Wine connoisseurs gathered to revel and celebrate the 50th year of Frank Wine Cellars. In an article, it is said that wine lovers remembered how the cellar’s establishment revolutionized the wine industry. They had fun traveling down memory lane and of course – sampling fine tasting wines.
“Wine lovers mark 50th anniversary of Frank Wine Cellars”
Wineries’ founder Konstantin Frank called ‘vine from Ukraine’ planted in the Finger Lakes to help start modern wine industry
“PULTENEY — Several hundred people shared memories during the 50th anniversary celebration at Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars on Sunday.
The winery, founded in 1962 by Ukrainian immigrant Konstantin Frank, released a special anniversary wine, a 2011 Riesling Reserve.
For some of the 300 people in attendance, the event brought back memories of the Frank family. For others, it was their own memories of special occasions accompanied by Dr. Frank wine.
Earl and Marilyn Whittaker of Corning celebrated their own 50th anniversary with a family reunion weekend that included Sunday’s event at Dr. Frank’s. It drew relatives from as far as Albuquerque, N.M.
“When friends come from out of town we show them around here,” said daughter Judy Cornfield of Corning.
“You’re supporting agriculture and tourism in one fell swoop,” said David Falchek of Scranton, Pa. He proposed to his fiancée, Rosemary Gownley, also of Scranton, in a cellar at Chateau Frank, the sparkling wine component of Dr. Frank’s. The two were on their way to the American Wine Society national conference in Rochester in November.
Winery President Fred Frank helped set the scene, and he and daughter Meaghan helped the couple celebrate with the Chateau Frank Brut afterward.
“We’ve always liked it, we always felt close,” Falchek said, but now the winery is even more special to them.
American Wine Society President Jane Duralia praised the winery’s founder, Konstantin Frank, for founding the group. “I think what he did has opened the door for … people to learn about wine,” said Duralia, of Granite Falls, N.C. For example, before learning about Finger Lakes wines, she said, “I thought Riesling came from Germany and was sweet.”
Other attendees’ memories go back decades.
Hans Appelt of Elmira, who was tastng several vintages of wines with his wife, Barbara, and friends, can remember a presentation Frank gave at Corning Community College in 1971. He now sells “quite a bit” of Dr. Frank wines at Charlie’s Cafe. “People really enjoy the quality of the wines,” he said.
“I came here when I was 20 and I knocked on his (Frank’s) door and said, ‘I want to learn about wine,’” recalled Kevin Zraly of New Paltz, author of six books about wine. He grafted vines and bottled and tasted wines with Frank in the late 1960s, and would take cases of his wine to the DePuy Canal House restaurant in Ulster County. “I was a believer in the wines in the early days.”
At that time, he said, “Wine was not part of the American culture,” and most American wines weren’t very good. “When the quality started going up through people like Robert Mondavi on the West Coast and Dr. Frank on the East Coast, it really made a difference.”
Ted Markham of Bath was a grape specialist for Cornell Cooperative Extension in Steuben County when Frank founded the winery. “He taught me how to drink wine,” Markham said.
Markham “really went to bat for Dr. Frank” with Cornell scientists who didn’t believe it was possible for vinifera grapes to be grown commercially in the cold Finger Lakes, said his daughter Leigh of Baltimore.
After Markham retired in 1976, he often drove Frank to tastings and competitions. Even now, said son Brian Markham of Honeoye Falls, “There’s not a holiday without a Dr. Frank wine,” in particular a Riesling.
The anniversary celebration included tours of vineyards and Chateau Frank, the showing of a documentary about Dr. Frank and German food by Rheinblick German Restaurant of Canandaigua.
Several officials also spoke.
“We are just so removed from agriculture,” Patrick Hooker, director of agribusiness development at Empire State Development, told the crowd. “This business of wine has drawn us closer as a society.”
Hooker read a congratulatory letter from Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The Rev. James Jaeger, pastor of St. Gabriel Church in Hammondsport and St. Mary in Bath, blessed the vineyards, workers and those present, likening Dr. Frank to a vine taken from Ukraine and “planted here in the Finger Lakes.”
Congratulations or resolutions were presented by U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, whose brother Walter worked at Dr. Frank’s; state Sen. Thomas O’Mara, R-Big Flats, and Assemblyman Philip Palmesano, R-Corning; and Pulteney Town Supervisor Jane Russell and Town Board member Nancy Cole.”
This article was derived from Stargazette.com.
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