New York State wine pioneer sells estate

Hermann J Wiemer, the producer who symbolised the rise to prominence of New York State Riesling, has sold his estate to his winemaker.

The Mosel-born Wiemer, 65, turned the property on Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes district over to 29 year-old Frederick T Merwarth.

In acquiring the Hermann J Wiemer Vineyard, Merwarth obtained a 15,000-case boutique operation with 26ha under vine. The purchase price was not disclosed.

Merwarth will manage the business on a day-to-day basis, with Wiemer taking an advisory role.

Wiemer helped establish a standard of quality for New York state Riesling by applying the experience brought from his Mosel wine-producing family.

‘They made fun of me for planting Riesling,’ said Wiemer, who started his winery in 1979.

Merwarth, who began making wine in 2002 and is a Master of Wine student, said he intended to preserve the property’s name and, at least at the outset, its established wines.

Written by Howard G Goldberg in New York