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Miles Wine Cellars
by K. L. Sullivan

First time visitors will come for the history of the house and the ghosts. When they come, they will learn about the wines. When they return to visit, they will return for the wines. Visitors often return with a friend. The view of Seneca Lake is spectacular and has even been mentioned in National Geographic.

From the outside of the tasting room, one sees a Greek Revival Home. The house looks like a Southern manor house more at home in another place and time. The grounds are beautifully landscaped and a very short distance away is Seneca Lake with soft ripples passing by a large and old wisteria vine. The vineyards at Miles Wine Cellars are some of the closest vineyards to the lake.

The history of the house is intriguing and first time visitors will enjoy the story behind Miles Wine Cellars as well as the numerous mentions of ghosts.

The original house consisted of two rooms built in 1802. By the 1850’s a large addition had been added to the farmhouse. Fruit was grown on the property. Doug Miles and his father purchased the property in 1978. At that time the house was in disrepair and despite its wonderful location on Seneca Lake, it was selling at a very reasonable price. Doug, who was interested in architecture, decided to restore the house with the help of his father.

Many years later, the house is restored and now is listed as a National Register of Historic Places. Susan and Doug lived in the house for many years and spent untold hours renovating this historic house. Most of the work was done in 1985 and 1986. The attempt throughout the house was to restore and if not possible to use similar materials to keep the restoration authentic.

Susan gave us a tour of the upstairs where we saw two lovely refinished bedrooms. A large armoire in one bedroom has Wyatt Earp written inside.  In the future, they hope to open the house as a bed and breakfast. The house would be a delightful place to spend time if one doesn’t mind the spirits within.

While living in the house, Doug and Susan became aware of ghosts living with them. Doors slammed and footsteps were heard. A mist would rise from the floor and lights would flicker or turn off. PDA’s and laptops often do not work in the house. Susan and Doug felt that the ghosts gave them a feeling that the ghosts owned the house. During this time, a large piece of furniture with a cross on it was moved from a church to the house. The violent ghosts left the house. However, a newlywed ghost couple remains in the house. The story is that the husband was working on a light outside the house, fell and tragically died. His wife died shortly thereafter. The couple is occasionally seen in the front room windows or on the porch. A previous tenant recounted that she never minded being sent to her room for misbehavior because she would be visited by this couple.

The ghosts do keep to themselves while visitors are tasting wines. The closest one will come to ghosts is a wine called Ghost, a Chardonnay/Cayuga blend. The wine bottle label is silk screened with a ghostly translucent white. Cut out is the figure of young lady perhaps dancing at a ball. Looking through the cut out and through the bottle is the outline sketch of the house in black. Look closely at the front porch of the house and you’ll notice a young couple embracing. The imprint of the couple is also on the bottle’s cork.


Vineyards and Wines

Preparations for the first grapevine plantings were in the fall of 1978 and in the spring the vines were planted. When the grapes began producing, the grapes were sold to neighboring wineries.

Their first vintage was in 1997 and it was bottled in 1998. Originally, the wine was sold to restaurants and stores. Soon Susan and Doug realized they needed a “face” to their wine and so decided to use the farmhouse. Today the two front rooms of the house are used as tasting rooms, which opened in 2001. Today with 60 acres of vines and 40 acres in production, they expect to bottle 6000 cases.

Today Peter Bell is the winemaker at Miles Wine Cellars. Peter is also the winemaker for Fox Run. According to Susan, Peter is both talented and down-to-earth. The Finger Lakes region is fortunate to have Peter.

We tried several wines during our visit. The Pinot Noir is a medium translucent red, smooth with the traditional Pinot Noir tastes. The Chardonnay has an apple nose with fruit flavor with a nice fruit acid and is light. Riesling has a floral nose with a fruit taste and is dry. Wisteria is a blush made from Catawba. Ghost is a blend of Chardonnay and Cayuga. Be sure to notice the label that is silk-screened and the inscription: “Experience the spirits within!”

When entering the tasting room, one is immediately welcomed. Enjoy the wine tasting and the ambiance of a room built in 1802. Special tastings and events take place in the next room also built in 1802. There is a small charge for the special tastings. In this room, the countertop is decorated with a fabric matching the valance at the windows. The counter is on oak barrels.

When you visit Miles Wine Cellars, be sure to ask about the ghosts. Take a picnic lunch; enjoy a glass of Miles wine and the beautiful scenic view.

Miles Wine Cellars
Himrod, New York

GPS: N 42° 37.022' W076° 55.280'





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