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Fulkerson Winery
by K. L. Sullivan

 

Fulkerson Winery's motto is “Savor the unique.” Whether looking for grape juice, winemaking accessories, unique grape varieties or fine wines, Fulkerson Winery has what you need. The winery is located within a few minutes of Watkins Glen, NY. The easy to find building was renovated in 2005. A small fruit and vegetable stand was on the side, near the parking area. The new tasting room was designed by an architect to create a sense spaciousness and barnlike features. Large windows allow light to keep the interior bright. Several varieties of wood are used extensively throughout the tasting room. Most of the wood is native to New York.

 

 

Two large tasting areas are located at the ends of the tasting room. Between the tasting counters, many displays of wine and gifts are available. Seasonal items are available and at this time we saw Halloween and Christmas displays.

A wood staircase leads up to a large event space. This area is available for business meetings and other small groups. Wine-making classes are held in this area.

 

 

Our tour of the winery emphasized the history of the property. The property was staked out by Caleb Fulkerson in 1805. For years the farm grew fruit. In 1830, grapes were planted and today about 100 acres are devoted to grapes. Walking past a de-stemmer, we saw a pile of grape stems. Stems are composted and will eventually be added to the vineyard soil. Fulkerson Winery believes in sustainable farming. The crush was operating and we viewed the juice falling from the crusher.

In the future Fulkerson Winery will add 30 acres of Riesling. Any grapes not grown by the winery are purchased from the Finger Lakes area.

Currently the 6th generation of the family owns the farm. A son, currently a student at Cornell University, will eventually become the 7th generation to run Fulkerson Winery.

Today much of the Fulkerson Winery is devoted to producing quality wines. The winery is one of a very few who offer grape juice to home winemakers. They have a large number of home winemakers who purchase juice before it begins to ferment. Several grape juices are available for purchase during the harvest season. Fulkerson Winery has 5000 names on their home winemaking email list. Approximately 80% buy the juice for winemaking. For those who are making a red wine, the skins of the grapes are available. Until needed, the grape skins are refrigerated.

On the day of our visit, we had the opportunity to taste three of the juices. Leon Millot, Baco and Diamond were all sweet and had the fresh fruit taste of grapes. In addition to home winemaking, some people buy the juice and freeze it until ready to use throughout the year.

Fulkerson offers classes for home winemakers. If you are new to home winemaking, it is a good idea to learn the basics first. Supplies are available in the tasting room, including sugar and commercial yeast. If you know the brix (sugar level) of the grape juice, a chart is available to show you how much sugar you need. Information is also available describing the different commercial yeasts.

After our tour, we went to the tasting counter and tried several wines. The best selling wine is the Red Zeppelin. This has a residual sugar of 7 percent. It is sweet but not syrupy. The best selling white wine is the Semi-Dry Riesling ’05. Traminette ’06 has a residual sugar of 2.7 but seems drier. Traminette has a long fruit aftertaste and is a good food pairing wine. Reserve Red ’05 has dark red fruit aroma and is crisp with a long aftertaste. Vincent is an unusual grape with a dark fruit aroma. This wine is very dry with high tannins. Vincent is a cold weather red grape. The color is a very dark purple. Adding water to the glass after the wine is gone will turn the water dark transparent blue.

 

 

Fulkerson Winery is proud of the unique grape varieties they grow in addition to the familiar grapes. One of these grapes is Dornfelder. As we walked around the winery, some of these grapes were growing up the side of a winery building. Clusters of grapes were hanging down – begging to be harvested. A tall ladder leaned against the building to aid in picking the ripe grapes.

Fulkerson Winery has much to offer the grape juice drinker, home winemaker and those interested in drinking the line of Fulkerson wines. Enjoy a drive to Dundee and spend a few hours at Fulkerson Winery.

 

Fulkerson Winery
Dundee, NY

GPS N 42° 29.551' W 076° 55.468'

 


 

 

 


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