Since our founding, Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard has approached the health of our vineyards as the most vital component of winemaking.

No Herbicides

To promote the health of our vines, we eliminated the use of all herbicides as of 2003.


We hand-pick all estate fruit.

Cover Crops

Our soil health is cultivated by a mix of cover crops that improve soil health, trap nitrogen, build biomass, and break up compacted soils.

Beneficial Flora in Adjacent Fields

Enhanced biodiversity increases the count of beneficial species present to promote wanted flora and fauna in our fields.

Through the years this approach has led to a focused ecological engagement where we consider the larger needs of our surroundings as well as the specific needs of each vineyard, lot, and even individual vines. We adhere to unique farming methods that focus not solely on our vineyards but on the totality of our farm, promoting biodiversity in adjacent fields, forests, and meadows, while utilizing cover crops, beneficials, and homeopathic teas and preparations. These practices encourage stronger, more resilient vineyards, and in turn better wines.

In 2003, we eliminated the use of all herbicides and synthetic inputs, and instead incorporate cover crops and organic fertilizers. Our next step in sustainable farming is our project with biodynamics. In the Summer of 2014, Thijs Verschuuren, who had previously studied and worked in biodynamics in the Loire Valley of France, joined our team and a year later, spearheaded this farming project, committing 14 acres at our HJW property and expanding to the entire 33-acre site over the ensuing years. This project will help us to understand both the effects and efficacy of biodynamic farming and we are currently working towards Demeter Certification for our HJW site in 2020.

This list of viticulture practices is partial, of course, and is constantly changing and adapting based on the obstacles that nature provides. However, it does showcase a “zoom-out” effect that we often consider here, beginning with an individual vine or bee, and zooming out to encompass the surrounding ecosystem and beyond. Another common theme that we refer to constantly is “health,” whether in reference to yeasts, soils, vines, or ecosystems, we work alongside nature to cultivate resilience in our vineyards. Our goal has been and will continue to be to expand these practices and create wines that reflect the intrinsic compatibility of vineyards and their surroundings.

We farm distinct vineyard sites that lie on the western and eastern slopes of Seneca Lake. 

The Vineyard Map at HJW. It is a fixture in our tasting room experience (illuminated and hanging on the walls), and a conversation starter to say the least! There are so many factors that contribute to the character of a vineyard and this map strives to present them in an educational and aesthetically pleasing way. We often joke, that each time we look at the map, we discover another feature or tidbit of information. Location, elevation, proximity to the lake, vine spacing, varietal, clonal selection, planting orientation, soil type, and acreage are all presented in a conception designed by architect and Cornell University professor, Alexandr Mergold of the firm Austin & Mergold. Download the map image here



HJW Vineyard

Our HJW Vineyard features Hermann’s original plantings on Seneca Lake of Riesling and Chardonnay from 1977 and 1978. Mature vines, combined with the site’s shallow topsoil and shale bedrock, produce lower yields, resulting in expressively vibrant flavors. Higher elevation and a greater distance from Seneca Lake contribute to a cooler growing season, resulting in leaner, more austere wines with intense flavor and excellent aging potential. In 2009, we planted two more block of Riesling, bringing the total acreage to 33. In 2015, we began our venture with biodynamic farming and have converted the entire property. In 2023 we received Demeter Certification for our HJW Vineyard. 

Josef Vineyard

The Josef Vineyard is located 10 miles north of our HJW property home to the longest established plantings on our estate, Gewurztraminer planted in 1967 and Riesling 1974. These mature vines produce wines of intense flavor through lower yields and longer hang times. Josef’s ideal slope, deep soils, and proximity to the lake add further to the site’s potential ripeness. We have also planted Gruner Veltliner at this site.

Hermann purchased the Dresden site (now our Josef and Magdalena Vineyards) from Taylor Wine Co. in 1998 and began efforts to restore the site. The vineyard was healthy but had been farmed for high yields and years of deferred maintenance meant that there were some problem areas. The vines had been head-trained with high fruiting zones in order to both machine-harvest and machine-prune. In the years following this purchase, we repositioned and retrained the trellising system during winter pruning to lower the fruit zone, reduce yields, and promote fewer, but more flavorful clusters. Moreover, we have since worked to address the health of the site through the introduction of natural soil corrections, cover crop usage, and the removal of herbicides (we have been herbicide-free at Wiemer since 2004). The retraining of a vine is crucial, but so are the efforts focused on restoring the health of the soil and the surrounding biosphere.

As we learned what our Josef site was capable of, we began to notice high ripening potential due to lower yields, as well as balanced and healthy vines. Through the careful vineyard management techniques detailed above, these old vines are now able to achieve ripeness and quality levels to produce wines like our single-vineyard Josef bottling, as well the weighty and textural component of our Riesling Reserve Dry.


Magdalena Vineyard

The unique traits of our Magdalena Vineyard shine through the wines sourced from this site. A beneficial air exchange with Seneca Lake moderates the temperatures, creating a warmer and more protective site in the colder months and a cooling effect throughout the summer. The airflow keeps the vineyard dry, and deep soil provides room for spreading root growth. The lime silt loam soil that the site is celebrated for is crucial to the development of flavor intensity in the grapes.

This property was included in the Dresden purchase that Hermann made in 1998 from the Taylor Wine Co. He began planting the site in 1999, beginning with Riesling, Chardonnay, and Pinot, and continued to add Gewurztraminer, Lemberger, and Cabernet Franc. This site has proven to be able to ripen and protect varieties that do not thrive in our other vineyard locations. We have incorporated exploratory measures regarding dense vine spacing, and vineyard orientation to open airflow and increase hang time.


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