our team, our family.
In June of 2005, on the banks of Seneca Lake, Zugibe Vineyards began as 23 acres of vinifera wine grapes. Since then, it has grown to 40 acres, comprising 11 different varietals, including Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Merlot, Lemberger, Sauvignon Blanc and Grüner Veltliner.
The goal of Zugibe Vineyards has always remained constant: to produce innovative, complex, and delicious wines. We want to share our passion, knowledge, and beautiful location overlooking Seneca Lake with all our guests!
Frederick T. Zugibe III
Offsite Events | Wholesale
with daughter - Jasmine Zugibe
In 2004 Dr. Frederick Zugibe Jr. purchased the land where we are today. After extensive soil analysis and weather studies on several potential tracts of land around Seneca Lake, he found the property to be exceptional for growing wine grapes. In fact, the property was purchased from the estate of a grape research professor at Cornell named Dr. Keith Kimball whose primary research focused on field grafting of grapevines (replacing the portion of the vine above the root system with a completely new variety, without having to dig up the vine). He had a two-acre vineyard plot of research grape varieties where the field behind the tasting room sits, but unfortunately these vines were overgrown beyond recovery. A pole barn was erected across the street of the current tasting room to house all of the future wine production and barrel ageing.
In the spring of 2005, the portion of property that sits between Teall Beach Road and the train tracks was deep-plowed to remove large rocks from the land and then an extensive drain tile network was installed deep in the ground to continuously pull excessive moisture from the soil and create ideal growing conditions for the grapes. That same summer, 23 acres of vines were planted of 9 different varieties- all vinifera wine grapes running north to south, totaling 122 rows of trellised vines. This first planting consisted of (from the Easternmost portion towards the lake) of: Riesling (three different clones), Cabernet Franc, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc. These varieties were planted this way to give the more tender varieties the benefit of a closer proximity to the warming effects of the lake throughout the winter months.
In the summer of 2007 the Zugibe family planted an additional 17 acres of grape vines on the field north of the tasting room (referred to as the High Banks vineyard). This planting significantly increased production of Riesling and Cabernet Franc, and introduced two new varieties: Lemberger and Grüner Veltliner (making it the very first planting of Grüner Veltliner in New York State)!
Tragedy struck shortly after the first harvest, losing the most important part of the business with the untimely passing of patriarch Frederick Zugibe Jr., on November 20, 2006. This was crippling the family’s plan to move forward with the business. However, the family chose to rally together and push forward. Like the Phoenix rising from the ashes (the familiar Zugibe Firebird Logo), the Zugibe family fought together and rose through this extreme challenge to forge ahead and establish this beautiful vision as we see it today. The symbol that was created to represent Zugibe Vineyards logo is not only an homage to their Lebanese heritage (the Ancient Phoenicians being ancestors to the modern Lebanese), but it represents the family’s quite literal rising from the ashes of adversity to build their father’s dream. And if you look closely at the shield on the logo you can make out a sketch of a lake and hill background with rows of vines. This was sketched by Frederick Zugibe II while sipping his morning coffee on the same day he left us. The three pillars in the middle of the “Z” represent his three sons- who continue to carry on his legacy today, first opening the tasting room to the public on November 5, 2009 which was the 5th birthday of grandson Frederick Zugibe IV.