In 1955, when Dr. Konstantin Frank began planting grapes on the slopes of Keuka Lake in New York, the United States had no serious wine culture. This was nearly 20 years before California wines began their rise on the world stage. Wine shops in major cities carried primarily French and some Italian or German wines. Bordeaux was the gold standard for anyone who knew anything about wine.
Dr. Konstantin Frank’s visionary efforts place him among the pantheon of American wine pioneers. Frank tested the boundaries of eastern wine with new varieties, winemaking techniques and innovative programs.
Sixty years after the first vines were planted, Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery has vineyards now totaling 124 acres spread along both Keuka and Seneca Lakes. New York’s Finger Lakes are recognized as one of the world’s premier wine regions.
The winery is able to cultivate grapes like Blaufrankisch, Saperavi, most of the Bordeaux varieties, Chardonnay, Riesling and Rkatsiteli, due to the moderating influence of the lake. Some of the earliest plantings of Pinot Noir that are approaching an ancient-vine status and are recognized as the second oldest Pinot vines in the country. The scope and quality of the Dr. Frank wines are extraordinary for an east coast producer.
According to General Manager Meagan Frank, the “vision for the next 10 years is to continue to pioneer new grape varieties to the region, continue to innovate in the vineyard/cellar and to offer one of the most exceptional customer experiences in the Finger Lakes. We will continue to collaborate with local artists and infuse our company with staff from around the world to foster collaboration and diversity."
Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery occupies a unique historic status not just in the Eastern USA. It goes beyond even North America. It is, by any measure, both a world class producer and an American icon. If you were going to visit just one US winery, Dr. Konstantin Frank would be the one.