Silver Thread Vineyard was established in 1982 on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake, at the heart of New York’s Finger Lakes region. At this location the bottom of the lake drops almost 200 feet below sea level, a dramatic mass of water that creates a distinct microclimate on the leeward (eastern) hillside — cooling breezes in summer, radiating warmth through the winter, and extending the length of the growing season. On this hillside 250 years ago the Haudenosaunee (a.k.a. Iroquois) people tended huge peach orchards, a testament to this temperate ‘island’ within a cool region.
The winery is named for a local waterfall, Silver Thread Falls, known as one of the loveliest in the Finger Lakes (pictured at right). Like our winery, its tucked away in a private spot and only discovered by those intrepid enough to seek it out.
The turtle image on our label was carved in a rock beside one of New York’s woodland creeks by a Native American artist many centuries ago. As an earth symbol to the Haudenosaunee people, the turtle reminds us to care for the land and water that give us the gift of wine.
Silver Thread’s original 6-acre vineyard and ecologically-designed wine cellar were established by organics enthusiast and author Richard Figiel. Since the late 1980’s, the vineyard has followed the principles of sustainable farming, and it even held an organic certification from 1992-1997. We use mulch, compost and cover crops instead of chemical fertilizers and herbicides to provide our vines with a healthy, living soil. This strengthens the link between the wine and its terroir, the special character of its site.
Our energy-efficient tasting room and wine cellar building, built in 1995, is set into the hillside for natural temperature control and to take advantage of gravity flow in the winemaking process. Water is also gravity fed to the winery from a spring next to the vineyard. The winery building is a contemporary take on Greek Revival, the architectural style of many of the early farm houses in the Finger Lakes.
Since the winery’s first release in 1991, Silver Thread earned critical acclaim for its wines. Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir were lauded in Wine Advocate, The New York Times, and The World Atlas of Wine during the 1990s, when Finger Lakes wines were virtually unknown outside the region.
A New Chapter
Heralded winemaker Paul Brock and wine educator Shannon Brock assumed ownership of Silver Thread Vineyard in 2011. Paul Brock crafted a portfolio of intense and high-quality wines that were immediately well-received by Finger Lakes wine aficionados. General Manager Shannon Brock, who has been a leader in the hospitality industry in the Finger Lakes for over a decade, has put her expertise to work to create outstanding tasting room and wine club experiences.
Silver Thread is staying true to its roots despite new ownership. It remains a boutique winery focused on sustainability and premium estate wines. The vineyard was expanded to 8 acres in 2014 and 2015. In 2014, Silver Thread was recognized for its farming practices that help to protect the water quality of Seneca Lake by New York State’s Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) program. Since late 2015, the winery generates 100% of its energy needs for tasting room, winery and warehouse from a 28kw solar system located on-site. Natural cork, a renewable resource, and lightweight glass bottles are used to reduce the environmental impact of its packaging.
Production is currently 3,000 cases per year. Wines are available for sale at the tasting room, through the wine club, via mail order, and in select stores and restaurants throughout New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Massachusetts.
Silver Thread’s vineyard, wine cellar and tasting room are located ¾ mile off Route 414 (the wine trail) in a quiet and naturally beautiful environment overlooking Seneca Lake. Well-educated and relatively serious wine buyers who care about local and sustainable products will enjoy discovering our off-the-beaten-path location and expressive wines that reflect the terroir of the Finger Lakes.
We have a small but highly dedicated team that makes Silver Thread wine possible. Learn more about them here:
Ambitious Owner-Winemaker: Paul Brock
Diligent Owner-Manager: Shannon Brock
Indispensible Vineyard & Winery Assistant: Andrea Hawk
Tasting Room Server Extraordinaire: Janice Brunner
Marketing and Sustainability Guru: Peter FitzRandolph