The Wait is Over in Fair Haven

    By on October 1, 2014
    • Dr. Chris Colloca (right) greets visitors and helps pour samples behind the tasting bar at Colloca Estate’s opening weekend.

    • Currently, Colloca Estate has 11 acres of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Riesling planted at its Lake Effect Vineyard.

    • With rows of grapes planted on either side, the driveway to the winery treats early morning visitors to this view. The grounds of Colloca Estate are some of the most beautiful in the area, and will soon host weddings and other events.

    Colloca Estate Hosts Successful Winery Opening

    The long anticipated opening of Colloca Estate Winery brought over 400 wine tasters to the new Fair Haven winery. The new wine tasting room was bustling with activity as locals and other area wine lovers came to sample the newest wine offerings in the area. No one was disappointed. The wine was flowing and the crowd was happy.

    Five years after planting its first vines on the shores of Lake Ontario, Colloca Estate Winery released its award-winning wines to the public on Friday, September 26, 2014. The winery’s new tasting room will be open weekends, Friday – Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. through the Fall Season and seven days a week during the summer months. Wine tastings, wine sales, gift shop novelties, and estate tours are offered.

    In 2009, the Colloca’s planted a ten-acre vineyard of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Riesling. They called it the The Lake Effect Vineyard aptly named to describe the microclimate created by the benefits of its proximity to the Great Lake Ontario. “Our vineyard benefits from the cool summer breezes through the summer growth season that keeps the vines cool and thermal blankets of the lake effect snow and warmer air that the great Lake Ontario provides in winter,” Colloca said. “All of our snow is actually a good thing, protecting the roots of our vines from winter injury,” he added.

    Colloca may be right. Whereas New York State declared a state of emergency for its grape growers who suffered winter damage from the below zero temperatures last winter, Colloca Estate’s Lake Effect Vineyard had little damage. Expert vineyard consultants agree that the microclimate derived from its proximity to water is only magnified along the shores of Lake Ontario. The fruits of the labor were recognized when Colloca’s inaugural 2012 vintage wines were entered into the 2014 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition and took home three Silver medals.

    “We set out to make the best quality product, by spending extra time and money to nurture our vineyard so it produces the very best fruit and we cold stabilized the Riesling in stainless steel tanks while our Chardonnay and Pinot Noir aged in 100% new French oak barrels,” Colloca stated. We’ve allowed the wines to age in bottle for a full year prior to release to maximize their flavors. The hand crafted nature of these wines coupled with the small yields of the new vineyard are also thought to contribute to the quality of the wines.

    A lover of big, bold red wines, Colloca realized that New York’s cool climate wouldn’t permit such a style. In his first venture into wine, he sourced fruit from South Australia’s Barossa Valley and directed the winemaking style with his selection of oak, aging, and blending. Annual trips to Australia enabled him to have a close hand in the winemaking process that has produced five Australian wines on the Colloca label. Colloca has since imported these wines where they have been released with the estate wines and available for tasting and sale only in the tasting room. The varietals include an Old Vine Grenache (made from 98 year-old vines), a Syrah made in true bold Aussie style, a Cabernet Sauvignon made in the silky style of the famed Silver Oak Winery in Napa, a Bordeaux-style blend called ‘The Chateau’ and a Cabernet Franc. Colloca’s Australian winemaker will also have a hand in conducting winemaking chores at Colloca Estate next year, bridging the gap between the wine made on the Colloca label from two continents.

    Colloca Estate’s three estate wines and its five Australian wines will be released for the first time to the public this Friday in its new tasting room. The winery has created unique wine experiences for its visitors enabling them to stop in for a casual taste, or enjoying a more formal sit down private wine tasting. Estate tours are also organized for small groups where visitors can appreciate first- hand the beauty of the area.

    The new winery will join the Lake Ontario Wine Trail that has sprung from success of the famed Finger Lakes Wine Region, known throughout the wine world notably for its Rieslings. New York is the third largest grape producer in the United States after California and Washington. There are currently 37,000 vineyard bearing acres in New York State, on over 1,400 farms, employing nearly 600 vineyard workers. The new Colloca Estate project has added an additional six employees to the work force. It’s likely that further growth and development of the wine industry is expected along Lake Ontario as the area becomes appreciated for its grape growing potential.

    In addition to the Tasting Room and 11 acres of vines, Colloca Estate offers White Tent events, as well as the perfect venue for weddings. Last summer Colloca hosted weddings with over 350 people. They have four weddings booked for 2015.

    Congratulations to Dr. Christopher Colloca and Colloca Estate for a successful opening weekend. We look forward to the Grand Opening celebration, planned for October 10-12.

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    One Comment

    1. Harry DeKing

      October 1, 2014 at 10:58 pm

      So where is it located.