There are few things better than enjoying a few cocktails while sitting outside on a nice summer night. Seeing as Ellicottville’s weather from November through March often equals that found on Hoth (not complaining, it’s a ski town!), a day or night where you can sit outside without wearing multiple layers feels pretty great.
A few months ago, the Winery of Ellicottville began (and finished) construction on a new 2nd-story deck overlooking Monroe Street, offering visitors the chance to enjoy a glass or bottle of their favorite wine while enjoying the sunshine. The Winery, which opened in 2010, has become an Ellicottville staple, offering a variety of homegrown, New York State-inspired wines. As with many other local businesses, they simply needed more room.
“We were looking to create a little more square footage for our guests to sit down, relax and enjoy some wine,” said Beth Sheehy, part of a family ownership of the Winery. “The tasting room downstairs is great, but it’s a little small. We’ve seen lots of people come in to taste wine, but some want to stay for a bottle. We decided that offering a nice spot for them to enjoy it during the warmer months would really enhance the experience.”
The deck, which will feature couches, small tables, a large table for groups and a lounge area, is open currently. An on-hand server will take orders for both wine and the Winery’s small plate menu, which features items like olives, nuts, cheeses, charcuterie and other snack-type items.
The Winery will also be featuring its summertime wines. They’ve re-released the Berry Hard Cider, a hard cider with blueberry and raspberry wine added. Also available will be the Greuner Veltliner, an up-and-coming grape variety in this area; it is a dryer white with a little spice on the finish.
“There are a lot of really nice, summery wines that are refreshing on a hot day,” Sheehy said. “The Riesling is really nice, and we’ve got a couple of sangrias that are very popular. All of these wines are available to taste and purchase.”
The entire wine-making process is done in-house at the Winery, from pressing to bottling to labels.
“In the fall, we harvest the grapes or other fruit and bring them in, and after that, there are a couple of different ways to go about it,” she said. “We crush and press the grapes. Depending on the type of wine, we either let them wit on the skins for a while or press them right away. The dry reds are aged in barrels, and dry whites go into stainless steel tanks. The entire cycle — again, depending on the wine — can take 3-4 or 18-24 months.”
Distribution for the Winery is still local, with representation in stores from Buffalo to Jamestown. One of the coolest things they’ve done is partner with Rock Autism, a local non-profit that uses music to contribute to art and music programs serving youth and adults on the autistic spectrum.
“The Rock Autism Riesling came out last summer, when the organization had its first music festival here in Ellicottville,” Sheehy said. “A portion of the proceeds go to the organization, which is great.”
Offering wine tastings whenever they’re open, visitors can sample 5 for $6 of whichever they pick off of the menu. They also offer a taste and tour option, where they give you an inside look at the process. A chocolate pairing option, with candy from Watson’s, has become quite popular. Or join the Wine Club, which has lots of benefits — the biggest being having wine shipped right to your door.
During big festival weekends, like Jazz & Blues, The Taste of Ellicottville and Rock N’ Oldies, a band will set up in the proximity of the Winery where guests can enjoy a glass outside and listen to music. The Winery offers tastings during these weekends too, and encourages visitors to come and relax — the deck is a new, added bonus.
For more information on The Winery of Ellicottville, stop by at 14 Monroe Street or head to their website at wineryofellicottville.com. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram (@wineryofevl).