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Hermann J. Wiemer: Deep Roots in Dundee

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Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard

Deep Roots in Dundee 

In our upcoming May/June 2015 issue, learn more about Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard, from the eponymous winemaker’s early winemaking days to current operations at the hands of Fred Merwarth and Oskar Bynke.

For more than 30 years, renowned winemaker Hermann J. Wiemer’s unique firsthand knowledge of grafting, tending root nurseries and winemaking has helped Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard become a premiere vineyard that set the standards for all vineyards to come after. Hermann’s knowledge and passion for winemaking goes back to his roots: As a child he spent the summers working on his family’s vineyards, tending vines along the Moselle River in Germany. When Hermann left Germany to settle in Dundee in the early 1960s, he bought 80 acres of land on the western shores of Seneca Lake, now known as the HJW Vineyard site, and planted Riesling and Chardonnay. His first vintages of those varietals won gold medals in New York State wine competitions, and the accolades for Hermann J. Wiemer wines have only piled up from there.

Today Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard is managed and operated by two Cornell alumni, Fred Merwarth and Oskar Bynke. Merwarth’s interest in winemaking started when he studied abroad in Germany and first tasted the Rieslings of Germany and France. He began working at Hermann J. Wiemer in 2001, and during his first harvest, the vineyard manager left and Merwarth assumed many of the responsibilities and learned quite fast. At the same time, Bynke was traveling back and forth from New York City, where he was working with Moët Hennessy USA and Diageo, to help out at the vineyard. Hermann worked closely with Merwarth and Bynke over the next several years, and when Hermann was ready to retire in 2007, he, Merwarth and Bynke agreed to terms, and Merwarth and Bynke took over the vineyard.

Since then, Merwarth and Bynke have forged ahead with new initiatives, plantings and increasingly sustainable practices, continuing Hermann J. Wiemer’s legacy as one of our region’s most acclaimed wine producers.

To learn more about the current and future Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard, read Nicholas Baldwin’s full profile in our May/June issue, out soon!

Photo by Jan Regan

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