We asked Christopher to describe his winery and their philosophy:
Element Winery is a small producer of Finger Lakes wines focusing on
high-end production. Our winemaking is rather "old fashioned" in a lot of
ways. Little to no sulfur usage, no cultivated yeast, no fining, little to
no filtration, no enzymes, no chemicals and no fancy machinery. Our elevage
program is rather simple. Old, large oak used for the elevage of reds,
stainless for whites and simply taking time to allow the wine to come into
its own and to While we do not want to be classified as making "natural"
wines, we do our best to avoid anything we would not want to put in our
bodies. Furthermore, while wine is ultimately "manipulated", we do our best
to avoid any unnecessary manipulations. No tricks.
We asked Christopher to explain the region of Finger Lakes and the potential he see's there:
Our focus is on our three core red varietals: Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and
Syrah. Each, I believe has the ability to make wine on par with the great
wines of the world. Additionally, we make a small amount of Riesling,
Chardonnay and experimental reds. The Finger Lakes is a cool climate region,
much like many of our favorite sites in the world for these varieties
(Burgundy, Cote Rotie, Chinon, Sonoma Coast, Sta Rita Hills, ect), with
greatly fluctuating weather patterns. It is a hard region to grow grapes in,
and a hard region to produce wine in. We have to be very sensitive to
disease pressure, as mildew and rot are a big issue. Quality wine here
requires very precise viticulture and sorting is a must. We insist on hand
harvesting and only in small picking lugs, as every single cluster is sorted
at the winery to remove any rot and disease issue that may have made it
through. With the challenges that persist, it is important to realize there
will be losses along the way. Unfortunately, in the very challenging 2011
vintage, only 80 cases of red wine (syrah) will be produced under the
Element label. Unfortunately, decisions like that are costly, but we believe
are very important in order to establish the Finger Lakes as a premier
producer of cool climate red wines.
Christopher on creating Finger Lakes typicity:
Because our target is to set the stereotype for finger lakes reds, we want
each of our varietal wines to represent the range of terriors the finger
lakes has (the old school, pre-modernized chateneauf model). To this end, we
are not intending to produce single site wines. We want the complexity that
comes from blending cooler and warmer sites, east and west, slate and clay.
Furthermore, we believe it is important to see the beauty in the forest,
before focusing on each individual tree. To this end, we work with a range
of growers, adding and subtracting every year as we try to find the best.
Christopher stopped by to show his project around Toronto.
For more information on his wines and how to get them email email@example.com