A brief timeline of winemaking in New York State
Reverend William Bostwick plants Isabella and Catawba vines behind his rectory in Hammondsport.
Brotherhood Winery, New York’s oldest winery, is established in Washingtonville, New York.
Andrew Reisinger, also near Hammondsport, tills, prunes, and trains his vines, which advances grape production in the region.
Edward McKay plants 150 Isabella grapevines in Naples, on Canandaigua Lake, which starts off the fledgling industry.
Pleasant Valley becomes the first bonded Finger Lakes region winery. The original eight stone buildings can be seen at the current winery. During the first year, 220 gallons of wine are produced from Isabella and Catawba grapes.
Urbana Wine Company is founded, and is renamed Gold Seal Winery in 1887.
Pleasant Valley introduces Great Western champagne at the Pleasant Valley Grape Growers Association.
Walter and Adie Taylor found Taylor Wine Company in Hammondsport.
The New York Agricultural Experiment Station opens and begins research on vitis vinifera grape vines. This becomes part of Cornell in 1923.
While many of the fifty or so Finger Lakes wineries close down, several stay open to make sacramental wine or grape juice and sell grapes to home winemakers.
Charles Fournier, who had come to Gold Seal from Cliquot Ponsardin, introduced French hybrids to the Finger Lakes winemaking scene.
Widmer’s Wine Cellars begins labeling wines with varietal names and using vintage dates.
Gold Seal’s Charles Fournier New York State Champagne Brut wins the only gold medal awarded at the California State Fair. Fair officials subsequently bar non-Californian wines from the competition.
Gold Seal hires Dr. Konstantin Frank as a consultant
Gold Seal releases a chardonnay and a Riesling, and Frank begins his own winery for growing vinifera grapes.
Johnson Estate Winery, New York’s oldest estate winery (meaning all grapes are estate-grown), is founded in Westfield, New York.
The Pennsylvania Limited Winery Act, allowing individual grape farms to establish small wineries, kicks off the start of Lake Erie’s modern wine industry.
Bully Hill Vineyards is founded by Walter S. Taylor, who then fights Taylor Wine for two years to use his own name on the labels.
The Farm Winery Act is enacted, lowering licensing fees and allowing wineries to sell their wine at their own facilities.
The New York State Grape Growers is established and is joined by the New York Wine Producers.
The Cayuga Wine Trail is established, the first to be organized in the US.
The New York Wine and Grape Foundation is established, in order to finance promotion and research. By this time, wineries are able to operate off-site stores, include restaurants on their premises, and sell at farm markets and fairs.
The Seneca Wine Trail is established.
The Keuka Wine Trail is established
The Finger Lakes has forty-eight wineries, and the Canandaigua Wine Trail is formed.
Niagara Landing, the first winery to open on today’s Niagara Wine Trail, is founded in Cambria, New York.
Warm Lake Estate opens in Cambria, offering pinot noir and making the case for Niagara as a legitimate region for vinifera grapes.
The Niagara Wine Trail is founded in Cambria, New York. The Chautauqua–Lake Erie Wine Trail, now known as Lake Erie Wine Country, is established the same year.
The U.S. Government officially recognizes the Niagara Escarpment as an American Viticultural Area (AVA).
The Finger Lakes has 119 wineries.
Sources for this timeline include the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle; Emerson Klees’ Wineries of the Finger Lakes Region; the Buffalo News, and the wineries.