Our Story


2017 – The story continues…
but these are our roots!

Our Story, Our Name, Our Label

Our story began in 2006 with Nancy’s vision — an idea to fill a storefront in the lakeside village of Aurora on the East Side of Cayuga Lake. The initial plan was to make enough wine to “qualify” as a winery enabling us to sell food and wine on the same shelves. What has happened since then has been amazing!

Nancy and Kit welcome you to our place!

Owner/Winemaker Nancy Tisch General Mgr. Kit Kalfs

I couldn’t have done any of this without the graciousness of our friends at Damiani Wine Cellars. Winemaker Lou Damiani has been my mentor and friend from the day in early 2006 when I asked him to teach me the art & science of winemaking.  His winery partner, Phil Davis, is a heralded grape grower on Seneca Lake. While we housed our winery production at Damiani Cellars in Hector, Phil was one of my most demanding critics – which is a good thing. In many ways, my wine production is still guided by the combined expertise and passion of Lou and Phil. Thanks guys!

Each year our production has grown and each year we continue to sell out of our wines. We’re still small, with fewer than 1,000 cases produced per year, but we have plans for continued growth over the next few years from our new winery home at Sunrise Hill Vineyards. In addition to the bottle sales out of our Aurora shop, restaurants and other retailers in the Cayuga Lake vicinity and Finger Lakes region are seeking our wines – we plan to meet those requests.

We’ve done pretty well in state and at international competitions, too!  Our Traminette has been our standard bearer.  The 2009 was judged Best in Class at the NY Wine & Food Classic and the 2012 vintage was named Best Finger Lakes White Wine at the Finger Lakes Foodie Awards.  We are also well known for our unique Twice Noir blend, our sparkling Brut Gamay and a frizzante secco Cayuga White.

About our name – it came from a conversation in one of those moments when I (Nancy) had cold feet about entering the wine business. My husband, Kit (a veteran in the wine industry) assured me with the words, “Don’t worry, I’ll help you. You can bet the farm on it.” The words stuck with me and Kit has kept his promise. His help in the shop, in the winery, and with marketing ideas have been invaluable. During 2012 he left his long-time position at another Finger Lakes winery to lead our staff full time.

2014 Traminette label

Our logo, ” . . . sunlight held together by water”

About our label — Our label says a lot about our story.  The first version was designed in 2006; we made significant changes in 2009 — resized, reshaped, and recolored but the basic image remained the same as it was in 2006. We updated the label once again in 2014 (pictured left). The one constant is our  logo, an image of the sun selected because of my favorite wine quote from Galileo, “wine is sunlight held together by water.” It also has connotation for our retail home in the village of Aurora, the land of constant dawn.

All that aside, like many people, I am personally inspired and energized by sunny days.