Bloomer Creek Vineyard
Where adventure meets artistry
By Nicholas Baldwin
Located on the east side of Seneca Lake in Hector, Bloomer Creek Vineyard is a small, artist-driven winery and vineyard crafting some of the Finger Lakes’ best wines. The proprietors, Kim Engle and Debra Bermingham, make new school wines with Old World traditions. Their website states their “wines are made with a sense of adventure.” Engle and Bermingham have been busy growing, and adventurous is a just the word to describe them.
A few years ago, Bloomer Creek purchased 12 acres of land on Matthews Road in Hector. It had overgrown vines of Catawba running rampant. Engle and Birmingham have since cleared the land and planted four acres of Riesling, which will have its first grapes available for harvest this coming fall. The vineyard plot is called Barrow Vineyard, an Old Norse term for “High Rocky Hill,” Bermingham says. The Matthews Road vineyard site is in good company. Dr. Frank and Forge Winery have also purchased land adjacent to Barrow Vineyard and have begun planting at this location.
Bloomer Creek has also partnered with Pascaline LePeltier, sommelier and beverage director of Rouge Tomate in New York City, on a project to create a wine reminiscent of Pascaline’s favorite Chenin Blancs of the Loire Valley in France. At Bloomer Creek, they’ve planted a few acres of Chenin Blanc at the Barrow Vineyard site and hope to have their first bottling in three years’ time. Currently there are a few plantings of Chenin Blanc in the Finger Lakes, but none on the market. Along with the Barrow Vineyard, Engle and Bermingham have also planted 10 acres of Grüner Veltliner, a rising star grape for the region, at a site located on Cayuga Lake.
Still holding strong, Bloomer Creek is a leader in the “natural wine movement” taking hold among a lot of the smaller vineyards in the Finger Lakes. Using no herbicides, pesticides, minimal sulfur, 100-percent hand-picking, using natural wild yeasts and fermentation methods, Bloomer Creek is excited for their first Pétillant Naturel—or Pét-Nat—wines to come to market this fall 2015: a 2014 Cabernet Franc and a 2012 Chardonnay. The artistic minds behind the wine at Bloomer Creek have gone full speed ahead at the vineyards, planting new grapes and making new styles instead of just sticking with business as usual. Keep an eye on Bloomer Creek, and keep their wines in your glasses—there’s plenty more to come from Engle and Bermingham.
5301 Route 414, Hector, 607.546.5027, bloomercreek.com
Nicholas Baldwin has worked in the wine and spirits business for more than 12 years and traveled the world visiting vineyards. He holds numerous wine certifications.
This piece first appeared in our July/August 2015 issue.