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Wagner Vineyards
by
Meghan Anne Neumeier

Photos by
Andy Neumeier

Wagner VineyardsSummary: Wagner Vineyards, located on the east side of Seneca Lake in Lodi, New York, is family owned and operated. The property boasts a winery, vineyards, brewery, restaurant, and gift shop. With so much to taste and do, there is something for everyone at Wagner Vineyards. This winery is a member of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail.

The Wagner family has been growing grapes for over 100 years, spanning five generations. Bill Wagner bought the land that the winery sits on in 1949. A World War II Navy veteran, Bill bought the land with the intent to start an all-purpose farm. He began growing grapes on the farm in the 1950’s, which he sold for making grape juice. In the 1960’s, he began to sell his grapes to area wineries. The Farm Winery Act of 1976 allowed Bill to dream about making wine himself. He and his family built a winery and wine cellar within three years, and when the winery opened in June 1979, Bill’s dream became a reality.

Wagner VineyardsWagner Vineyards is an estate winery where wines are produced only using the grapes grown on the Wagner family’s 230 acres of vineyards. The grape varieties include Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. Wagner’s Riesling acreage is one of the largest in the east. The grapes do well on the shores of Seneca Lake due to the region’s extended growing season. 50,000 cases of wine are produced from the estate grapes at Wagner Vineyards.

Wagner VineyardsWagner Vineyards specializes in Rieslings. The Dry Riesling is translucent, offers aromas of freshly baked bread, and is both medium-bodied and complex in the mouth. The Semi-Dry Riesling is also translucent, has citrus and peach aromas, and pleases the senses with its fruity flavors and smooth finish. The Riesling Select won the Best Sweet Riesling in New York Award in 2012. It is nearly clear in color and contains a nice blend of peach and honey flavors. Wagner Vineyard’s Riesling Ice wine won the Best Wine at the New York State Fair award in 2012. It tantalizes the nose with aromas of honey and fruit and will leave sweet wine drinkers licking their lips for more. Other wines offered at Wagner Vineyards include the Barrel Fermented Chardonnay, which is oaky, buttery, and smooth, as well as the Reserve Pinot Noir, which is elegant, low in tannins, and contains cherry flavors.

The winery at Wagner Vineyards was built in the shape of an octagon, designed after a round-barn, so that everything could operate off the center of the facility. The tank room is located in the center of the octagon, and visitors can look through windows into the tank room as they meander from the gift shop, to the many tasting bars, to the brewery. Visitors passing through can also catch glimpses of the winemaking process and Wagner Vineyards’ history, illustrated in educational photo displays and collages.

Wagner VineyardsIn addition to the winery, the brewery - which makes 1,000 barrels of beer a year - is popular among visitors. The gift shop and restaurant are also attractive. The large gift shop contains a plethora of wine-related gifts, including coasters, cutting boards, cheese, corkscrews, wine glasses, t-shirts, and Christmas gifts. The Ginny Lee Cafe, named after Bill Wagner’s granddaughter, serves Wagner wines and beers, as well as appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, wraps, and pizza. Many of the recipes, such as the delicious French onion soup, include wine as an ingredient, and the menu contains beer and wine pairing notes. The cafe is spacious and affords diners beautiful views of Seneca Lake through the buildings’ many windows. Both the restaurant and the winery offer outdoor seating, which is useful for the live band concerts hosted on Fridays during the summer. Another popular event at Wagner Vineyards is a customer appreciation weekend known as the “Alta B Weekend,” named after Bill’s wife. The Alta B Weekend features a live band, free tastings, and discounted wines. The Wagner family hopes that visitors to Wagner Vineyards can all find a wine they enjoy. “If not,” says Bill’s daughter Laura, “then there’s always beer, grape juice, and our home-brewed root beer.”

Wagner Vineyards
9322 State Route 414
Lodi, New York

 

 


 

 

 


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