Vigneron Steve Shaw grew up in a small town in the Finger Lakes where he had the opportunity to meet and be inspired by vinifera pioneers like Dr. Konstantin Frank, Charles Fournier, Guy DeVeaux, and Herman Wiemer. It was with the efforts of these men in mind that Steve decided to plant his first vinifera vineyard in 1981 when many regional growers and wineries were still focused on hybrids and native varieties.
After a winemaking partnership in the 1990s with Silver Thread Vineyard, Steve decided to strike out on his own, and in 1999 he purchased 50 acres on Seneca Lake and planted a new vineyard. Construction of the post-and-beam tasting room, underground cellar, and production facility commenced in 2003 (with the first vintage coming from 2002). The Shaw Vineyard winery had its public grand opening in 2007. Always a tinkerer, Steve has been refining his operation ever since, expanding the winery facilities significantly in 2016.
Over the years, Steve traveled extensively to develop and broaden his winemaking education. He took note of growing and production methods in the cooler areas of the Pacific Northwest and Bordeaux as well as the warmer regions like Sonoma and Rioja. He adapted much of what he saw to his winemaking efforts in the Finger Lakes.
A critical focus at Shaw is the vineyard itself, where Steve utilizes his sometimes unorthodox methods. Great wine starts with superior grapes, and even better wine takes time to mature. Shaw Vineyard is a handcrafted operation. From vineyard to cellar to bottling to sale takes many long years, and its not unusual for the reds at Shaw to spend 5 years or more in the cellar before they are even bottled. Likewise, aged Riesling has been an emphasis from day one.
The secret at Shaw is consistency across vintages and varietals. It is Steve Shaw’s philosophy that Finger Lakes winemaking takes constant tweaking and a sense of daring, adjusting to the often challenging conditions of a region that continues to entice interest among fine wine enthusiasts.