In 1974, the Lucas family left the Bronx to become grape growers in Interlaken, Seneca County. Watching a big winery dump their hand-picked fruit into hoppers with other growers’ crops soon prompted them to plunge into winemaking.
But nobody said it would be smooth sailing.
With three children to raise, Ruth Lucas persevered through backbreaking vineyard work, the grape glut of the 1970s and blazing a trail as the founder of Cayuga Lake’s first winery.
With the storm clouds now far behind them, Lucas produces vinifera and hybrid grape-based wines, including Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Syrah and Baco Noir. Value-priced options at the winery feature a marine
theme, from the popular Tug Boat Red to the Nautie series that boasts campy, pinup-like portraits of Lucas family members on the labels.
Tasting room hours: 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 12 to
5 p.m. Sunday, from November through February. 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Monday through Saturday, 12 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, from March through
October. Reservations required for groups of 15 or more.
Accessibility: Restrooms are not wheelchair-accessible.
Tasting fee: $1 for five samples from the guided tasting list, plus two
more of the customer’s choice. The tasting fee is waived for Captain
Table’s wine club members and their guests. $1 to taste the dessert
Amenities: German festival held in September, featuring alphorn, polka
and best German potato salad contests.
Courtesty of Lucas Vineyards
Miss Chevious ($8.99), a dry white "Nautie" blend, was named for founder Ruth Lucas.