New boutique winery opens in Penn Yan

The Finger Lakes’ newest winery is a dream come true for Winemaker Johannes Reinhardt.When Reinhardt opened the tasting room of Kemmeter Wines on Aug. 1, it was the realization of a goal the native of Germany has had since childhood. “My dream of working on and owning my own small boutique winery was always in my heart,” said Reinhardt, 46, during an interview in the new tasting room. His family in Germany has been in the wine business since 1438.Located on Larzelere Road, the Kemmeter Wines tasting room is next door to the home of Reinhardt and his wife, Imelda, and just across Route 14 from Anthony Road Wine Co., where he has been the winemaker for 13 years. He plans to continue as Anthony Road’s head winemaker as he builds his own business. Cornfields now surround the tasting room, but Kemmeter Wines already is selling five wines, all 2012 Rieslings that Reinhardt made with grapes purchased from other wineries. The wineries are Red Tail Ridge Winery on Seneca Lake, Sheldrake Point Winery on Cayuga Lake and White Pine Vineyard on Lake Ontario,He plans to start planting grapes on the Kemmeter property next year.Reinhardt grew up in Frankonia, one of 13 wine regions in Germany, which is known for its Silvaner and Riesling wines. His grandmother on his father’s side was born a Kemmeter, and he chose the winery’s name to honor his family“We do have a document back home that is addressed to the family Kemmeter and rewarded my ancestors with a very beautiful crest,” he said. That crest is now the centerpiece of the Kemmeter Wines’ main label.Reinhardt thanked Ann and John Martini, the owners of Anthony Road Wine Company, for their support. “They are my parents away from my own parents,” he said. “Always supportive, always loving and especially always working hard to do their share in supporting the Finger Lakes wine industry.” His goal for the winery is to start small, not spread himself too thin and never grow too large. He wants to plant grapes in four phases (or years), eventually having 11 to 12 acres of vineyards on the 20-acre site. He plans to focus on these varieties of wines: Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir and Zweigelt.“We would not want to produce more than 2,500 cases per year to assure the best possible attention to detail and the most enjoyable customer service we can provide,” he said.For now, the Kemmeter Wines tasting room is open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. by appointment only. Reinhardt wants to give customers exclusive treatment, spending time with them as they taste the wines, which is the European model. His wine passion and knowledge show as Reinhardt offers a tasting of the winery’s current five wines and the differences they express to the taster.“Growing up at a family estate myself shaped my love for creating wines that show purity and personality that are true to its heritage,” he said. Three of the wines are his “lake project,” three Rieslings made with grapes from the shores of three different lakes – Ontario, Seneca and Cayuga. “The goal of those three Rieslings is to start accumulating experience in working with fruit whose growing foundation comes from very different backgrounds,” he said. “Beside that, those wines are allowed to ferment on their native yeast, which should help me to get a more detailed picture of their sense of place over the years to come.”For a tasting, the wine to start with is a mellow yet expressive Riesling named Sonero (after the lead singer of a salsa band). “This wine was also allowed to ferment on its native yeast and shows a lower degree of acidity compared to many of its ‘brothers’ in the Finger Lakes Riesling world,” Reinhardt said. “It does especially well for people who have a hard time drinking Rieslings with higher acid levels.”The fifth wine currently available is SanSan, the Chinese name of Reinhardt’s wife. He said this Riesling won’t be available every year “unless nature shows favor and provides exceptional fruit to work with.” Along with the Kemmeter crest on the label, bottles of SanSan bear part of the musical score of Reinhardt’s favorite Bach piece, the Third Orchestral Suite.To make an appointment, call the tasting room at (315) 521-3897. The winery’s email address is [email protected] and its website, kemmeterwines.com, will be operating soon.

Also on FingerLakes1.com