When Oswego native Dr. Chris Colloca first conceived the idea of growing grapes on the shores of Lake Ontario, he didn’t envision that his inaugural vintage would be award worthy.
Known as the world’s largest wine competition to support a charity, is open to all commercial wineries from all wine-producing countries. “This year’s wine competition has the most diverse international group of judges ever assembled on the East Coast of the U.S. to give the entrants the best possible global palate and global opinion.” said Peter Parts – the competition founder. Over 3,756 wines were entered from 887 wineries, 20 countries, 6 Canadian Provinces, and all 50 United States. 75 renowned national and international judges representing sommeliers, educators, enologists, winemakers, writers, importers, retailers and industry consultants from around the world participated in the two-day competition.
Silver medals went to Colloca Estate’s 2012 Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Riesling made from the property’s first grape harvest grown on its 90 acre estate located on the south shore of Lake Ontario overlooking Little Sodus Bay.
Ten acres of vineyard were planted to the three varietals in 2009 and Dr. Colloca was successful in receiving a federal U.S. trademark for the Lake Effect Vineyard, aptly named to describe the microclimate created by the benefits of its proximity to the Great Lake Ontario. Four growing seasons later, the 2012 harvest was hand-picked by neighbors, friends, and family and immediately hauled down to Hosmer Winery on the west side of Cayuga Lake where the wine was made.
“Our vineyard benefits from the cool summer breezes through the summer growth season and thermal blankets of the lake effect snow and warmer air that the great Lake Ontario provides,” Colloca said.
Colloca Estate’s Lake Effect Vineyard is located in the northern most part of New York’s acclaimed Finger Lakes Region. Expert vineyard consultants agree that the microclimate derived from its proximity to water is only magnified along the shores of Lake Ontario.
The silver medals may be an early indication to the credibility of these beliefs.
“We set out to make the best quality product, by spending extra time and money to manicure our vineyard so it produces the very best fruit and we cold stabilized the Riesling in stainless steel tanks while our Chardonnay and Pinot Noir aged in 100% new French oak barrels,” Colloca added.
The hand crafted nature of these wines coupled with the small yields of the new vineyard are are also thought to contribute to the quality of the wines. A tasting room is currently being built on the property where the wines will be able to be tasted and exclusively sold when officially released early this summer.
All proceeds from the competition benefit Camp Good Days and Special Times, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for children and families all over the world, whose lives have been touched by cancer and other life-threatening challenges.
Located in the heart of New York State’s Finger Lakes wine country, the camp offers residential programs, year-round activities, and events for adults and children.