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Thirsty Owl Wine Company
by
K.L. Sullivan

 

We traveled to Thirsty Owl Wine, Company & Bistro which includes a winery, vineyard and Bistro. We were hoping for a chance to try the Bistro for a late lunch but it was closed for the season. Check the Thirsty Owl website in the spring for updated information about the Bistro. When the Bistro is open, you will have the opportunity to choose between eating indoors or outside on the terrace.

 

We were able to talk to one of the owners of Thirsty Owl who is incredibly enthusiastic about wine production at Thirsty Owl. The property that Thirsty Owl is situated on has a long history. Grapes have been grown on the property since the 1970’s. These grapes were produced and sold to the Great Western Wine Company. The Thirsty Owl Wine Company was created in 2002.

 

 

 

Mr. Cupp talked about the variations in temperature between land down by the Cayuga Lake shore and land up the hill past the wine tasting room. Although Cayuga Lake's waters help to regulate the temperatures in the area, there are significant temperature fluctuations within a few feet. Using electronic thermometers, Mr. Cupp was able to record the temperature throughout the night. The temperature difference between the shore and the top of the hill was discovered to be four degrees. Different grape varieties react very differently with only a four degree variation. Some grape varieties would not be able to endure the colder temperatures higher on the slope.

Eighty percent of the grapes used in winemaking are grown on their property. Currently, Thirsty Owl produces about 12,000 cases of wine each year.

The tasting room has a long countertop with green ceramic and the floor is carpeted. As one looks around the tasting room, one sees stuffed owls near the ceiling and sitting throughout the room. We wondered about the name Thirsty Owl and were told that his father, co-owner, was a jokester. There is a story of a man who came home late one night with too much to drink. He saw an owl on the lawn and the owl offered a deal. The owl would keep the vineyards free from pests if the man would share his wine with the owl. The man agreed and today the owl watches the vineyard and the man shares his wine.

 

 

 

Besides wine, Thirsty Owl has displays of wine accessories and a variety of specialty foods including olives, clam chowder and “Mary’s Pretty Good Barbecue Sauce” in the tasting room. Jars of cheese stuffed olives are also available.

When you visit Thirsty Owl, be sure to try the Thirsty Owl blend. According to Mr. Cupp, “it is the best of both worlds,” with a blend of Seval (hybrid) and Cayuga (hybrid) grapes.

The wines available for tasting on the day of our visit included Chardonnay, dry and semi-dry Rieslings, Vidal Blanc, Blushing Moon, Red Moon, Cab Sauv-Syrah-Malbec, Pinot Noir, Lot 99 and Chancellor.

 

 

 

 

When you visit, Thirsty Owl be sure to take your camera and take pictures not only of the vineyards but here is your chance to get a picture of a large, carved wooden owl - "The Legendary Thirsty Owl."

 

Thirsty Owl
Ovid, New York


 


 

 

 


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