French expat Patrice DeMay relies on a 400-year-old formula passed down from his Loire Valley ancestors to produce sparkling wine at Chateau Renaissance in Hammondsport, Steuben County. The winery also turns out still wines made from grapes, berries and tree fruits.
Floral wallpaper and a hutch holding bottles of Riesling, Cabernet Franc and elderberry wine give the tasting room a homey feel. So do the Basset hounds sacked out in the winery’s office.
DeMay once had a crack at Olympic glory. But he found the prospect of becoming a winemaker more alluring.
Chosen by France to compete in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, DeMay passed up a spot on the judo team to move to the United States. While his father worked at Gold Seal Vineyards in Hammondsport, Steuben County, DeMay flirted with operating his own winery. After a detour to the construction industry, he launched Chateau Renaissance in a Tudor-style building a few miles from the center of Hammondsport.
Tasting room hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. The winery closes at 4 p.m. on Sundays in the winter. Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays from January through March. Reservations required for groups of 20 or more.
Accessibility: Not fully accessible.
Tasting fee: None.
Amenities: Selling still and sparkling wines made from fruit and grapes. The lineup is available at Union Square Market in New York City on Wednesdays.
Patrice DeMay, owner of Keuka Lake-based Chateau Renaissance Wine Cellars, makes sparkling and still wines from grapes and fruit.