Transparent, Classical Winemaking

Trained in France, Pioneer of the Finger Lakes New Wine Identity

Ravines Winemaking Tank room and barrels

Winemaker Morten Hallgren has 32 years of experience, the last 20 in the Finger Lakes, developing and refining a style of wine that’s true to his values, education and this unique sense of place.

We make cool-climate wines using the same principles as the great regions of Burgundy, Bordeaux and Champagne. Morten and our team embraces mother nature’s variability, producing expressive wines of balance and distinction, vintage after vintage.

Ravines Sustainability Statement:

Sustainability has continually increased in importance and makes us long for a certified program! About 12 years ago, Cornell University and its co-op extension launched a program called “Vine Balance” in cooperation with local vineyards. They set out to define the best local sustainable practices for the Finger Lakes and created “a handbook” outlining these practices. After the recession of 2008–2010, the program was unfortunately “shelved” due to lack of funding*. We therefore don’t have a certified program, but we do have an outline for best practices. Since 2012, when we took over the White Springs vineyard in Geneva, and especially since 2018, when our vineyard manager retired and new vineyard managers were hired for both the White Springs vineyard and the 16 Falls vineyard, we have made substantial changes in our vineyard operations. I will categorize our practices as sustainable practices, and these include:

• no use of herbicides,
• no use of insecticides or other restricted materials,
• improved soil management with erosion control (cover crops), and
• limited use of organic nutrients only; putting back only what the vines remove.

Our vineyard practices remain non-dogmatic, reflecting the fact that we work in a wine region with humid summers and substantial disease pressure. We consider our primary responsibility to be the production of sound grapes that reflect their vineyard origins while maintaining good land stewardship practices, meaning no long-term accumulation of compounds in our soil or water. To me, that’s the “sustainable” part. Our practices of leaf removal and cluster thinning lowers the disease pressure, but we will still, occasionally, need to use a pesticide that prevents us from making “organic” claims.

*Update in 2022: Ravines is one of the 2022 Pilot members of Cornell’s re-established Sustainable Winegrowing Certification Program for New York State! We are thrilled that NY State has re-instituted, with new standards the “Vinebalance 2022” program.