Vineyard Spotlight: Pleasant Valley Winery

by Sam Kimball
There are over 100 wineries in the Finger Lakes in upstate New York, and the oldest one is Pleasant Valley Winery.

The Finger Lakes region of New York has become a nationwide front-runner for wine production throughout the United States.

Founded in 1860, the Pleasant Valley Winery, also known as the Great Western Winery, began the sparkling wine industry here in America.

The winery won an honorable mention at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1867 and first place in Vienna for their champagne, making a name for it as the Great Champagne of the Western World.

The Finger Lakes region of New York has become a nationwide front-runner for wine production throughout the United States. There are over 100 wineries in the small region in upstate New York, and the oldest one is Pleasant Valley Winery.

Founded in 1860, the Pleasant Valley Winery, also known as the Great Western Winery, began the sparkling wine industry here in America, even winning an honorable mention at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1867. A few short years later, the winery won first place in Vienna for their champagne, making a name for it as the Great Champagne of the Western World.”

Prohibition hit in 1919 but that didn’t slow down Pleasant Valley. They began making sacramental and medicinal wines to get them through those tough 14 years, and once the repeal happened in 1933, began steadily increasing their business.

In 1961, Taylor Wine Company purchased Pleasant Valley and then got acquired by Coca-Cola, and then shortly after got passed on to Seagrams. By 1995, the winery returned back to local family control in which it has stayed since.


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Many of the buildings on the winery’s land are registered as national historic landmarks and can be toured on any winery visit. Today they are still the largest producer of bottle-fermented sparkling wines in the entire country, and the Great Western Champagne is still one of the most-honored American champagnes at European competitions of the last century.

You can visit all year round and can tour their historic buildings and see the production facilities at any time. Make sure to check out their many brands, beyond just the Great Western Champagne, and enjoy the history of the Finger Lakes’ oldest winery.  



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