Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Finger Lakes Winemaker Q&A- Vinny Aliperti, Atwater Estate Vineyards

Todays winemaker Q&A is with Vinny Aliperti, winemaker at Atwater Estate Vineyards which is located on the east side of Seneca Lake. Vinny joined Atwater in 2001 after helping craft wines at Wolffer Estate in Long Island and at the esteemed Hermann J Wiemer Vineyards across the lake from Atwater. 2005 was a very good year for Vinny with his 2004 Dry Riesling and Somerset Blush each pronounced best in their class at the New York Wine & Food Classic, as well as an 89 point rating in Wine Spectator magazine for his Riesling.

WW: Briefly describe Your Philosophy of Winemaking.
VA: To make fruit forward dynamic wines that emphasize the intrinsic varietal characteristics.

WW: What is your favorite thing about making wine?
VA: The process. From the vineyard to the bottle, the process is truly unique year in and year
out. Like life, it has its setbacks and its triumphs, and at the end of the day
there is great satisfaction in pulling it all together.

WW: If you were dropped on an island and could have any 3 wines, what would they be?
VA: Beer.

WW: Do you prefer real cork, synthetic cork, or screw cap and why?
VA: Real Cork. I want a natural product in contact with another natural product.

WW:What advice would you give to anyone wanting to become a winemaker?
VA: It is a whole lot of work and a whole lot of fun.

WW: What wine tasting advice would you give to someone visiting the Finger Lakes for the first time?
VA: Don't over do it, four to five winery visits per day is plenty and try to
avoid weekends in the fall

WW: What makes the Finger Lakes area special to you?
VA: Quality of life stuff like the scenery, little congestion, friendly folks etc.

WW: What is the wine you are most proud of making and why?
VA: I like them all for what they are.

WW: What new wines are in the works for your winery?
VA: We will be releasing our second Cab Franc 2004, a Cab Sauv./Merlot blend
2004, and our very first Reserve Riesling 2005

WW: If you had to be something else besides a winemaker, what would it be?
VA: Rock Star

WW: Who has been the most important person to you in your
development as a winemaker and why?
VA: I apprenticed for three years with Roman Roth at Wolffer Estate Vineyards
on Long Island. I was green and soaked up a lot.

WW: Who is your favorite musical artist or band?
VA: Bob Marley and the Wailers

My thanks to Vinny for answering my questions. Be sure to stop by Atwater during the Seneca Lake Wine Trail's "Spring Wine and Cheese Weekend" April 29 and 30. All participating wineries on The Trail will be pairing their wines with foods prepared with products from New York's own Heluva Good Cheese Company. I hear tickets are selling fast. Go to the
Seneca Lake Wine Trail website for more info about this event and also for info about The "Riesling To Visit Passport", which offers a great value on wine tastings.


Lenn said...

Roman speaks fondly of Vinny and let me tell you, Atwater is an up-and-comer in the Finger Lakes. I've tasted through most of their whites and even had a bottle of their Pinot Noir in Manhattan and they were all wrothwhile.

Balance, food friendly acid...great wines.

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