By Richy Petrina of Ithaca Wine Ventures
With its first vintage harvested in 2016, Weis Vineyards officially began its journey in the Finger Lakes. It is very much a continuation of a multi-generational winemaking story in Germany, transplanted here thanks to love. And great terroir.
Weis produces many excellent wines, and in these few short years has quickly become much-admired for what I would describe as a pleasing and precise style. Their Dry Riesling was their first wine a friend introduced me to, and I fell head over heels for it. Then, one day when searching for a few bottles to share with other friends, I was recommended their Grüner Veltliner.
Thankfully, I said why not?
Grüner Veltliner—shortened to “grooner” by most wine folks—is usually a crisp white wine. It is by definition very linear, less herbaceous than a Sauvignon Blanc, but similar in its peppery citrus kick. If you want a casually fun summer-dress of a white wine, this is it. And in these dreary single-digit winter days, a refreshing wine like this can be a welcome reprieve.
Literally translated to the green wine of Veltlin in the lower Alps, it is mostly made in Austria today—fun fact, you can easily spot an Austrian wine bottle by its red and white flag on the top of the cap which looks like a mini do not enter sign. Many Austrian wines exported to us are Grüners, and they are great, but don’t be afraid to try ones made closer to home.
Here in the Finger Lakes, a number of wineries are including Grüner Veltliner in their collections, and I think it’s a fun alternative to the typical Riesling. It is a great apertif wine, something to wake up your taste buds before a meal, but can also pair nicely with many foods. Most recently, we paired the Weis with a slightly spicy and lemon-zesty stri fry, and it was just fabulous.
The young wine has a very pale color and fresh nose that nicely lifts the moment like a first chair violinist. I get peach, pear, mango, and lime. The attack is bright and reminds me of biting into a ripe and juicy freshly-picked pear. The high acidity makes you want a bite of food, then another taste of wine, and another bite of food. A virtuous and very happy cycle.
Weis wines are readily available at many local establishments and can also be ordered directly from the winery. I highly recommend adding their Grüner to the cart alongside the other more well-known varietals.
Richy Petrina founded Ithaca Wine Ventures in June of 2019 to elevate and amplify the region and its exceptional producers. The startup’s latest project, WINEcsa.org, is a wine club from the Finger Lakes featuring a different winery each month, with local drop-offs and nationwide shipping.