New York Wine & GrapeNews
Lakewood Vineyards Recognized at Historic Agricultural Forum
Category: Press Release
Lakewood Vineyards Recognized at Historic Agricultural Forum
Each January agricultural industry leaders gather in Syracuse, NY at the NYS Agricultural Society Annual Meeting & Forum to discuss issues and recognize peers for outstanding achievement. This historic event, now in its 188th year, draws a wide-range of producers, suppliers, regula-tors, educators and promoters. The coveted Business of the Year honor was awarded to two operations in 2020, including Lakewood Vineyards of Watkins Glen, NY and King Brothers Dairy of Schuylerville. Spon-sored by the Northeast Agribusiness & Feed Alliance and Gold Star Feed and Grain, LLC, the award recog-nizes both a producer and an agribusiness for the quality, leadership and innovation they demonstrate that enhances the integrity of the agricultural industry.
Lakewood Vineyards has a 70-history in the Finger Lakes wine country. Frank and Lucy Stamp, together with their son Monty, purchased the run-down peach and apple orchard in 1951. With its fields of east-facing vines gradually leading down to the shores of Seneca Lake, this is ideal country for producing sparkling wines, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc. Today three generations of family still tend to their 80-acre vineyard and produce some of the best vintages NYS has to offer. At the start, the Stamps grew grapes favored by Welch’s Grape Juice Company and large wineries in the region. In the mid-1980s, however, small commercial grape growers were at economic cross-roads. One of the first in the area to jump into retail, the family began replanting their fields with boutique varietals including Riesling and Chardonnay with the vision of producing wines under their own label. In 1988, Lakewood Vineyards pressed their first crop. A year later, the winery was launched offering seven varieties from estate-grown grapes. Production has since grown to 100,000 gallons.
Upon its founding, Monty made certain Lakewood Vineyards was involved in Wine America, the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, and the Seneca Lake Wine Trail. His spirit of cooperation and participation in these industry organizations is still the hallmark of this family owned business and a legacy taken seriously by the fourth generation of owner/operators.
Working first alongside his father Monty, vineyard manager Dave Stamp has gradually expanded acreage and varieties grown as the winery’s need for grapes has swelled. Lakewood Farm produces 15 grape varie-ties, including Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir. The vineyard crew practices careful management of the vines and land, with a focus on sustainable practices, including composting, mulching and use of cover crops.
Brother Chris Stamp is the head winemaker. He is now supported by a staff including his two grown children Ben and Abby. They use traditional practices as well as new technology to make consistently exceptional wines.
Finding ways to be creative and innovative in the burgeoning NYS wine industry is an ongoing challenge. The Stamps have continued to modify their tasting room, which attracted nearly 60,000 visitors in 2018. On the production side, they have worked with Cornell University testing experimental processes both within the vineyard and cellar. With the rise in interest of sparkling wines like Prosecco, the Stamps are bottling a car-bonated Cayuga White. They are also experimenting with alternative packaging, such as canned wines.
Building a vibrant business that future generations of family will want to be a part of is a top priority for the Stamps. That means continuing to invest and expand their wine production facility. Working side by side with the third and fourth generations, Monty’s wife Beverly is still active in the business, which operates 361 days a year.
Named for farmer, NYS Ag Society member and NYS Assemblyman Harold “Cap” Creal, the “Cap” Creal Journalism Awards were created to inspire positive coverage of NYS agriculture. At the 2020 Annual Meeting & Forum of the NYS Agricultural Society January 9th in Syracuse, journalists in six categories were honored including David Sit of the Ithaca Times. Sit won “printed feature story” honors for his article: "Will Our Reislings Survive?”
King Brothers Dairy is Agribusiness Category Winner
The King family of Schuylerville has a century-long dairy history in Eastern NY. Until the 1960s, they were al-so in the creamery business in addition to managing their own herd. For King brothers Jan and Jeff King, bringing their farm fresh milk back to their community is not only connecting with their grandparents, but real-izing a life-long dream.
From a business perspective, processing value-added products from their 1000-cow dairy is a unique oppor-tunity to grow their farming operation outside of marketing milk through their cooperative. Although processing a small percentage of their total production through their creamery, they have returned to the bottled milk home delivery business of previous generations. Customers can receive farm fresh milk, eggs, meat, and more delivered weekly to their front door. The Kings are also producing 34 ice cream flavors that are available at their new 3,000 square foot retail store constructed on the front-end of their home dairy complex. All to-gether, the business is operated by 40 employees.
“We really consider ourselves a start-up in the processing business,” said Jan. “Volume sold is critical for re-tail clout. Part of the evolution of what we’re doing is finding products with more margin.”
A fixture in the greater Saratoga region, the Kings have a great product story to communicate to locals and tourists at area groceries in the Hudson Valley and their own retail location. Building on their family farm histo-ry, complete control of the production process, and being NY Grown & Certified approved, the Kings have worked hard to build a brand that millennials will enjoy. Logo, packaging and store design have been carefully designed to reflect key attributes they think their customers are looking for. “This has been a really cool expe-rience,” said Jeff King. “It has helped us create a consistent look right through to our store. We want to be trustworthy, straight-talking, and maybe even a little bit edgy.”
At the 2019 NYS Fair, King Brothers Dairy received the “Dairying for Tomorrow” Award from the American Dairy Association North East for their community outreach. The Kings host tours, field trips and other farm-based events and have over 11,000 followers on social media.
Established in 1832, the mission of the NYS Agricultural Society is to foster, promote, and improve the NYS food and agricultural industry through education, leadership development and recognition programs. Arguably one of the oldest organizations of its kind in the US, the Agricultural Society has played a vital role in the de-velopment of the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, Cornell University’s College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, the NYS Agricultural Experiment Station, the NYS Fair, and the Empire State Food and Agri-cultural Leadership Institute (LEADNY). In 2011, the NYS Agricultural Society Foundation was formed.
For more information:
Ann Shephard, 315-727-5449