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Kemmeter Winery

The Kemmeter Winery, located in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York, is known for producing some of the most exceptional wines in the region. Owned and operated by Johannes and Imelda who use

The Kemmeter Winery, located in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York, is known for producing some of the most exceptional wines in the region. Owned and operated by Johannes and Imelda who use a minimalist approach to their winemaking, utilizes traditional techniques to create unique, handcrafted wines that capture the essence of the region.

Originally from Germany, Johannes Kemmeter fell in love with the Finger Lakes region after visiting in 2001. He subsequently began working in the wine industry in the region before starting his own winery, Kemmeter Wines, in 2007. The winery has a total area of 17 acres and produces around 1,500 cases annually, with the majority being Riesling wines.

Kemmeter Wines has gained significant recognition since its inception, receiving numerous awards and acknowledgments from prestigious organizations such as Wine Spectator and Wine & Spirits. The winery has been lauded for its unique, terroir-driven approach to wine production, which emphasizes the importance of the vineyard\’s land and climate in shaping the final product.

The winery\’s approach to winemaking is based on minimal intervention, where they utilize the traditional techniques found in German farming, including harvesting by hand, cultivating the grapes with horses, and fermenting using wild yeast. Kemmeter Wines also avoids using new oak barrels and intermediate fining techniques that other winemakers might use, leaving the wine to ferment and age naturally.

The result of these techniques is that the wines produced by the winery have a distinct, expressive character that sets them apart from others in the region. Kemmeter’s Riesling is known for its smokiness, earthiness and minerality with a well-balanced acidity, making their wine one of the best in the Finger Lakes region.

According to Johannes, “Our winemaking philosophy is to maintain a perfect balance between the grapes, the land, and the winemaker’s skill. This often means not doing anything to the wine, allowing the unique character and essence of the grapes to shine through naturally. It also means taking care of the soil, vines and the environment to ensure the vitality of the vineyaare present in every bottle.”

Experts have praised Kemmeter Wines for its adherence to traditional winemaking methods, but also for its unique approach to terroir, which goes beyond simple organic and biodynamic farming methods. The use of horses instead of tractors for vine cultivation provides a low-impact approach to farming and reduces the carbon footprint of the winery. This attention to the environment has also earned Kemmeter Wines the Certified Sustainable Farm certification.

Visitors to the winery can also enjoy a unique experience that goes beyond simply tasting the wines; they can also learn about the winery\’s approach to winemaking and terroir. The winery offers tours of the vineyard, which allows visitors to gain an understanding of the farming techniques used, the importance of soil and environment, and the winery\’s commitment to sustainability.

The Vineyards

Kemmeter Winery\’s vineyard was planted by Johannes Kemmeter and is located on the east side of Keuka Lake, in the town of Penn Yan. The area is surrounded by steep hills, which protect the vines from harsh winds and also create a microclimate, which is a major factor in the unique character of the wines produced.

The vines are planted at an altitude of 700 feet above sea level, making them some of the highest vines in the area, resulting in the grapes ripening later, and thus producing wines with a distinctive taste. The vineyard has an exceptional soil composition, with an ancient bedrock of shale and limestone which imparts a unique minerality to the wine.

The Winemaking Process

The winemaking process employed by Kemmeter Winery is a true artisanal craft, utilizing the best of traditional methods with a minimalist approach. This process ensures that each batch of wine produced by the winery is unique and a true expression of the vineyard\’s character.

The harvest is done by hand, which keeps damage to the grapes to a minimum and allows for better quality control. Then, the grapes undergo spontaneous fermentation, utilizing only the yeast found in the vineyards. This process, along with extended aging on the lees, creates wines with characteristic depth and complexity.

The Tasting Room

Kemmeter Winery\’s tasting room offers visitors a chance to relax and enjoy the breathtaking scenery surrounding the vineyard. The room is airy and light, and visitors can enjoy a tasting of the distinct and elegant Rieslings without interruption from other visitors.

The tasting room also has a terrace overlooking the vineyard, which provides visitors with an incredible view of the surrounding area. The terrace is an excellent place to relax and sip on a glass of wine while soaking in the atmosphere.

Celebrity Visitors

Kemmeter Winery has gained a reputation as a destination winery, attracting visitors from all over the world, including celebrities. Marcus Samuelsson, the famous Swedish chef, visited Kemmeter Winery in 2018, and commented on the winery\’s commitment to environmental sustainability, saying that the winery\’s approach to winemaking is \”totally in line with our approach to cooking.\”

Overall, Kemmeter Winery is a hidden gem in the Finger Lakes region. Their unique approach to winemaking has garnered them attention from wine enthusiasts and experts alike. Visitors can enjoy a memorable experience learning about the winery\’s philosophy and commitment to terroir while savoring some of the best wines in the region.

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