A Conversation with Co-owner & Head Winemaker Fred Merwarth

If you have ever seen or met Fred Merwarth, then you know that his legs are long and he can be difficult to catch! We were able to sit down with him briefly and catch up on a few questions about Standing Stone Vineyards and the exciting projects ahead!


What drew you to the Standing Stone property? What makes the site special?

“We have observed the Standing Stone site for a number of decades and it has always stood apart as an extremely protected location. The varieties planted, their ability to ripen, and the age of the vines prove that this site is special. We have tasted the wines from Standing Stone over the years and thought that if this vineyard were to ever become available, outside of our own property, that this would be the site that we would be most interested in working with.

From the first time that I stepped foot on the property I knew that it was somewhere that I wanted to spend more time. It is important to us that we enhance the experience and interaction that visitors have with the site so that they are able to enjoy its beauty!”

What are you working on at Standing Stone as we speak?

“We are working on propagating some of the old materials from the 70’s and 80’s planted at Standing Stone. We are sampling plants & virus indexing in order to use for replants for the site and for use in our vine nursery. In particular, there are 5 different sources of Gewürztraminer that are intriguing and we are studying them to see what ripens and when, and what has better flavors. Of course we are constantly walking the vineyards and getting to know them as best as we can!”

What’s the short-term plan?  What are you excited about?

“We have released the first wines from the 2017 vintage and will continue to release bottlings from that vintage, including a red blend, Saperavi, and a few reserve selections. So stay tuned for those and I hope you enjoy!

We are looking forward to working with the original planting of Chardonnay and seeing what it should become. Should we pick for Sparkling, as it was originally planted for, or is there another style of Chardonnay that would be the most expressive.

And of course we are also excited about continuing Tom and Marti’s exploration of the varietal Saperavi. We will continue efforts working with that grape and figuring out what a Finger Lakes presentation of Saperavi should be.

It is also exciting and new for us to be working on a pretty steep hillside. Most notably one that presents so many different variables including steepness of grade, varieties planted, soil type and terrain. We look forward to learning and exploring about how these variables contribute to the subtleties of the site.”