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King Ferry Winery
K.L. Sullivan

King Ferry is one of two wineries located on the east side of Cayuga Lake in the Finger Lakes region of New York State.  Treleaven is the label name for the wine produced at King Ferry Winery.  Treleaven is a family who once owned the farm where grapevines are now grown. The owner of King Ferry Winery, Peter Saltonstall likes the Treleaven name and decided to use it as the name on the bottles. Although others have urged him to choose between the name King Ferry or Treleaven, Peter likes both names and markets the wines as Treleaven at King Ferry Winery.

Lying amidst acres and acres of farmland, the outside of the winery fits in well with the landscape. As we were about to enter the winery, we noticed the large, lovely murals on portions of the wood siding. When we entered the winery, we saw more murals on the inside walls and learned that Peter’s wife, Tacie, is a painter and responsible for the beautiful winery paintings. Wall paintings even grace the walls in the bathrooms.



Inside the winery, the tasting room divided into two areas for tastings. One section had a long tasting bar and windows overlooking the winery. The other side opened up into a large room with moveable tasting bars. The room was set up with three sections of tasting bars. Many wine accessories and gifts to purchase adorn the walls and displays. With the versatility of the tasting bars, King Ferry Winery can service many guests at the same time.

Many wineries that we visited had local artists display and sale their work. King Ferry Winery also sales local artists' works. At the time of our visit, a number of bird photographs by local photographer, Glenn Gaston, were for sale. Different artists are scheduled to display their works throughout the year. We saw beautiful wine bottles with lovely paintings on them for sale. These bottles were hand painted by a worker at King Ferry. The cost was the price of the bottle of wine plus $5.00.

We were delighted to meet Peter, owner of King Ferry Winery. Peter spent a long time with us discussing the dynamics of the industry as well as his role in promoting the wine industry in New York. The interest in wine has increased and Cornell University is adding an undergraduate program in enology in addition to their established graduate program. Peter spoke of the microclimate research conducted by Alan Lakso of the Cornell Geneva Experiment Station. Some evidence points to the east side of Cayuga Lake as an ideal area for vineyards.

Peter feels it is important that people understand not only how the elevation of the land near the lake affects the vineyards but also the many microclimates in the area. He noted that it is very interesting to look at maps and see how the glaciers carved out the area.

King Ferry opened in 1984 and its first vintage was 1988. The tasting room opened on December 1, 1989. Pete related the experience of the first two months of the opening. December was very busy with much business. January arrived and there were virtually no visitors. They knew they needed to make changes. Today it is evident the changes were effective as visitors frequently stop by to taste wines and make purchases. Numerous events throughout the year also bring visitors to enjoy what King Ferry has to offer.

Peter took us on a tour of the winery, where we saw a bottling machine, oak barrels, stainless steel tanks and filtering taking place. We had to sympathize with the winemaker, Alex Jackman, who was working in the cold winery building. However, he appeared to enjoy winemaking. As he was filtering wine, we observed him tasting quite frequently. There are certainly pros to quality control in a winery.


Today, King Ferry has 27 acres in vineyards and produces more than 11,000 cases of wine. King Ferry purchases about half of the grapes they use in producing quality wine. Peter has a bottling machine but said his least favorite job is bottling. “Everything is quality control,” Peter said. From checking the top of the bottle for nicks to observing hairline cracks in a bottle, everything is important. Most people do not realize how much work goes into making one bottle of wine. Winemaking is a “Labor of Love.”

We asked Peter what he would like the public to know about King Ferry.  Peter pointed out, "King Ferry has good customer service and produces fine quality wines. People can enjoy the wine for what it is. King Ferry is a friendly place and gives good service. One can learn about wine but they don’t have to. People can enjoy wine on a lot of different levels. Some may want to have a glass of wine and relax. Others may want to delve into the nuances of the wine."

After the tour and discussion with Peter, he turned us over to Chris Couch, a very enthusiastic employee, for wine tastings and information about events. Chris not only enjoys describing the individual wines sold at King Ferry, but also enjoys good recipes and pairing food with wine. For each wine he mentioned the ideal food pairing. Chris was excited about food related upcoming events at King Ferry, including the Ninth Annual “I Love Chocolate Day” on May 26, 2007.

The Dry Riesling 2006 was excellent with a great bouquet, taste and finish. The Semi-Dry Riesling 2006 is the most awarded and most purchased wine. The Cabernet Franc 2005 has a black pepper finish but if you do not like red wines and like pepper this may be just the wine for you. The Meritage has 48% Cabernet Franc, 37% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. The Dry Rosé is 100% Cabernet Franc.

A visit to King Ferry Winery will be a rewarding experience. Enjoy a variety of their wines.



King Ferry Winery
658 Lake Road
King Ferry, New York 13081


GPS: N 42° 39.005’ W 076° 38.102’




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