2020 Was a Great Year

… for Finger Lakes grapes.

Ah, 2020 – the year to almost end all years. What expletives haven’t already been used to describe it? Yes, it was a rough year for a lot of people, including many grape growers, wineries, and others in the Finger Lakes tourism industry. But if you were a grape coming of age in 2020, by all accounts you did pretty well.

Hot, dry weather is conducive to growing wine grapes, and that’s what we had in 2020. “This vintage felt unusually surreal thanks to the … amount of sunny days, all draped in a pandemic fog,” says Vinny Aliperti, winemaker with Atwater Estate Vineyards in Burdett, NY (Seneca Lake). Leave it to a winemaker to say it best. It’s just one more aspect of 2020 that felt surreal.

Finger Lakes wineries are feeling optimistic about their 2020 vintage.

Other area wineries are also feeling optimistic about their 2020 vintage – good news for a wine region growing in global popularity. “One of the best in a decade” declared one Keuka Lake winery. Those sunbathed grapes have all been picked and will be making their way into bottles this winter. Hopefully the “pandemic fog” will be lifted by the time they hit the shelves of our local wineries and liquor stores. That said, many Finger Lakes wineries offer to ship, so there’s still opportunity to get their 2019 vintages.

Without wading too far into the fascinating but complex topic of wine making (save that for another post), the point is that if grape growers are feeling optimistic about 2021, maybe we should, too. “Depending on the winemaker’s pivotal decision of when to pick,” says Aliperti, “the wines of 2020 may be equipped for both early consumption and for extended bottle aging.”

While he cautions that only time will tell, I’m sure many of us are ready for that bit about early consumption. Either way, here’s to the hope that last year’s challenges can be equally transformed into something to be enjoyed on sunny days with friends and family near.

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