Something Old, Something New
As wineries grow in popularity as an appealing outdoor wedding venue, one Finger Lakes winery is setting the bar high. Heron Hill Winery in Hammondsport hosted its fortieth anniversary party on September 1, with owners, staff, friends, family, and local patrons gathered on the grounds to mark the occasion (not to mention the release of their Old Vines Riesling). “It was a wonderful party to come together and celebrate what we love most about Heron Hill,” says Nicolette Deangelis, the winery’s wedding and events coordinator. “There was dancing, fun—a pure celebration of success.”
Heron Hill has much success to celebrate, so it’s not a surprise that brides and grooms from near and far choose it as their wedding location. The winery opened in 1977, just five years after owners John and Josephine Ingle first planted grapevines at a spot now known as Ingle Vineyard. Travel and Leisure Magazine chose Heron Hill as one of the ten most spectacular tasting rooms in the world. Offering a variety of Rieslings, Chardonnays, Vinifera Reds, as well as the popular Eclipse Series, Heron Hill wines have also won many awards including Top 100 Values by Wine and Spirits Magazine and Best US Riesling at the World Value Wine Challenge. The winery is also known for its dedication to sustainable farming practices (the vineyard does not see the use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, or insecticides, in order to prevent erosion and chemical runoff into the lakes and groundwater). These honors, combined with a stunning landscape, are just a few reasons why Heron Hill Winery has become such a popular venue for outdoor weddings on Keuka Lake.
In 2000, Heron Hill Winery hosted its first wedding in an outdoor tent. Seventeen years later, Heron Hill is featured in such wedding resources as The Knot and Wedding Wire, and is a premier venue for wine-country weddings in the Finger Lakes. It hosts between fifteen and twenty weddings annually and continues to grow in nuptial-site popularity. What’s the draw? Heron Hill Winery wedding ceremonies take place on the lawn overlooking Keuka Lake, with an exchange of vows under an elegant cedar arbor; or the ceremonies take place in the vineyard. Couples may also rent Heron Hill’s Genesis Event Tent so the reception can be conveniently near the ceremony site. The 170-person capacity tent rental includes a dance floor and bar access. If a party has fifty guests or fewer, the bride and groom have the option of holding their reception in the Tasting Hall. A Heron Hill Winery wedding also includes the services of a professional event planner, complete access to the winery’s Tasting Hall, and Heron Hill Winery selections to complement a specially chosen dinner menu. Nicolette explains that one of Heron Hill’s biggest appeals as a wedding venue is the scenery. “It’s a very open feel,” she says, describing the vineyard and barrels and their rustic charm. “You bring your own taste to the tent, but you have the spectacular view.”
So how do potential husbands and wives know how to proceed with planning a wedding at Heron Hill? Nicolette is an important contact; couples who have worked with her in the past have described her as “extremely attentive and responsive” and detail-oriented. She is certainly one important element of a seamless ceremony and reception at the winery. Brides may be especially interested in attending the winery’s annual wedding show—the facility recently celebrated its seventh annual such event, which featured local wedding-related exhibitors such as caterers, bakeries, rental centers, DJs, photographers, and more.
“Local vendors come out for all wedding needs,” says Nicolette. “They set up tables, meet and greet with people, and talk about their services.”
It’s always a fun day. Upon arrival, guests are offered a complimentary glass of wine as well as a goody bag. Vendors bring raffle prizes, and items are given away throughout the day. Brides can browse, enjoy cake samples, view photography portfolios, and get a head start at planning their special day.
“It’s a great way to have everything in one spot instead of people going in different directions,” says Nicolette. The Wedding Show also showcases the many unique and special features of having a Heron Hill Winery wedding, especially the view from the lawn. Brides can register for the August wedding show on Heron Hill’s Web site (www.heronhill.com) prior to the event each year, and you can always call the winery at (607) 868-4241 for more information.