. That summer as I worked in the small shack, which I grew to adore for its charming ambiance (and by that I mean Hawaiian and Christmas décor and Jimmy Buffet music) the excitement was contagious. As I was attempting to talk myself into leaving for Missouri (a place I had never been to and wasn’t too sure I would like) Dave was talking me into staying at the winery. I decided to apply for the management position at Three Brothers Winery and have been at home ever since.
The excitement and growth opportunity paired with the passion that industry professionals have for the Finger Lakes is what made me want to be a part of the wine industry -- a decision I have yet to regret.
Sorry for the long winded answer. Wow.
Which of your current wines is your favorite and why?
Sauvignon blanc. They bottled it special for my wedding this weekend. It’s one of those wine’s that you are just so impressed and proud that it came from your business.
What has surprised you most about being a member of the Finger Lakes wine community?
This is a tough question. I think I will reserve the right to just comment that I am surprised by the Finger Lakes Wine Community almost daily. Sometimes good and sometimes bad.
Other than your own wines, what wine/beer/liquor most often fills your glass?
Vodka: a martini with 3 olives. Wine: Billsboro Winery 2008 Chardonnay or Damiani Wine Cellars 2007 Meritage (my new favorite).
Is there a 'classic' wine or wine and food pairing that you just can't make yourself enjoy?
I can’t get into cabernet franc. It has a pencil eraser taste to me that I just can’t get over.
Wine enjoyment is about more than just the wine itself. Describe the combination of wine, locations, food, company, etc. that would make (or has made) for the ultimate wine-drinking experience.
Enjoying Wine with a view of the lake in good company is the ultimate wine experience that I am blessed to be able to have often.