The Lucas Vineyards story begins in 1974 when Ruth Lucas and her family moved from the Bronx of New York City to a 60 acre farm in Interlaken, New York. Rooted in the family was a common dream of creating a successful family business through grape growing in the Finger Lakes region which was just starting to thrive.
The young family all chipped in and tended to the farm; pounding posts, tilling soil, trimming vines, and finally harvesting their first crop of grapes in 1978. When a feeling of loss set in after selling their carefully tended grapes to a winery that combined theirs with tons of others, the Lucas family made a brave decision to start making their own wine under the Lucas Family Vineyards label. The first 1980 vintage, consisting of less than 500 cases of Cayuga White and Estate Red, took home gold and silver medals, and the Lucas family knew they made the right choice. The founders of the winery were Bill, a tug boat captain from the New York harbor; Ruthie, the oldest daughter with a creative and adventurous spirit; Billy, the hard working and able bodied son; Stephanie, the youngest daughter with natural hospitality and customer service skills and Ruth, the matriarch and pioneer of the first winery on Cayuga Lake.
As the grape vines matured, so did Ruth's ambition and ideas. She embraced guidance from fellow grape growers and wine makers to develop her abilities as a regionally recognized vintner and as one of the first female winery owners in the area. In 1985, she led Lucas Vineyards, teamed with 2 other wineries on Cayuga Lake, to co-found the Cayuga Wine Trail; the oldest and longest running wine trail in the United States. The Lucas Family has always valued creating lasting relationships and friendships with fellow wineries and customers.
Over the next two decades the Lucas Vineyards reputation was established; one of fine winemaking and joyful attitudes. The Lucas estate is now home to 14 grape varieties, including Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer and winter hardy hybrids like Vignoles, Vidal Blanc and Cayuga White. Jeff Houck, Ruth's son-in-law, the current wine maker, oversees production and helped it grow to over 26,000 cases annually, comprising over 25 wines. Internationally acclaimed wines like Extra Dry Sparkling Methode Champagnoise, Reserve reds, Iced dessert wines, three Rieslings, Dry Rose and other varietals are crafted under the Lucas label. Also, the fun, nautical themed Tug Boat Wines, Nautie Wine series and sweet Butterfly round out the diverse collection of tastes and flavors at Lucas.
There are now three generations of the Lucas family taking pride in the business of producing outstanding wines that have been an integral part of many celebrations and special times. At Lucas Vineyards, hard work and history are honored while improvements and innovative ideas are encouraged. Old and young vines, like family members and friends, come together to add depth and maturity while promoting growth and freshness. Come taste some of Lucas history and be part of our future.
Above: Lucas Vineyards in the 1980's planting the first vineyard and celebrating the first bottling. Left: Family celebrating the 2010 barrel tasting for the 30th Anniversary Sparkling Wine.
© 2016 Lucas Vineyards