With the Winter Olympics now underway in Russia, it is a time for medal counting — and Cazenovia’s own Owera Vineyards, the first and only winery in Madison County, now boasts 12 medals (and 25 total awards) for its wines, two of which were recently received at the 2014 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
Out of 5,825 entries from more than 1,500 wineries from over 25 states in America — in what is billed as the largest competition of wines in America — Owera received two silver medals for its 2012 Frontenac Gris in the “white hybrid” category and its 2012 Chardonnay.
“As a new winery, we are especially proud that our wines have done so well in competitions,” said Owera owner Nancy Muserlian. “The California competition was particularly gratifying as our Owera Chardonnay and Cazenovia-grown Frontenac Gris stood out among the best coast-to-coast.”
Owera Vineyards has been making wine since 2008, and opened its doors to the public at 5276 East Lake Road in Cazenovia in June 2013.
The winery currently has four acres of Frontenac Gris and Marquette grapes planted on its Cazenovia land, and plans to add more grape acreage this year. Owera’s wines are created from a combination of grapes grown in their Cazenovia vineyards and grapes from other Finger Lakes vineyards.
Their first “crush” of grapes occurred in 2010, from which they produced just over 1,000 cases of wine at their original wine-production facility in East Syracuse. Owera currently produces 12 different wines, from the well-known grapes such as Chardonnay, Reisling and Cabernet Franc to the more obscure such as Frontenac Gris, Chambourcin and Lemberger.
Of Owera’s two recent award winners, its 2012 Frontenac Gris was made from the three-year-old vines in Owera’s vineyard on Cazenovia Lake and comes its first harvest, according to the Owera website. Frontenac Gris is one of the cold hardy hybrid grape varieties developed by the University of Minnesota grape breeding program. The wine flavor is “aromatic and flavorful with tropical fruits and citrus” and finishes with “a bit of residual sweetness,” according to the winery’s tasting notes.
Owera’s 2012 Chardonnay is its second vintage of the popular varietal to win a national competition medal. Its 2010 Chardonnay received a gold medal at the 2012 New York Food and Wine Classic.
Owera’s 2012 Chardonnay is described as a blend of barrel and stainless steel fermented Chardonnay that “features toasty aromas, a rich mouthful and flavors of pineapple, vanilla and coconut.”
Muserlian said Owera has increased its wine production during the past year with the addition of five larger capacity tanks and a more efficient chilling system to aid in cold stabilization and temperature control during the fermentation stage of its wines.
“Given the cold temperatures in Cazenovia, our cold-hardy varieties are thriving,” she said. “Our wine production team continues to work to produce great vintages.”
The winery currently is working on plans to showcase its wines at several festivals in the state as well as the New York State Fair.
Owera wines are currently available in restaurants and wine shops across the region.
Owera Vineyards, which has been closed for the winter, will reopen its tasting room doors to the public Wednesday, March 5, and is looking forward to a great season, Muserlian said.
For more information about Owera Vineyards, its wines and previous awards, visit oweravineyards.com.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.