Sun divider line.


Moon divider line


Land is Wine

Existing within the unique microclimate of the Finger Lakes is a subclimate known throughout the region as the “Banana Belt.” This 9-mile stretch on the eastern side of Seneca Lake runs north from Burdett through Hector to Valois, and is typically warmer than surrounding areas. These warmer conditions result from the vast depth of the lake, constant airflow from the lake, and the western facing slopes that capture the sun at the hottest times of day – the afternoon and evening. Due to its depth, it is extremely rare that Seneca Lake freezes over in the wintertime. The lake retains and gradually expels the warmth of the water gained in the summer months, which aids in inhibiting vine destruction that may result from the harsh winter temperatures.


Damiani Vineyard

Our Damiani Vineyard produces wines that tend to soften the line between feminine sophistication and bold vitality. Anyone who knows Lou Damiani would agree that this characterization of his vineyard perfectly mirrors his energy in life – thoughtful, passionate and strong. This site was hand-planted in two separate instances on Howard Gravelly Loam soils, the lower block in 1997 and the upper block in 2000.

The sweeping western-facing slope of Damiani Vineyard captures brilliant sunlight and warmth throughout the year, creating wines of depth and maturity. Here Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Pinot Noir shine, providing some of our finest fruit every vintage. Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, and Pinot Gris are among the other varieties planted at this site. With its rugged terrain and minimalist intervention, this vineyard has grown into the landscape as opposed to growing upon it. While canopy management is strictly followed, the vineyard floor is left uninterrupted, driving the roots of the vines deep into the earth, gathering and expelling valuable nutrients to the grapes.


Davis Vineyard

Structured and harmonious, yet strong and elegant, our Davis Vineyard is a spectacular representation of quality grape-growing in the Finger Lakes. Hand-planted in 1998 close to the eastern shore of Seneca Lake on Howard Gravelly Loam, this 5 ½ acre site is perfectly suited to produce lively, old-world style wines.

Armed with years of experience dating back to his childhood, Phil Davis owns and operates Davis Vineyard. Phil shares a remarkable bond with his vineyard, leaving little space left untouched or unknown to him. Since every vine tells a different story, each is worked by hand and cared for on a vine-by-vine basis. As a firm believer that great winemaking comes from great viticultural practices, Phil continues a thoughtful and constant maintenance program to support the vineyard health. From early leaf-pulling – exposing the grapes to more sunlight, to fruit thinning – removing any weak clusters, allowing the energy to be transferred to more desirable fruit, many precautions are taken to allow for the most optimal fruit quality.

Our rich and compelling Pinot Noir is the centerpiece to Davis Vineyard. Each of the four Dijon clones planted here are cared for separately throughout the vintage and harvested independently. Clone 115 is grown in the lower block, while the other clones 114, 667, and 777 are nurtured in the upper block. Both the Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc utilize the Scott Henry trellis system, lessening disease pressure and canopy density, ensuring ample sunlight and airflow. Other varieties grown at Davis are trellised using VSP, or Vertical Shoot Positioning, including: Merlot, Riesling, and Cabernet Sauvignon.


Sunrise Hill Vineyard

In addition to our celebrated estate vineyards “Davis” and “Damiani,” we have a special relationship with “Sunrise Hill.” Owned and farmed by Bob and Kathy Ruis, Sunrise Hill vineyard is a beautiful pastoral setting overlooking the lake on a gentle slope that catches the morning sunrise. While the soil, sunshine, slope and overall microclimate are hallmarks of great terroir, the quality of fruit is a testament to the diligent and passionate work of Bob and Kathy. They learned how to grow grapes from DWC co-owner/grower Phil Davis and from the beginning have been a sister vineyard to DWC. Coming from this close relationship are high quality grape varietals so uniquely expressive that DWC has bottled them as a single vineyard expression, including Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir, and of course the King of Sunrise Hill (as Kathy calls it), Lemberger.

Lemberger thrives at this site, year after year producing a wine with lush fruit, exotic flavors, and unique almost perfumed aromatics. DWC sources Lemberger from other high-quality sites, but none have such intensity and expression. Sunrise Hill Lemberger is one of the few wines DWC bottles as a single vineyard EVERY vintage because it is so consistent, so good, so unique. At DWC each vintage, every varietal from every vineyard is vinified in separate lots. Each barrel goes through a rigorous taste test looking for power, flavor, mouth feel, expression, elegance, and uniqueness. Only the best barrels are chosen for single vineyard or reserve designation, and only make the cut in certain years when the winemaker and owners agree it would be criminal to blend away such unique and fantastic cuvée.

One of the attributes that makes Sunrise Hill great is its geology. Across the Finger Lakes exists a complex soil matrix with significant variations of soil slope, proximity to the lake, fertility, depth, drainage and mineral composition. Sunrise Hill has excellent characteristics, including a gentle slope (2-8%) close to Cayuga lake that not only benefits from early sun, but also provides good air movement especially important in preventing freeze damage in the winter and spring. The soils are deep well-drained loamy till derived from limestone, dolomite, and calcareous shale, and from lesser amounts of sandstone and siltstone. Grape vines love good drainage and access to plant nutrients, especially minerals such as limestone and calcareous shale. Limestone in soil helps vines in multiple ways, including balancing soil pH, improving root nutrient uptake, and providing appropriate water retention and release. This leads to healthy vigor, healthy fruit, and bright flavors. By properly farming on a great site like this, one can achieve great aromatics, concentration, and depth across the palate. In young vines, much of the plant physiology takes place above ground and in the first few feet of soil depth that make up its active microbiome. As the vine matures, it sends roots down into the deep layers where it finds pockets of different minerals and extracts from them additional unique qualities that set it apart from young vines and which are truly expressive of site. The unique combination of geologic attributes, with passionate farming and winemaking, allows Sunrise Hill to express flavors, aromatics, and mouth-feel that are as unique as they are beautiful. Truly this is a coveted single-vineyard bottling from Damiani Wine Cellars, production is limited to about 175 cases.