DoNorth

For the Love of Wine

It all started with a simple wine kit Dan Vesco received as a gift from his sister-in-law in 2004. After experimenting in their basement for five  years, Dan and his wife, Nancy, decided to go pro and opened Vesco Ridge Vineyards in 2010. A stop in West Chazy along the popular 33-mile Adirondack Coast Wine Trail, Vesco Ridge Vineyards is known for its welcoming owners, its rustic and contemporary mood and quality of its wines. Floral and citrus aromas meet visitors at the entrance of the winery. A large wooden rack stocked with bottles fills one wall. Other walls have…

It all started with a simple wine kit Dan Vesco received as a gift from his sister-in-law in 2004. After experimenting in their basement for five  years, Dan and his wife, Nancy, decided to go pro and opened Vesco Ridge Vineyards in 2010.

A stop in West Chazy along the popular 33-mile Adirondack Coast Wine Trail, Vesco Ridge Vineyards is known for its welcoming owners, its rustic and contemporary mood and quality of its wines.

Floral and citrus aromas meet visitors at the entrance of the winery. A large wooden rack stocked with bottles fills one wall. Other walls have built-in shelves stocked with wines and other products like the couple’s wine jelly, dips and sauces.The Vescos created an inviting space perfect for a casual night or an intimate party. Beyond the wooden bar sits a small den furnished with tables and a piano. Long horizontal windows overlook the vineyard.

Dan and Nancy run their business as an equal partnership. Dan tends the grapes and makes the wine, while Nancy hosts. During the warmer months, Nancy plans weekly nights of wine-themed trivia and yoga — one of the big hits is a massage and wine night called “A Riesling to Relax.” She also brings in weekly entertainment by local artists and bands like Bruce and Bill, Giovanina Bucci and more to perform almost every Saturday.

Dan teaches the wine-making process during vineyard tours.

“Every wine that he makes is different, and he switches it up all the time adding his own kick,” Nancy says. “Dan grows the grapes and sometimes travels all the way to Long Island for juice and grapes because of the high demand.”

Vesco Ridge Vineyards has 500 vines made up of seven varietals, each with its own taste: Saint-Croix, Frontenac, Leon Millot, St. Pepin, Le Creuset, Marquette and Savoie. These grapes, on their own or mixed, allow Dan to create a variety of white wines, red wines and sweet wines.

“Making wine is like art,” Dan says. “There are so many different possibilities you can make out of a grape.”

It all starts with grapes picked in the fall. After being washed, they get destemmed and crushed by a machine. Dan tests the pH, sugar content and other attributes to ensure the quality of the product. Depending on the wine, different amounts of yeast, sugar and juice are combined and fermented.

Red wine grapes ferment with the skins on for seven to ten days before Dan tinkers with specific flavors. For white wines, only the grape juice is left to ferment which takes about three weeks. Once the wines get moved to a second tank, Dan tunes the flavor. Some batches get steeped with oak staves for a taste refinement. Once done, the wine is left to mature to perfection. Some age for years.

Like its wines, Vesco Ridge Vineyards evolves every year. Dan and Nancy added a tasting room last year and hope to keep expanding in the future.

Over the last 10 years, the Vescos love for each other and their passion for wine have grown as intertwined as the vines of their Savoie.

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