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Hazlitt using Widmer's old Solera process for its sherries

The former Widmer Wine Cellars facility in Ontario County.
The former Widmer Wine Cellars facility in Ontario County.Photos provided.

Widmer Wine Cellars may no longer exist as a standalone entity, but a piece of its history is making ... more history.

Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, which purchased Widmer in 2011 to produce its Red Cat wines, is using the classic Solera method to produce fine Sherry, and doing it on the roof of the former Widmer's Naples, Ontario County, location. Sherry, for those unsure of the definition, is a fortified dessert wine combining table wines and grape spirit.

The process, a revival of one institituted a century ago at Widmer, utlilizes the same barrels Widmer used for decades. It employs the fractional blending Solera process that creates a mixture of ages with the average age gradually increasing as the process continues over many years.

The aging process also involves natural weathering in outdoor casks, with the wine baking in the summer and chilling in the winter to achieve its amber color and nutty flavor

Hazlitt's original and main location is at 5712 State Route 414 in Hector. Phone: (607) 546-9463. The fruit farm business there was founded by David Hazlitt on a 153-acre parcel of land he purchased in 1852. In 1985, Jerry and Elaine Hazlitt founded Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, where it makes a wide variety of wines. Its Naples location is kept busy making the Red Cat line that is marketed as "the original hot tub wine" and, in general, a party wine. The winery is located at 1 Lake Niagara Lane. Phone: (585) 531-9000.