Award-winning winemaker lastly finds a house in Wayne County
LYONS – Simply give it quarter-hour, that is all Randy Agness stated he requested the beverage supervisor on the Strathallan resort in Rochester.
And with a bottle of her semi-dry Riesling and two wine glasses, Agness was about to plant her wine on the resort’s Wine Spectator restaurant. The truth is, he did not actually need to speak lots – he introduced wine, keep in mind.
The cork he makes use of – 100% pure, premium Portuguese cork, “the most effective you should buy on the earth,” Agness stated – grabbed consideration and marked him as somebody who meant enterprise. The tasting put Agness on the wine record and, he stated, his “first large win”.
“It opened the door,” Agness stated.
About 5 years later, Agness Wine Cellars lastly has a house.
Toganenwood Property, a rustic marriage ceremony and occasion venue with a farmhouse, lined bridge and barn relationship again to 1846, is simply north of the Ontario County border on Route 14 to Lyon, on the banks of a bend in Canandaigua Outlet.
The principle barn as soon as housed horses, and cows grazed throughout the road and crossed Route 14, stated Agness, of Fairport. The small barn that can home the tasting room was beforehand a corn nursery the place the corn stalks have been dried.
It is a spot with historical past, and as Agness identified, “The story just isn’t over. All the most effective wine has but to be made.
It looks as if a storytelling place, and Agness can court docket court docket with the most effective of them. Agness recounts how he, a beer and whiskey drinker, developed a style for Riesling and this fueled an curiosity in winemaking and his beginnings as an newbie. After deciding to go industrial, he recounts the nomadic lifetime of a winemaker on the street with out a everlasting house, serving tastings and delivering bottles to retailers and eating places, in addition to the conversations and correspondence he had as a as an award-winning skilled winemaker.
Bottles of inexperienced wine – every with the distinctive label highlighting the Finger Lakes – line the again wall of the tasting room. Agness lifts a heavy grape-and-wine-themed cast-iron ornament from a wall, an opportunity discover, he famous, that matches the house completely.
Oh, he has plans for the brand new home.
Agness will quickly be producing craft beer right here, and he will probably be making apple cider and apple brandy. As a part of a cope with Iron Smoke Whiskey, cocktails may even be served right here. Lifting a inexperienced, unlabeled bottle saved within the cool wine cellar under the tasting room, Agness stated her Finger Lakes glowing Champagne technique will probably be launched subsequent month.
“What’s cool is that I initially did it for my son’s marriage ceremony. It was so in style on the marriage ceremony that I stated, ‘We will must launch this sooner or later,’ ”Agness stated. “However final 12 months was not an excellent 12 months to do it.”
A chemist by career – growing a style for Riesling on company journeys to locations like Germany, France, Austria and California’s Sonoma wine area – and a former soccer referee, Agness reworked in the past 5 years his newbie passion in skilled ardour, making a wine and, judging by the awards and the eye obtained, an excellent one.
Throughout a go to to the Kendall-Jackson Vineyard on certainly one of these journeys, his spouse on the time instructed him, “You’re a chemist. Cannot you make me a Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay? The problem was there, ”he stated.
“I have been concerned in adhesives and photographic paper, optics and automotive – all of that, and it is all primarily based on chemistry. Winemaking is totally the identical factor – it is chemistry, ”stated Agness, who took winemaking courses at Finger Lakes Neighborhood Faculty.
Sure, chemistry – and he is excited to speak about grapes, yeast, yeast vitamin, fermentation, and all of the chemical reactions and how one can management them if you recognize what you are doing.
“Chemistry,” he says. “It is a recipe I can work with.”
In these 5 quick years, Agness’s one and solely wine has carried out nicely in nationwide and worldwide competitions, has been extremely rated in magazines resembling Wine Spectator and Wine Fanatic, and final 12 months, was nominated for the New York State Vineyard of the 12 months.
“Having only one wine just isn’t a quite common state of affairs,” Agness stated. “However for us, it gave us an opportunity to focus.”
Honor was wonderful, he stated, however in 2020 his gross sales have been reduce in half as half of his enterprise is with eating places, which clearly suffered tremendously.
However with a house, Agness can now concentrate on rising the enterprise.
Initially, Agness produced 110 instances of its 2015 classic, i.e. 1320 bottles. In 2018, he produced 1,056 instances, or 12,672 bottles. The 2019 classic is awaiting bottling and 2020 is at the moment in vats.
“We are able to quadruple the expansion within the new house,” Agness stated.
The 20 gallon beer operation can produce as much as 100 kegs per 12 months, initially. And Agness already has shoppers, as sponsors of the Roc Metropolis Growth and Flower Metropolis Union soccer groups, along with offering drinks for the marriage venue.
Along with the champagne coming subsequent month, there may even be a Finger Lakes Candy Riesling launched. Within the fall, he plans to provide Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and a crimson Bordeaux-type mix.
“We have been nomads and all of the sudden we’ll do all the pieces,” Agness stated.
The one drawback is the openness.
He initially hoped to open on his birthday, February 18, which is Nationwide Wine Day. When it got here and went, he considered St. Patrick’s Day, which might have been enjoyable for an Irishman with an Eire-themed tasting room.
All the things is about, he stated, apart from permits and licenses, and he is been instructed it might go on till summer time earlier than they’ll open – however he is preserving his fingers crossed for sooner. .
“Each time I put a date in my head, it appears to go by the wayside. We’re within the palms of others, ”stated Agness. “We’re affected person, however persistent. We are going to get there. It is only a matter of when.
Digital winegrowers and Valentine’s Day
Here’s a pleasant reminder.
The Finger Lakes Neighborhood Faculty Basis will probably be internet hosting its annual Vintners & Valentines fundraiser nearly at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 30.
Attendees will take pleasure in a web-based wine tasting and dialog with these on the entrance traces to boost the profile of the Finger Lakes as a world wine area. Wine will probably be shipped or obtainable for pickup, together with a duplicate of a cookbook, “Julia for 4,” created by culinary arts college students.
A meal from the cookbook was chosen for contributors to organize. Or, contributors can order.
The occasion begins with remarks from FLCC President Robert Nye, in addition to college and college students. Individuals spend the remainder of the time in on-line workshops with winemakers who accompany them all through the tasting.
The associated fee is $ 100 per particular person, together with two bottles of wine, or $ 160 per couple, together with three bottles of wine. Sponsorships are additionally obtainable. Tickets will be bought on-line at give.flcc.edu. The order deadline is April fifteenth.
All income are used to cowl the bills of the viticulture and wine and hospitality know-how applications. Each contain substantial tools and provide prices associated to the sensible nature of instructing.
Eat, drink and be Murphy
The Eat, Drink and Be Murphy column explores the area’s abundance of foods and drinks – and the individuals who convey it to you – from nut soup, accented with craft beer or Finger Lakes wine. In any case, who would not prefer to eat and drink? Electronic mail Assistant Editor Mike Murphy at [email protected] or name 585-337-4229 with concepts and solutions.