Being Frank on Dr. Frank by Brenda Beland
Dr. Frank was born in 1899 in Ukraine and graduated with a Ph.D. in Viticulture from the University of Odessa in Ukraine. His thesis was on growing vinerfera in cool climates. This thesis is important as it caused him to immigrate to the United States in 1951 and set out to prove his thesis. No one believed that vinerfera wines could grow in cool climates until he met Charles Fournier in Hammondsport, New York. Fournier was the former winemaker at the famous Veuve Cliquot in France and dreamed of growing vinifera wines in the Finger Lakes. Thus, in 1957, Dr. Frank purchased 100 acres on the west side of Keuka Lake.
His first plantings were Pinot Noir and these vines are the 2nd oldest Pinot Noir vines in the country. Always innovative, Dr Frank planted 66 varieties in his quest for finding the best cool climate vines. Even today, the winery has a small amount of acreage dedicated to “experimental” vines. Dr. Frank also brought to the region a special plow that would “hill up” the delicate vines in the cold months. This practice is still used by Finger Lakes wineries to this day.
Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir were his champions in the early years. Over the years, the winery discovered that the northern European grape varieties were well suited for their growing region. They added Gewurztraminer & Gruner Veltliner to the above champion list, but they also produce esoteric varieties such as Rkatiskeli, Pinot Blanc, Lemberger and Saperavi. In 1985, Dr. Frank released the region’s first ever method champenoise sparkling wine made from the three classic French Champagne varieties.
We will taste eight different varietals and yes—one sparkling! Each varietal is an excellent representation of the vinerfera grape and the taste and crispness that abound from the cool climate in which they were grown. Am I passionate about Dr. Frank and the cool climate wines? You bet! Join us at the Hilton Harrisburg on Friday, March 20th at 7p.m. and see why the winery was named by Wine & Spirits Magazine as one of the top 100 Wineries of 2019!
Members: $50 Patrons:$45 Nonmembers:$60
Park in the Walnut Street Garage and bring along your ticket to the Hilton Front Desk or the Gift Shop (when open). Identify yourself as a guest of PWS to pay only $2.50 for the evening's parking.
Register ONLINE at www.pawinesociety.com