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Skaneateles's sole winery wins gold in California and Michigan

So far, the combination of the land, the grapes, and Nocek's focus on quality over quantity in his winemaking has won more than two-dozen medals at wine competitions, including the Chairman's Award (unanimous gold) at the Riverside, Calif., International Wine Competition for Anyela's medium-dry 2009 Riesling, and gold medals at the Tasters Guild International Wine Competition in Michigan for Anyela's 2007 Cabernet Franc and 2008 Noiret.

Anyela's wines can be found in most every restaurant in Skaneateles, and in the local wine store, the Village Bottle Shop, Anyela's wines are popular with locals and tourists alike. "Anyela's sells extremely well," said owner John Pidhimy. "I always tell people that with only one vineyard on the lake I'm glad they make a really good wine. It's very easy to sell."

It's actually Anyela's red and white blends, Overlay and Avail, that sell best, said Village Bottle Shop sommelier Michael Pidhimy. "They do an excellent job with blends as opposed to single-grape wines such as Cab or Merlot. They're really ahead of the curve for New York wines in this regard," he said.

The Avail is Anyela's classic white blend, made of Riesling, Cayuga White, and either Pinot Gris or Chardonnay. "You can buy Riesling anywhere," Nocek said. "We wanted to craft something here that was unique."

The tasting room inside the winery's main building is just as impressive as the wines: a gorgeous dark-wood structure with vaulted ceilings, spacious rooms, and a comfortable tasting bar that costs only $2 for five wines. Out the back doors is a stone path to an outdoor patio with metal bistro-style tables that overlook Skaneateles Lake. The intention was to make Anyela's upscale, simplistic yet elegant, said Nocek,

He also wants to give back to the community that has been so supportive. In addition to wine tastings, Anyela's also offers weddings, live local music on weekends, and in summer weekend lunch specials created by the winery chef from vegetables grown in Anyela's two-acre garden. On July 30, the winery will host its first wine and music festival featuring local musicians and catered food.

"Skaneateles has been great," Nocek said. "They are very supportive of us and that is what's most important. I'd rather a well-known regional winery than anything else."

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