The Models

Also known as “The Winemakers.”
Or, alternatively, “Don’t Quit Your Day Job.”

Singular Sensations

Peter Becraft
Anthony Road Wine Company

Searching for a place where the water tasted like wine, Peter made his way to the Finger Lakes in 2006.  Harboring among the vines at Anthony Road, he never left. Years of apprenticing gave way to opportunity in 2014 when he took over chief expression of site responsibilities at Anthony Road Wine Company.  With a healthy respect for the region’s past, presently Peter forges the excitement of the Finger Lakes’ future.

Peter Bell
Fox Run Vineyards

Peter’s first vintage as a winemaker was in 1988. After obtaining his degree in Wine Science in Australia, he quickly found a home in the Finger Lakes, and has been winemaker at Fox Run since 1995.  He also consults and lectures around the world.

Alexandra Bond
Hector Wine Company

In early 2012 Alexandra found herself with the opportunity to join Hector Wine Company in its budding years and has since worked her way up from assistant to associate on the winemaking team. She started her journey with wine at a young age by way of work at restaurants and wine bars in and around New York City where she first discovered Finger Lakes wines. She decided to pursue her passion by moving to the region and getting her hands dirty. She worked at several wineries, vineyards, tasting rooms and cellars, getting a taste of every aspect of the industry before settling down at Hector Wine Company. Today she is in charge of the day to day winemaking and is also a managing partner in the business.

Dave Breeden
Sheldrake Point Winery

With experience developed in wineries throughout the Finger Lakes, Dave can always be found in the winery or lab, gently and patiently tending to the fermentation and aging of Sheldrake Point’s wines while caring for the tanks, barrels, and equipment. Armed with two degrees in chemistry and two in philosophy, Dave not only brings expertise in the wine lab and on the crush pad, but can also be heard waxing poetic on everything from Plato’s Cave to modern third-party politics. Dave joined the Sheldrake Point team in June 2002.

Matthew Denci
Treleaven Wines

Matthew Denci started at Treleaven in December of 2019 becoming one of the youngest head winemakers in the Finger Lakes in the process.  While he has only been there a short time, Denci looks to bring to bear his global perspective from harvests abroad and local experience from time with the likes of Red Newt and Keuka Spring Vineyards to produce wines of purity and precision at Treleaven. 

Meaghan Frank
Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery

Meaghan Frank is the fourth generation of her family to manage Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery in the Finger Lakes. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and two post-graduate degrees: one in Wine Business from the University of Adelaide, Australia and one in enology from Cornell University. Meaghan has earned her Wine and Spirit Education Trust Level 4 Diploma in Wine and Spirits and Champagne Master Level from the Wine Scholar Guild. Since joining the winery in 2013 Meaghan has added unique visitor experiences and created a premium line of wines paying tribute to the women of the Frank Family.

Julia Hoyle
Hosmer Winery

A native of Philadelphia, Julia Hoyle found her way to the Finger Lakes of New York State by studying at William Smith College, a Women’s College in Geneva, NY. The local wine industry piqued her interest as an undergrad, which led to her apprenticing at Fox Run Vineyards on Seneca Lake. After working as Assistant Winemaker at Sheldrake Point Winery, and a sabbatical harvest at Yalumba Winery in the Barossa Valley, she is now head winemaker at Hosmer Winery on Cayuga Lake. Julia lives in Geneva, and when away from the winery can be found digging in her garden or canning up her newest jam or marmalade.

Nancy Irelan
Red Tail Ridge

Nancy is winemaker and partner at Red Tail Ridge and a 2019 and 2020 James Beard Award semi-finalist. She has been a part of the wine industry for over 35 years.  Nancy’s career path includes over a decade at E&J Gallo as VP of Viticulture & Enology R&D, and a PhD in grape genetics in the UC-Davis Viticulture and Enology Department, along with various consulting gigs.

Liz Leidenfrost, Leidenfrost Vineyards

Liz Leidenfrost is a third generation grape grower and winemaker under the tutelage and in partnership with her father John Leidenfrost Jr. on their picturesque farm on the eastern side of Seneca Lake. A Hector gal to her core, Liz grew up deep in the heart of the Finger Lakes and has dedicated her life to the pursuit of small batch, handcrafted wines made with love and care as well as gorgeous, premium wine-grapes farmed in the sustainable way. In addition to her busy schedule at the winery, Liz has toured the nation as a Burlesque and Sideshow performer under the moniker “Sizzlin’ Liz”  and is known far and wide for feats of tremendous daring as well as preserving and modernizing the art of the burlesque striptease.

Dynamic Duos

Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard

Fred Merwarth

Fred Merwarth & Oskar Bynke are co-owners of Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard. Since 2007, Fred, as Head Winemaker & Vineyard Manager, and Oskar, as Estate & Business Manager have succeeded in placing Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard in particular, and the Finger Lakes region in general, on the global Riesling map. Fred studied Agricultural Business at Cornell University, and after graduating began an internship at HJW in 2001. Under the watchful eye of Hermann, he learned how to become a key decision-maker in every aspect of the winery, vineyard, and nursery and was primed to take over production operations. Oskar Bynke hails from Gothenburg, Sweden. He holds a Master of Science in Agricultural Economics and studied at Cornell University. Before joining his university friend, Fred, at Wiemer, Oskar worked in the wine business with distributors of Diageo and Moet & Hennessy in New York City.

Oskar Bynke

Red Newt Cellars

Kelby James Russell

Kelby is the head winemaker at Red Newt Cellars, where he has brought a passion for music and cooking to his wines since joining in 2012.  A native of the Finger Lakes, Kelby was convinced he would never return home after graduating from Harvard with a focus on Orchestra Management.   He now proudly calls Geneva, NY home, and the proudest moment of his career came in co-chairing the “FLXcursion” International Riesling Conference that showcased this region to the world in July 2019 (and returns June 2021!). 

Meagz Goodwin

Meagz joined the winemaking team at Red Newt Cellars in 2013.  With a background in mathematics and biology to draw upon, Meagz also brings positivity and excitement to the cellar through her passion and quirky personality.   Her winemaking skills have been cultivated through an apprenticeship under Kelby Russell at Red Newt and a sabbatical harvest at Frankland Estate, a Riesling focused winery in Western Australia.  She now lives in the grape heaven that is Lodi… the Finger Lakes one, no offense California.

Three Brothers Estates

Kim Marconi

After finishing her undergrad at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Kim abandoned the whole doctor path (who needs a surgeon’s salary anyway) and jumped ship to the far more respectable career of winemaking. She moved back to the Finger Lakes to work harvest at Swedish Hill in 2010. Kim went on to get her Master of Science focusing on Wine Microbiology at Washington State University and worked a harvest in Bordeaux. Ultimately she couldn’t resist the strong pull back to the Finger Lakes and returned to work at Sheldrake Point in 2015. After a quick detour to Australia for a vintage, she became co-winemaker at Three Brothers Estates in 2018.

Paige Vinson

After Paige’s bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy, Fine Art and Anthropology failed to afford her any kind of meaningful employment, she decided it would be prudent to invest in further education. A love of growing plants and home brewing led her to the Viticulture and Enology program at FLCC, which she completed in 2014 while working at Ravines Wine Cellar. Following this she worked a vintage in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, then back-to-back vintages in Australia and New Zealand. Love of her home region and Riesling brought Paige back to the Finger Lakes for good, where she landed at 3 Brothers Estates as co-winemaker in 2018.