Located on a ridge overlooking Butternut Creek, Pheasant Ridge Vineyards is dedicated to hand making premium wines in the tradition of the small farm wineries of Alsace and the Rhine river valley. Our wines are specially crafted to be taken with food and good company.
Our winery has grown out of many years of experience of making wines for our families. Both John Sustare and Kent Wells have produced grape and fruit wines over the past 30 years for family consumption.
John got started making fruit wines after moving to the Butternut Creek valley in the early 1970's. While beginning his work in organic agriculture, he met and became friends with the older denizens of the valley. These old farm families had descended from the original settlers of the area. Traditional cider making was beginning to die out along with the local apple orchards when John learned the old methods from Virgil White. Virgil's mother had taught him how to make hard cider. Taking fresh pressed apple juice and adding raisins and putting this into wooden casks produced a good traditional hard apple cider. The only other direction was to put cloth over the casks to keep out dust and mice! Virgil also remembered the traditional method for making even harder cider--apple jack. One placed the cask outside during the coldest part of winter and let the cider freeze. This separated out the water as ice from the more alcoholic apple jack. To liberate the apple jack, one heated an iron poker and pushed it through the bung and made a path for the concentrated apple jack to drain out. John supplemented this education with some good books and modest equipment to make his own apple wine. Over the years he experimented with other fruits from the trees and bushes around the farm...blackberries, raspberries, elderberries and pears. He intends to extend his organic farming of 30 years to include grapes for the production of wine at Pheasant Ridge Vineyards.
Kent got his first taste of wine making in the high country of southeast Arizona, both making wine from grapes grown in the Sonoita Vineyards and growing grapes in the Mule Mountains of Cochise county between Tombstone and Bisbee. After moving to Central New York, Kent was not sure that wines like the ones he produced in Arizona could be made in Central New York. He was partially correct but wine growers (vignerons) in the Finger Lakes region convinced him that it was possible to make high quality wines in the area. There is a big difference in the Terrior of southeastern Arizona and Central New York and the wines produced in both areas are indicative of the climates and soils of the two areas. However, hot and cold climate Terriors can both produce excellent wines within the constraints of the Terrior. The dreaded "T-word"... Not only do grape have varietal characteristics but these characteristics are modified by the climate and soils where they are grown. We feel that wines should be judged not only on an absolute scale (world wide comparisons) but also by comparing wines grown on similar soils and climates throughout the world. One can sense the difference between wines grown in the high-latitudes (Bordeaux, Burgundy, Alsace, and New York) and those grown in the mid-latitudes (California, Chile, Australia, Italy, and the Iberian Peninsula). The growing of wine (one cannot separate the growing of grapes and the making of wine) is a complex and mutivaried process, but the enjoyment of wine is simple. Open the bottle and enjoy. No matter what the "experts" say the only criterion one needs is: Do you enjoy the wine? If you enjoy a particular wine, there is no other requirement, regardless of the pronouncements of the experts.
Come and visit us and enjoy the wines we are growing at Pheasant Ridge Vineyards. We invite you to come and taste our wines and tour the vineyards and winery on Sunday from 2 to 6 P.M. Since we are a small family winery, we are open for tasting and tours only on Sunday, however, if you give us a call at 315 469 4346 we would be happy to arrange tastings at other times.
Wassail ! (Waes Hael !); Prost !; Skol !; A bonne Sante !; Slainte !; Salute !; L'Chaim!.....To Your Health !!!!