There is little recent history of grape growing in the Lake Champlain Valley. The industry began in the late ’90′s with the establishment of Snow Farm Vineyard in South Hero, Vermont followed by Shelburne Vineyard in Shelburne, Vermont. On the New York shore, Stonehouse Vineyard became the first licensed winery in the region in 2006 (?). Now, there are a dozen wineries in the Lake Champlain Valley in Vermont and four licensed wineries on the New York shore, with a number of others planned. Vineyard acreage has also increased from small trial plots to larger production plantings, with more vines going in yearly.
In 2005, a cold hardy grape variety trial was planted at the Cornell Baker Farm in Willsboro, New York. It consists of 25 varieties of grapes ranging from older French-American hybrids to the newer hybrid varieties from the University of Minnesota and Cornell University. The trial, managed by Kevin Iungerman of the Cornell Cooperative Extension Small Fruit Program, has received much regional attention. It has served as a reference vineyard for standard commercial growing practices and has been a valuable tool for training new growers. For many, it has been an inspiring resource of what is possible in cold climate viticulture.
There is much speculation about what grapes might become the “signature” varieties in the Lake Champlain Valley. The synergy between the grower, site, climate, and winemaker coalesce in the bottle, expression the character of each. Join us in this journey of creating a new tradition.