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Seasons of a Finger Lakes WinerySeasons of a Finger Lakes Winery

John C. Hartsock

Narrated by Kevin Moriarty

Available from Audible

Book published by Cornell University Press

In 1998, Gary and Rosemary Barletta purchased seven acres of land on the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake. Descending to the west from the state route that runs along on the ridge overlooking the lake, the land was fertile, rich with shalestone and limestone bedrock, and exposed to moderating air currents from the lake. It was the perfect place to establish a vineyard, and the Barlettas immediately began to plant their vines and build the winery about which they had dreamed for years.

The Barlettas' story, as John C. Hartsock tells it, is a window onto the world of contemporary craft winemaking, from the harsh realities of business plans, vineyard pests, and brutal weather to the excitement of producing the first vintage, greeting enthusiastic visitors on a vineyard tour, and winning a gold medal from the American Wine Society for a Cabernet Franc. Above all, Seasons of a Finger Lakes Winery describes the connection forged among the vintner, the vine, and terroir. This ancient bond, when tended across the cycle of seasons, results in excellent wines and the satisfaction, on the part of the winemaker and the wine enthusiast, of tasting a perfect harvest in a single glass.

Today, Long Point Winery sits on seventy-two acres (eight of which are under cultivation with vinifera grapes) and produces sixteen varieties of wine, a number of which are estate wines made from grapes grown on their property. With interest in winemaking continuing to grow, the Barlettas' experience of making award-winning wines offers both practical advice for anyone running (or thinking of running) their own winery, whether in the Finger Lakes or elsewhere, as well as insights into the challenges and joys of pursuing a dream.

John C. Hartsock has worked as a staff reporter for United Press International and various newspapers, including the Rochester Democrat-Chronicle, and his freelance work has appeared in Audubon and the San Francisco Examiner. He teaches communication studies at SUNY Cortland.


“Everyone who savors the flavor of a fine glass of wine likely has at one time or another dreamt of producing their own.... Organizing his book by season, John C. Hartsock shares vignettes that illustrate the hard work and perseverance required as well as the heartbreak that comes when one tiny mistake ruins a year's output. This detailed book... will be of great interest to those contemplating the winery business, even if just someday to tinker in their basement.”

Library Journal

“Harstock writes for an intelligent but nonexpert reader. His journalistic background lets him use dialogue and scene development to carry the story forward but his strength is in teaching the reader a great deal about vineyards and making wines without seeming pedantic. Tucked into these pages are short yet illuminating explanations of vine biology the economics of small wineries the chemistry of fermentation historic and modern trellising systems techniques of pruning accounts of grape diseases stories of ancient Greek wine parties and even the ramifications of the modern wine bottle (which emerged in 1760).”


“In telling the story of Gary and Rosemary Barletta and their Long Point Winery, John C. Hartsock captures the essence of the small farm winery experience with all of its hard work and ample rewards. The seasons of growth and labor in the vineyard and winery are described in a narrative that encompasses the interesting history of the winery. For the reader who wants to understand the fundamentals of grape growing and winemaking and what it takes to open a successful winery, this is an excellent book. Seasons of a Finger Lakes Winery is also a story of dreams and aspirations, and wine enthusiasts will be inspired by these pages.”

—Hudson Cattell, editor of "Wine East" in Wines & Vines and co-author of Wine East of the Rockies

Seasons of a Finger Lakes Winery is a delightful account of the agrarian life and cycles of the winemaking life. Gary Barletta has succeeded in creating wonderful wines from the Finger Lakes that stand up beautifully in the world of wine. Reading about the behind-the-scenes creation of grapes and wine is a delectable treat to savor.”

—Louis Damiani, Damiani Wine Cellars in Hector, New York

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