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July 22, 2010


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Wineries that attended the VIP Tasting:
(and notable owners and winemakers pouring that I could remember... sorry if I left anyone out)

Atwater Estate
Château Lafayette Reneau (Winemaker Tim Miller)
Dr. Konstantin Frank (Fred Frank)
Fox Run
Hazlitt 1852
Hermann J. Wiemer (Winemaker/Owner Fred Merwarth )
Heron Hill (Winemaker Bernard Cannac)
Hosmer (Owner/Grower Cameron Hosmer)
Lakewood (Owner/Winemaker Chris Stamp)
Lamoreaux Landing
Ravines (co-owner Lisa Hallgren)
Red Newt (Owner/Winemaker Dave and Chef Deb Whiting)
Shaw (Owner/Winemaker Steve Shaw)
Sheldrake Point


Good article, great vineyard list, arguably the allstar team of the Finger Lakes I suppose. What were they primarily pouring? Reisling's across the board, or did they make a good effort to mix red/white, sweet/dry etc?

I think you hit targeted my personal sentiments when you stated the need for a VIP experience to focus more on the wine and interaction with the winemakers, and less about free stemware and a sales pitch. Had the price been $100 an no stemware, I probably would have gone for it myself.



The list is across the board stuff. Almost everyone had at least 1 Riesling, but almost all were pouring 4-5 wines, with Cabernet Franc and/or Pinot represented in some way at just about every table. Very few hybrids were available, except Atwater's Vidal and Lakewood's Vignoles and Candeo (sparkling Cayuga).

Thanks for your post Tom and comments Kevin. We are excited that the VIP Experience will return to the Finger Lakes Wine Festival next year even better! We appreciate the feedback and if you have other ideas of what you would like to see at next year's VIP Experience please feel to post and share.

Nice writeup Tom.

It sounds like things are headed in the right direction with the VIP experience. Hopefully they can get the price down a little to open it up to a wider audience.

It's good to know after all those high end wines you still found yourself some Steuben and Frontenac to go home with you. :)

Morgen McLaughlin deserves a tremendous amount of credit for her determination to make something work on the high end at this event. What I love about Morgen is that she'll try anything, and if something isn't working, she'll adjust and get creative. It really shows in events like the VIP experience.

Tom - Great stuff. Thanks for the depth and detail. Too bad to hear about attendance. I enjoyed the rundown of events and, as someone who has not been in love with the FLWF, this is something that makes me take a good look.

Great article, Tom

Just as a note from someone who did work the festival, the winery I was with wasn't actually told about the after hours tasting (I was the one who opened the info packet, etc. earlier in the week and read it all), so perhaps the owners were told in some other form, but the sheriffs at the event seemed to think 5pm was closing time for everyone and I didn't hear anyone object or question.

The sparkling wine tasting this past February at the Harbor Hotel was a great experience. It was a wonderful opportunity to compare the different styles all in one place. The price-$75 was reasonable considering there was some food offered, and everyone was there to taste. I also believe that the VIP experience could benefit from some vertical tastings of older vintages. I have attended a number of these and they are always full of people who are interested in wine-making during different growing seasons.

Tom - Great post. I think this was a great report, and I think this a great direction for the FLWF to go in. I can see this aspect of the festival growing for sure.

And I agree with Evan - Morgen should take a bow, and I applaud this new direction.

However, I agree with Brad. Most of the wineries were not aware of the after hours tastings. This needs to be better communicated next year.

Brad: I had heard that the cops were just ushering everybody out at 5. I did taste from Chateau Lafayette Reneau (who pretty much brought their entire lineup, by the way), but that was it. I think this miscommunication is one example of the general lack of awareness of the VIP experience, which in some ways my piece tries to rectify.

Howie: I also enjoyed Bubbly. I covered it here:

Carlo: I'm sorry I didn't make it to Hudson-Chatham on Sunday. Would have been great to meet you.

nice post! if such events continue, FLWF will surely go more popular and grow!

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