Sheldrake Point juts prominently from the western shore of Cayuga Lake and our vineyards stretch virtually to the beach, situated on a slope between two gorges that feed into Cayuga Lake. The site is blessed with well-drained, glacier soils.
The vineyard’s first vinifera grapes were planted in 1997 and we remain dedicated to our vinifera heritage. The first estate vintage, from fruit picked on our site in 2000, was released in 2001.
We maintain the vineyard through sustainable practices, recognizing the symbiotic relationship we have with the land on which our grapes are grown. It is only by tending to it with the greatest of respect that it will continue to provide us with grapes of a unique character reflective of the terroir.
The Sheldrake Effect
The climate of a vineyard’s geographic location is called a “mesoclimate.” At Sheldrake Point, we refer to the unique mesoclimate in which our grapes are grown as “The Sheldrake Effect.” Sheldrake Point is located right on the water's edge in the heart of the Cayuga Lake wine region, with more than 400-foot depths just off our beach. Because deep water heats and cools more slowly than the surrounding land, the resulting hillside mesoclimate lengthens our growing season to 170 days, more than two weeks longer than surrounding counties. This mesoclimate has the ability to hinder bud breaks too early in the spring, lower daily swings in temperature, lengthen the growing season, and delay the onslaught of the first autumn frosts. Our east-facing slope warms up faster in the morning hours than west-facing slopes in the spring, and the deep gorges on both sides of our vineyard promote effective air drainage, inhibiting both frost and disease. The soils at Sheldrake are predominantly well-drained Howard gravelly loam, derived from shale, limestone and slate, and considered ideal for grape production.