After more than 35 years of growing grapes in the Finger Lakes, no one would blame Ann and John Martini if they decided to take it easy.
Yet the owners of Anthony Road Wine Co. in Penn Yan, Yates County, show little interest in slowing down.
The Martinis got their start as farmers in the 1970s, when they bought roughly 100 acres overlooking Seneca Lake. While John worked at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in nearby Geneva, Ann tended the vines and their four kids.
By 1989, the couple shifted from growing grapes for others to keeping some of the fruit for themselves. The winery opened a year later, with a hodgepodge of production equipment, on a shoestring budget.
Today, Anthony Road produces 18,000 cases annually under the direction of winemaker Johannes Reinhardt, a native of Germany who interned at Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars on Keuka Lake before joining Anthony Road in 2000.
Ann Martini says Reinhardt meshed well with the family from the start.
“I always say I have five kids,” Ann says.
The collaboration between the owners and the winemaker has led to the development of the Martini-Reinhardt Selection Series, a line of reserve wines made from bunches of hand-selected grapes grown in particularly robust pockets of Anthony Road’s vineyards.
Pinpointing the best fruit for the Series requires Reinhardt to work closely with vineyard manager Peter Martini, Ann and John’s son.
The Series, referred to as M-RS at the winery, currently has three featured products: the 2005 Pinot Gris ($21.99), the 2005 Pinot Noir ($34.99) and the 2005 Cabernet Franc ($29.99). Roughly 100 cases were produced of each.
The winery’s main product line has also seen recent additions, including the 2006 Cabernet Franc-Lemberger blend ($17.99).
“It’s still really young in the bottle, but it has nice aging potential,” Ann says.
In April, the winery will debut a late-harvest Vignoles, Ann says. Instead of hand-selecting bunches of fruit for the wine, the production staff picked individual grapes – or “berries,” in winemaking parlance – from vineyards the Martinis planted in the 1970s. The product will cost somewhere between $40 and $50.
Efforts to extend the winery’s reach are going strong. John Martini continues to make weekly trips to the Union Square Greenmarket in Manhattan, where he sells the winery’s full product line. And Ann says the winery is working with its distributor to get shelf space at liquor stores in three other states that she wouldn’t name.
“My husband and I are like the ambassadors for Anthony Road,” she says. “We’re always planning to go to different areas, which keeps us very busy.”
Anthony Road Wine Co., 1020 Anthony Road in Penn Yan, Yates County, is just off Route 14, 10 miles south of Geneva on Seneca Lake's west side. It is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday year-round. Reservations are required for groups of 15 or more. Phone: (800) 559-2182. Web: www.anthonyroadwine.com. Wheelchair-accessible.
After more than 35 years of growing grapes in the Finger Lakes, Ann and John Martini, owners of Anthony Road Wine Co. in Penn Yan, Yates County, show little interest in slowing down.