CAYUGA LAKE WINE TRAIL MEMBER
In 1974, the Lucas Family followed their dream and moved from the New York City borough of the Bronx to a farm in the heart of the Finger Lakes Region of upstate New York.
Farm advisors told the Lucas' they could make a good living on their 68-acre farm by growing grapes for one of the big wineries in Hammondsport. They planted their first vines in 1975 and trucked their first crop to the Taylor winery in 1978. At Taylor, the Lucas' watched in dismay as their carefully nurtured, hand-picked grapes were dumped into giant hoppers with truckload of grapes from other growers. A highlight of the Lucas' grape growing days was when they sold their Cayuga White grapes to Glenora Wine Cellars. Glenora produced the very first Cayuga White commercial wine from Lucas Vineyards grapes.
It was a natural progression for the Lucas' to open their own winery in 1980, the first on Cayuga Lake. Their debut vintage of 400 cases won gold and silver medals at the NY State Fair Wine Competition. That was the start of a long chain of medals and awards for Lucas wines. Lucas Vineyards most known wines are the Tug Boat wines. The nautical wines are named after one of the Founders occupation as a Tug Boat Captain in the New York Harbor. In the early years, consumer interest in the Tug Boat Wines kept the winery afloat. Wine production has risen to 17,000 cases (approx. 40,000 gallons), mostly from estate grown grapes. Today the business is owned and managed by Ruth Lucas. The two Lucas daughters, Ruthie and Stephanie, are employed full time by the winery as is Stephanie's husband, Jeff. The second generation hopes that Ruth will be able to retire in a few years and enjoy the fruits of her labor. Cayuga Lake's oldest winery has more to offer than world class wines and a magnificent view of Cayuga Lake.
Colorful bottles, spectacular labels, and the nautical theme "Wine if by Land-Tug if by Sea" wines have intrigued wine writers, connoisseurs, and travelers for more than decades. Lucas Vineyards' nautical wines are inspired by one of the Founder's occupations as a Tug Boat Captain in the waters of New York Harbor-the home of the Lucas family before moving to the Finger Lakes in the early 1970's.
As pioneers in the boutique New York wine industry, the Lucas' nautical wines- Tug Boat Red, Tug Boat White, Dry Dock, Blues and Captain's Belle- kept the winery afloat in the early days. A lot has changed since then. Currently, Owner Ruth Lucas releases medal-winning Methodé Champenoise Champagnes, traditional European varieties including Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir, as well as French American varietals in addition to the seven nautical wines.
Come Visit Us!
Tasting Room and Gift Shop - Open Daily Year Round
November – February:
Monday – Saturday 10:30 – 5:00pm, Sunday 12:00 – 5:00pm.
March – October:
Monday – Saturday 10:30 – 5:30pm, Sunday 12:00 – 5:30pm.
Groups: Groups of 20 or more by reservation only.
Closed: New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.