When planning J.R. Dill Winery in Burdett, Schuyler County, Jeffrey Dill made sure to weave Finger Lakes references into the design. The tasting room bar, for instance, is made from beach glass his mother began collecting on Seneca Lake’s shoreline 35 years ago.
Plucked from the waterfront at his family’s cottage in Hector Falls Point, the kaleidoscopic array of glass shards filled many shoeboxes before becoming a focal point at the winery.
“There’s a lot of unique pieces,” says Dill, a former home winemaker who opened the winery in August 2010 after earning an MBA degree at Drexel University. “Some people, when they come in, they don’t believe it came out of the lake.”
Built to rest in trays that allow for adding or rotating pieces, the glass collection represents how Dill is embracing change at his new venture. He already plans to shepherd the winery’s annual production from 1,700 cases to 5,000 by 2015, get his lineup into liquor stores and restaurants as soon as possible and participate in all of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail’s major events in 2011 as the newest member winery.
Visitors will find at least five wines to sample, including the 2008 Riesling, the 2008 Cabernet Franc and the 2008 Chardonnay, all made from Seneca Lake fruit Dill buys. A sweet 2010 Cayuga White in the pipeline is already showing banana and passion fruit aromas, he says.
Besides planting the seed for the beach-glass tasting bar, Dill’s mother, an amateur artist, was responsible for early sketches of a tailcoat-clad frog that now appears on the winery’s bottle labels. The logo has proved fitting, given that frogs often congregate on the winery’s crush pad when it rains.
Tasting room hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, from May 1 to Dec. 31. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday, from Jan. 1 to April 30. Reservations recommended for groups of 10 or more.
Tasting fee: $2 for at least five samples. The fee includes the wineglass. $3 for groups of 10 or more.
Accessibility: Fully accessible, including a tasting bar at wheelchair height.
Provided by J.R. Dill Winery
The tasting room at J.R. Dill Winery in Burdett, Schuyler County, has a bar made from beach glass the owner's mother began collecting on Seneca Lake’s shoreline 35 years ago.