Here is the church. Here is the steeple. Open the doors and see all the…
Eremita Winery is located in the former Reformed and (later) Presbyterian Church, which stood vacant for years, in the village of Lodi, Seneca County (Seneca Lake East). The church dates to the 1870’s.
Owner Josh Parker, a native of the Utica area who previously worked as a construction project manager in Florida, purchased the building in 2010 after seeing it advertised online.
He is restoring and repurposing the building in increments, putting reclaimed materials and his own design and construction skills to use. He lives there, as well, and his dog, Matouk, greets visitors.
If Parker were to say his winery is one of the most unique in the Finger Lakes, he would be justified. I can’t think of another winery in a former church, with light streaming in through stained glass windows. The church’s original wood floors gleam.
Parker makes and cellars Riesling, unoaked Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir, a blush wine called Goddess and others on the premises, using grapes from Wagner Vineyards and other growers.
It’s small in terms of staff and volume – about 1,500 cases a year. Stop in Eremita for a tasting and the chances are good you will find Parker working solo, pouring wine, answering questions and making and closing sales.
Eremita welcomes groups, but it’s a good idea to call ahead.
Speaking of small Finger Lakes wineries: About five miles south of Eremita, and off the beaten path (Route 414), is Silver Thread Vineyard. The vineyard produces small quantities of premium vinifera wines, including Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and Gewurztraminer that have gained notice well outside the Finger Lakes. The winery is rated among the top six Finger Lakes wine producers in the latest Robert Parker Wine Guide.
Silver Thread is a hidden gem, offering a secluded setting, gorgeous views of Seneca Lake and a small tasting room built into a hill, where co-owner Shannon Brock pours samples. Buses and recreational vehicles aren’t allowed on the gravel road that leads to the winery. Groups of eight or more must call in advance to make arrangements to visit.
There are advantages to visiting a small winery. When the owner pours, you learn things. Such as: Veraison – that’s the term used to describe the point in the growing season when grapes soften and change color. And that Gewurztraminer is a pink grape that yields a straw-colored wine.
Eremita Winery is at 2155 Church St., Lodi. Hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday. For information, call 607-474-5002. A website is under construction. Click here to visit Eremita on Facebook.
Silver Thread Vineyard is at 1401 Caywood Road, Lodi (about a mile off Route 414). The tasting room is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Monday (through November). For information, call 607-582-6116 or visit the website.