1981 - Mary Plane, of Plane's Cayuga Vineyards (now called Cayuga Ridge), looked at her empty parking lot and knew, if her fledgling winery was to succeed, she needed to fill it. What could she do to entice people to visit? Would people come if there were more to do, more to see? Thus began Mary's vision of the Cayuga Wine Trail. And, Mary was right!
In 1983 there were five small new wineries: Plane's (Cayuga Ridge), Lucas, Americana, Lakeshore and Frontenac. But five unknown wineries weren't enough of a draw, and Mary solicited participation from other attractions along and near Route 89. The first brochure was audacious - a quote: "The CWT offers a variety that is unmatched in wine touring and tasting...No where else will travelers experience such a multitude of premium wines, attractions, comfortable lodgings, fine restaurants, friendly people, and splendid scenery." A bit overstated then, but coming to fruition now. New wineries started and joined: Knapp in 1984; Hosmer and Swedish Hill in 1986; Six Mile Creek in 1987; and King Ferry, Goose Watch, Sheldrake Point, and Long Point in the 90's. Bellwether Hard Cider joined in 2000, Montezuma and Thirsty Owl, in 2003, Buttonwood Grove Winery in 2005 and our newest member, Cobblestone Farm Winery in 2006.
What makes us different? We were all grape growers first. We didn't inherit big estates and established businesses. When the bottom fell out of the grape market in the mid 70's, we adapted and changed to preserve our resources to grow and prosper. In addition to managing and working in our own wineries, we conduct the business of the CWT utilizing the time, energy, and knowledge of our members.
As the first wine trail in New York, the Cayuga Wine Trail has become a model for other wine trails both in New York and around the country. It is a benchmark for results attained by working together for a common goal. Thanks Mary!