Tango Oaks Vineyard, Hector NY
Tango Oaks Vineyard: A classic “Banana Belt” vineyard with a unique twist. Planted on the steep slopes of southeast Seneca Lake, Tango Oaks is in the heart of the growing region colloquially known as the “Banana Belt” for its increased exposure to afternoon and evening sun. Within the Finger Lakes the site is distinct for two reasons. The first is that it was planted to Alsatian Clone Riesling (Clone 49) from the start, the only Alsatian clone Riesling we know of in the region. The second factor is that the vines are planted in what amounts to pure gravel, at times nearly twenty feet deep, before the underlying shale. Why so much gravel? The answer is with a 1935 flood that dropped eighteen inches of rain in twenty four hours. This photo from a few miles to the Northeast of Hector illustrates the power of this storm!
Tango Oaks was a low lying part of the slope along Sawmill Creek prior to that and served as the wash out point for debris. As we continue to learn about this vineyard and how to best express it in the cellar, what we are discovering is that a combination of the clone selection and the gravel make for a distinctly later ripening window. In comparison to “The Knoll” across the lake, which ripens at a normal rate but can hang beautifully, Tango Oaks fruit starts to ripen much later in the season after the expected initial flood of September rains.
Take a virtual visit to Tango Oaks Vineyard as we were harvesting our first crop in 2009!