Watertown Winemaking: Dry Finish

Here in northern New York State there is a special place like no other. To the west of this place there is Lake Ontario with breathtaking sunsets and the newly formed Seaway Wine Trail. To the north there is the St. Lawrence River and the scenic 1000 Islands Region. To the east there are the majestic Adirondack Mountains with all that they have to offer. And nestled in the center, less than hour from all of these wonderful places, is the city of Watertown, which is the home to
the Black River Cellar Dwellers winemaking club.
The Black River Cellar Dwellers club started meeting up to talk about wine and winemaking in 2008 when Peter Hludzenski and his son Andrew opened a much needed homebrew and winemaking supply shop on Court Street in downtown Watertown. The store was named “The Winemaker” and it was an instant success. The Winemaker store offers beer and wine kits plus you can also purchase pails of fresh and frozen winegrape must from California and Chile. Recognizing the importance of creating a pool of information, Peter formed a complementary winemaking club and the Black River Cellar Dwellers was born.
The Cellar Dwellers club has a unique membership of people from all walks of life and different levels of winemaking. Because of this diversity, the quality of the wine we make has greatly improved. Some of our members have won multiple winemaking awards and many lifelong friendships have been formed. Another neat feature of our club is that we also have a partnership with the Northern New York Grape Growers Association (NNYGGA), which is a group of New York State grape growers who are dedicated to expanding and improving the local grape growing community of Northern New York State. The NNYGGA has cataloged a lot of great information about growing cold-hardy grapes, as well as maintaining a useful website at www.nnygrapegrowers.org. They have a lot of great information under the “Resource Guide” tab, including grape fact sheets and links to various university research topics and grape growing associations with lists of instructional videos, cold-hardy grape experts to contact and materials to read. Having members of the NNYGGA in our club has allowed some of our members to successfully grow their own cold hardy grapes — such as Frontenac, Frontenac Gris, La Crescent and Marquette — in a location that is known for harsh weather conditions.
The Black River Cellar Dwellers are definitely not an exclusive club and anyone is welcome to come join us for a meeting. We really enjoy meeting winemakers from all over northern New York. Also, since we are so close, we welcome our Canadian neighbors to come join us as well. We hold our meetings the second Monday of each month at The Winemaker store, except for our summer picnics. The meetings start at 7 pm and usually last a couple of hours. It my hope that winemakers from all over northern New York will come visit us. We are some of the most easygoing and fun people you will ever meet and we would love to have you stop by. Until then you can visit our Facebook page under the name, “The Cellar Dwellers.” Like us and leave a note.
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