"A sense of place is the sixth sense, an internal compass and map made by memory and spatial perception together.” —Rebecca Solnit
Geneva New York
History of Fermentation
Geneva experienced high glacial activity that carved out our lakes. The glacial activity left fertile loam soil. The Finger Lakes Region has a large agricultural sector that is known for growing wine grapes.
Since Seneca Lake is so deep the water doesn’t freeze. Since Seneca Lake never freezes it can hold heat well into the winter months, creating what experts call a “Micro-Climate”. (SLWA) This “Micro-Climate” keeps the area temperate which is perfect for grapes.
In 1880 New York State started the Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva. (Cornell University) The facility was created to perform research on agriculture. The research done by the Experiment station brought attention to Seneca Lake’s ability to produce wine.
Prohibition halted the Experiment Stations progress in 1919. (Historic Patterson) It was not until the 1970’s that Seneca Lake had wine grapes growing. Two individuals Charles Fournier and Hermann Weimer both planted a variety known as Vinifera on their estates. (SLWA) Then in1976 the Farm Winery Act was passed. (Cornell University) The Farm Winery Act was proposed to allow small wineries to sell their products to customers. (Cornell University) This law would be crucial for the rise in numbers of wineries around Seneca Lake.
Now The Seneca Lake Wine Trail boasts the reputation of being the largest and most active trail in New York State. Being a 2012 graduate of Finger Lakes Community College I witnessed the introduction of a viticulture program. This program holds classes at the Geneva campus center and also works with the Experiment Station, thus giving the students hands on opportunities. When in Geneva’s historic down town one can enjoy local wines at almost any restaurant or bar. The newest wine based businesses would be Microclimate Geneva’s first wine bar. This passion of fermentation has blossomed creating new opportunities for businesses in the Finger Lakes Region especially around Seneca Lake.
The ability of these crops to grow in my home region has caused a boom of wineries. This practice of fermentation has certainly influenced Geneva and myself and has made the art of crafting alcohol a passion of mine.