Story by Erin Scherer
Inspired by the Loire Valley Wines they love, Andrew Scott and Jennifer Clark’s Winery Eminence Road offers their own unique take on Finger Lakes staples like Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Cabernet Franc made with Ambient Yeast. Just don’t go looking for them on the Wine Trail: they base their operations out of Long Eddy, Delaware County, in a part of the Catskills once known as “The Borscht Belt”.
Scott and Clark’s winemaking journey began in 1996, when Scott’s brother gave him a winemaking kit for Christmas. Soon enough, Scott and Clark were making pilgrimages to the Finger Lakes from their New Jersey home, buying grapes and juice from Fulkerson and Fall Bright at Harvest. Their hobby grew bigger and more elaborate with each passing vintage, as they learned techniques like ambient yeast. By 2006, Scott was fed up with his job in the publishing industry, and decided to go all-in and start a winery.
“We decided to try and get a winery going,” Scott remembers. “We didn’t think it would last, and that we’d end up back in the city.”
Although they contemplated moving to the Finger Lakes, they ultimately settled on making a permanent residence of their getaway home, a move influenced by the 2008 Recession. Eminence Road made their first vintage that same year with grapes purchased from Cornell’s New York Wine & Grape Classifieds.
“The advantage of starting a winery in a recession was that there were a lot of grapes,” says Scott. “Nobody knew if they were able to sell wine the following year.”
200 cases were produced, including 60 cases of Chardonnay that sold out in two weeks. Originally content to sell at Farmer’s Markets, Eminence Road eventually found their way into wine shops in New York City and Washington, D.C., as well as locally at the Cellar d’Or in Ithaca.
“It’s really nice to have the wine go back to the Finger Lakes,” says Clark.
At harvest, Scott and Clark drive their Ford F150 with a trailer full of picking lugs to the Finger Lakes and pick up their grapes from vineyards like Leidenfrost and Lamoreaux Landing, and bring them to their renovated 1960s farmhouse. Usually they average around 1,000 cases a year, but in 2019, they produced 1,200 cases. They consider themselves to be at capacity, and don’t foresee expanding their operation.
“We’re a mom-and-pop,” says Scott. We’re not interested in world domination.”
eminenceroad.com, 3734 Eminence Road, Long Eddy
Erin Scherer wrote about Oxbow Farms in the Spring 2021 edition. She lives in Geneva.