by Katie Navarra
Steeped in the tradition of wine making, Amorici Vineyard, a three-acre farm winery in Valley Falls, NY is committed to preserving the legacy of traditional wine vinification, while simultaneously placing an emphasis on sustainability. “Mother Nature produces a perfect fruit, and within it, is everything you need to make incredible wine,” said owner Joseph Messina.
“I started growing grapes and producing wines for myself,” he explained, “I have friends that are wine collectors, and when they tasted my wine they asked me to make extra so they could give them away as Christmas gifts.”
Inspired by his friends’ encouragement, Messina became a licensed winery in 2007 and sold his first bottles of wine in 2008. This fall he anticipates harvesting 10,000 pounds of grapes that will produce 770 gallons of wine. “It’s all weather dependent of course,” he said.
Specializing in cold, hearty grapes Messina has 1,500 vines currently in production. He grows Aromella, Kay Gray, Frontenac and Marquette variety grapes to create nine different wines. His wines include Chardonnay, dry Riesling, Cayuga (dry white), dry rosé, Cabernet Franc (dry red), Burch Street Red (semi-sweet), Sweet Dreams (semi-sweet blush), apple honey wine and apple honey port wines.
Amorici’s Cabernet Franc and dry Riesling won bronze medals at the 2013 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. “The dry Riesling, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon also earned bronze medals in the Hudson Valley Wine & Spirits Competition,” he said.
From his approach to weed and insect control to recycling its own bottles, and using compostable corn cups for event tastings, Amorici Vineyard is committed to sustainability in every sense of the word.
The farm winery employs poultry for insect control and fertilizer application. The winery offers a deposit to customers who recycle wine bottles and Messina offers a local restaurant space for a garden plot used to grow organic food for the restaurant’s menu.
Messina’s commitment to sustainability is also evident in the process he uses to make his wines. “Our wine is minimally processed, filtered only as a last resort and we use all-natural ingredients that work in harmony with nature, and blend to adjust wines, rather than using additives,” he said.
Using a techniques known as full moon racking, or clarifying techniques, he relies on a full moon to naturally separate the sediments and settle them at the bottom of the barrel. The wines are then siphoned from the barrel, leaving the sediment behind rather than using a filtration process that other wineries may use.
“The farm is biodynamic,” he said, “but we are continually working on processes to improve. We are in the process of putting in a hybrid windmill/solar system. The payback is not great, but it’s the right thing to do.”
Old world hand-crafted vinegars, natural raw honey and vanilla extract made at the farm are also available for purchase in the tasting room. Messina encourages visitors to stop by the tasting room, use the picnic area, hike the farm’s trails and enjoy the grounds.
For more information call 518-469-0680 or visit amoricivineyard.com.
Celebrating the sweet nectar of the perfect grape
by Katie Navarra