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Bright Leaf Vineyard

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Bright Leaf Vineyard is located near the shore of Cayuga Lake, halfway up the sunny east side. Our 14 acres of vines are planted on a south-west slope in close proximity to the lake, to provide both optimal sun exposure (which hastens the ripening process of the grapes), and strong prevailing breezes that encourage ventilation for the vines. Bright Leaf Vineyard is really two vineyards, including an upper and lower field, divided by a quarry of Tully limestone, which runs north-south through the farm. This creates two different soil types: Aurora loam (uphill from the quarry, with excellent drainage and higher acidity) and Cazenovia silt (downhill from the quarry, heavier, clay soils). We have planted our white varietals in the cooler uphill block (Hillside Vineyard) on the gravel/shale soils. The red varietals are planted closer to the lake (Lakeside Vineyard) on the heavier, richer clay soil.

Bright Leaf Vineyard was previously a livestock farm providing good, rich pasture for planting. We began preparation of the vineyard in 2013 with deep subsoil trenching along each row and drainage tile between each alternating row. Our first ten acres of vines were mechanically planted in spring of 2014 with an additional four acres of vines planted in 2015 and 2016.


Most of our vines are locally sourced and chosen from selected vinifera clones and hybrid rootstocks, with an emphasis on Riparia root stock for the red varietals. We planted at a spacing of one meter between the vines and 8 ‘ 8” spacing between the rows. Our trellis training is to VSP with aggressive fruit and leaf thinning. We use mechanical weed control and no irrigation. Our white varietals are Riesling and Chardonnay (Hillside Vineyard) and our red varietals are Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Lemberger (Lakeside Vineyard).

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