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21 Brix Winery
Kathy Sullivan

21 Brix WinerySummary: 21 Brix Winery is located on a family farm in Portland, New York not far from Lake Erie. The winery is a fine example of value added farming. In addition to the 300 acres of grapes, the farm has fruits and vegetables including cherries, raspberries and asparagus. 21 Brix Winery's tasting room offers a delightful experience with serious wines. It is very easy to find the winery; look for the life-size pink elephant at the entrance.

21 Brix Winery is located on a family farm. Kristopher Kane is the third generation on the farm and wanted to take the farm to the next step by opening a winery. After college Christopher worked at Presque Isle Wine Cellars. Together with his parents, they have established one of the largest wineries and vineyards in western New York. 21 Brix Winery broke ground in 2010 and opened their doors in September 2011.

21 Brix WineryTasting Room

The tasting room located in the same building as the winery offers views of acres of vineyards.  The counter is of polished dark wood while the walls are of red and brick. The tasting room is a modern style with a friendly ambiance. Sitting areas for small groups and round tables with plaid tablecloths add to the atmosphere. Visitors are encouraged to stop by with a lunch and enjoy a glass of 21 Brix wine with it.

21 Brix WineryThe tasting room is relaxing. Leather sofas and chairs, in two areas, offer a relaxing living-room like area. Large windows on one side of the tasting counter overlook into the barrel room. While on the other side of the tasting counter, large windows overlook into the tank room.

Wine enthusiasts can look forward to browsing the wine-related products including wine picnic baskets as well as dip chillers and an assortment of cheese boards.

21 Brix WineryVineyards

Today the vineyards have 300 acres of grapes. Wine grape vineyards of 150 acres include: Riesling, Vidal, Seyval, Pinot Gris, Muscat, Gewürztraminer, Cayuga, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Noiret and Lemberger. The remaining 150 acres are planted with juice grapes - Concord and Niagara. Juice grapes are sold to Welch’s.

21 Brix WineryThe Pink Elephant

The large bright pink elephant came from an amusement park. Located near the entrance, the elephant is most unusual anywhere and especially in this rural area of western New York. The elephant is used in the winery’s advertising campaigns. The large elephant is decorated throughout the year. On the day we visited a large quilt was across the pink elephant’s back.


The winery makes an assortment of wines. Kris’ mother, Marion, noted, “We grow them and we make the wines here.” Look for red, white, fruit, and dessert wines.

Gewürztraminer 2011 was a light straw color. Floral notes were on the aroma. The taste was of roses and orange blossoms. The finish was crisp with spice. Dry Riesling 2011 was a light straw color. The aroma was of floral and citrus notes. The taste had notes of honeysuckle, and citrus with hints of peach. The finish was crisp and fruity.  Semi-dry Riesling was a light straw color. The aroma offered floral notes. The taste was of orange with peach hints. The finish was crisp and fruity.

21 Brix WineryNoiret 2011 was a ruby color. Pepper was on the aroma. The taste offered pepper and dark fruit notes. The finish had mild tannins and was spicy.

Ellatawba Lake Erie with 6.5 percent residual sugar was named after the pink elephant. The aroma reminded one of pink lemonade. The aroma and taste was sweet with Catawba grapes and a hint of pink grapefruit. This would be a great picnic wine. Thirsty Elephant was a blend of Fredonia, Concord and Niagara. The wine was a light red/dark pink color. The aroma was sweet and fruity. The finish was sweet but with a bit of dryness.

Fruit Wine

Cherry Montmorency offered a light cherry aroma. The taste was definitely cherry. The finish reminded one of a cherry pie but was dry.

When traveling through or visiting the western New York region, stop by 21 Brix Winery. It is so easy to find off Interstate 90 on Route 20 with a life-size statue of a pink elephant at its entrance. Visitors may want to take a lunch to the tasting room to enjoy with a glass of wine.

21 Brix Winery
6654 West Main Rd
Portland, New York 14769           

GPS: N42º 22.156’ W79º 29.442’

Article written September 2012.




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