CAYUGA LAKE WINE TRAIL MEMBER
OPEN daily May-December 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and until 6 p.m. Friday & Saturday. Closed in January. February Friday-Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. March-April Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 12:00-5:00 p.m.
In the heart of the Finger Lakes a short drive North from Ithaca, New York, there is a small vineyard and winery on the east side of Cayuga Lake that produces fine wines using many time-honored European techniques. Here, delicate vinifera grapes are hand-tended and selectively picked to produce premium wines under the Treleaven label.
The King Ferry Winery, owned and operated by Peter and Tacie Saltonstall, releases limited quantities of their Treleaven wines. They believe that by avoiding mass production, the finest grapes are produced - the basis of a superior wine. Taking their commitment to quality a step further, the Saltonstalls sacrifice quantity for quality in the quest for fruit with intense varietal character. Every step in their winemaking is personally attended to - right through to the approval of each bottle and the hand labeling of each vintage.
King Ferry Winery was founded in 1984. Peter Saltonstall is the head winemaker, and Tacie Saltonstall is the business manager. The winery now produces approximately 10,000 cases of wine per year. King Ferry owns 27 acres of vines near the winery.
Farming has been in the Saltonstall family for several decades. Peter's father was an agriculture professor at nearby Cornell University. After several years in the classroom, he left his post and bought seven hundred acres of local farmland. The land was developed to raise beef cattle and a variety of grains for seed purposes to sell to other local farmers. When Peter's father passed away most of the family land was sold. However, a small parcel of land named Treleaven Farm (named for the family the land was purchased from) was kept in the family and this is now home to the vines that produce the grapes used in King Ferry's wines.
Although Peter grew up in a farming family, winemaking was not on his list of career aspirations. After spending some time with a brother in Napa Valley developing vineyards, he decided the family farm back in upstate NY might be suitable for growing high quality vinifera vines. Upon his return to NY, Peter spent about ten years building homes in the area. As the NY wine industry began to develop, he seriously looked into the idea of opening his own winery. After some basic research and several conversations with local vintners, the decision was made to enter the wine business full time. Peter liked the soil types and the proximity to a large lake - two key important factors for producing the high quality vinifera wines he fell in love with while in Napa Valley.
Another important decision Peter made was to hire a trained and experienced consulting winemaker to help get his winery started. Eric Fry, currently a winemaker on the North Fork of Long Island, was hired to show Peter the ins and outs of grape growing and winemaking. Fry received his formal training at University of California at Davis, and has worked for Robert Mondavi and Jordan Winery in California and Dr. Konstantin Frank's Vinifera Wine Cellars in the Finger Lakes.
King Ferry Winery produces about a dozen wines each year, however, the main grape and key wine is Chardonnay. Peter firmly believes in quality and takes great care to create the finest wines with pure varietal character. Only time honored and traditional winemaking techniques are used in King Ferry Chardonnay.
Peter achieves "Burgundian style Chardonnay" through reducing yields, barrel fermentation and aging in 100% French Vosages oak casks, full malolactic fermentation (conversion of harsh malic acids to softer lactic acids to create a rich, round, complex, style) and leaving the wine sur lie (aging the wine on its lees) to develop complexity and character. Knowing full well that he can never compete on a quantity scale with other local wineries, King Ferry's niche is crafting the finest Chardonnay possible.
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