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Innovative Glenora adds a French 'egg' to its lineup of fermenting vessels

Winemaker Steve DiFrancesco

The average New York State winery may introduce one to three new wines each season. Glenora Wine Cellars is known for going beyond the norm, and its latest lineup of new products upholds that reputation.

The Seneca Lake winemaker on Thursday unveiled four new wines, including a Pinot Blanc it fermented in an egg-shaped concrete tank manufactured in France. The other versions of the popular wine were fermented in stainless steel tanks, oak barrels, and a blend of those two, which is the largest amount produced. The latter will be available at wine stores and restaurants, while the other three will be sold only at the winery because of limited production numbers.

The four wines created by winemaker Steve DiFrancesco are distinguished by labels with a strip at the bottom reflecting the color of the fermentation vessel. All four use Stelvin twist-off caps. DiFrancesco earned a degree in biology from Stetson University in Florida and has since celebrated 31 harvests in the Finger Lakes, plus one in Chile. He began with Glenora in the late '80s as assistant winemaker and moved into the top slot in 1995.

Glenora, established in 1977, was the first farm winery in the Finger Lakes. When the state's Farm Winery Act of 1976 was passed, Gene Pierce along with Eastman Beers, Edward Dalrymple, and Howard Kimball steamed up to open the first winery on Seneca Lake. Today, Glenora is owned by Pierce and Scott Welliver. They have overseen the creation of the 30-room Inn at Glenora and the Veraisons Restaurant on the grounds. The restaurant's executive chef is Orlando Rodriguez, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park who built his reputation with several Connecticut restaurants.

The new concrete fermentation tank was something Pierce and Welliver saw at several wineries during a tour of France. They now plan to have one made in California, which will allow them to make comparisons between domestic and imported "egg" fermenters.

Glenora is open year-round, with the single exception of Christmas Day. The complex is located at 5435 State Route 14 in Dundee, Yates County. Phone: (800) 243-5513.

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