While at the Finger Lakes wine festival in July of 2017, I stumbled upon a label that was new to me: Weis Vineyards. Curious, I stopped and chatted with the winemaker.
Born in Zell Mosel, Germany, Winemaker Hans Peter Weis traveled to the United States on a quest to pursue his passion and discover the world. However, his travels were cut short when he stumbled upon his home away from home in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Finding the minerality of the soil and climate similar to that of home, he was able to pursue his passion of handcrafting traditional German style wines.
In May of 2017, Weis Vineyards opened their doors.As Paul Vigna wrote, "After 11 years of working locally as a winemaker, he and his fiancee made the decision to open their own location and have not looked back. "We are dedicated to providing exceptional, high quality, German-style wines, as well as high quality customer service," Weis says. "We want everyone who walks through our doors to feel comfortable and at ease while enjoying the wines we worked so hard to create."
They bought the old Lime Berry Estate in Hammondsport and began transforming it into a classic German styled wine producer. The early results have been astonishing!
They offer eight whites, a rose, and one dry red. At the 2016 New York Wine & Food Classic Weis won "best cold climate white varietal" and a double gold rating for their 2016 Heart of the Lake. They entered seven wines, and all medaled, several taking home gold.
In tasting the wines, I realized almost immediately, that they were excellent and of good quality and flavor!
I first wine I tried was the Weis Gewurztraminer 2016. I loved this wine right off the bat! Super aromatics! As promised, the melon, lychee and rose pedal aromas all came to the forefront. Great zesty acidity and a touch of lime/grapefruit at the end. Exquisite!
The Weis Dry Rose 2016 was also fabulous. It has big hints of fresh strawberries and bright young sour cherry, with notes of vanilla and lime A classic clean, spritly dry rose.
The Weis Gruner Veltliner 2016 was also something of a revelation! Delicate, minerally, with great zesty acidity, it was topped with tropical fruits and lemon and lime. A lovely, lipsmacking finish!
The Weis Semi Dry Rieslign 2016 was also impressive. Peach and apricot come through as promised with hint of honey suckle and starfruit(?). It's had a nice touch of minerality to it, and a bright acidity which kept this lovely, light, and delicate wine honest - as a classic elegant version of this style of the varietal wine. Lovely structure and complexity and balance.
Weis Vineyards is not only an excellent addition to the Finger Lakes wine scene and a lovely addition to New York state wines, it is a feather in the cap of east coast wine making. Very exciting!