McGregor Vineyard and Winery in Dundee, Yates County, turns out many products, but none has reached cult status like Black Russian, a dry red wine made from estate-grown Saperavi and Sereksiya Charni grapes.
The rare blend, known for its elderberry, blackberry and cassis notes, has spawned a daylong festival, as well as future sales, allowing consumers to purchase the indigo-hued wine before its release.
Black Russian Red's foundation was laid when winery founder Bob McGregor ignored naysayers and began planting European grapevines near Keuka Lake in 1971. By 1980 the elder McGregor was tending to several varietals, including fledgling Saperavi and Sereksiya Charni vines.
“My father really took the approach of the French that blending always seems to enhance the complexity of the (Black Russian) wine,” says current co-owner John McGregor explains, adding that the winery spent six years experimenting with the blend before debuting the first vintage in 1991. “It’s really unique and very special.”
The Keuka Lake winery’s unusual grapes also accommodate white and rose drinkers: Options range from semi-dry Muscat Ottonel to a semi-dry blend of Sereksiya rose and Rkatsiteli.
Also among the winery's attractions are events featuring the cooking of Stacey McGregor, John’s wife and the winery's co-owner.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, May through October. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, November through April. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays in July and August. Reservations required for groups of 11 or more.
Accessibility: Partially wheelchair accessible.
Tasting fee: $5 for five samples and the wineglass. The fee is waived when making a $30 purchase in the gift shop.
Amenities: Unusual vinifera grape varieties grown include Sereksiya Charni, Saperavi, Rkatsiteli and Sereksiya rose. Annual events include Robert Burns Day celebration, Blues and Blueberries and the Black Russian Bash. Picnic area. Enclosed tasting area overlooking Keuka Lake.
Provided by McGregor Vineyard