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Magnus Winery holds groundbreaking

SENECA LAKE—Good neighbors are a treasure and the neighbors of new Magnus Ridge Winery on Route 14 have been a enormous help to the owners.During a festive groundbreaking for the 9,000 square foot tasting room, gift shop and cafe, owner Sandy Downey spoke about some of the support they have received from their neighbors.
Downey said the family had bought the property that was primarily woods in 2002. In 2005 they started the first vineyard. Downey learned from Harlan Fulkerson of LKF Vineyards that augers were not the tool of choice for planting grapes. After steering them to the correct tools, Fulkerson realized the family would need a subsoil. Fulkerson drove around Seneca Lake until he found one at Hazlitt Winery. Downey said, “We didn’t even know him well. That’s when we realized what a wonderful community is here. We wouldn’t be here without them.”
During the groundbreaking, both of Downey’s children spoke along with several dignitaries. Andy Ramsgard of Ramsgard Architectural Design spoke of the great opportunity he received to do something creative.
Parsons McKenna Construction Company’s Jake McKenna said the Downeys are extremely committed, calling their entire spirit awesome. He said, “This will definitely be a landmark building.” Finger Lakes Economic Development Center Executive Director Steve Griffin said, “It has been great to see a whole different range of preparedness. The Downeys were ready, and there wasn’t a detail they didn’t cover.” The final comments came from Fulkerson who said, “When we first met in 2002 or 2003 I thought they were going to build a house. They said no, a vineyard. You don’t plant vineyards in the woods, but I guess it can be done. This is a good project and a happy ending for everyone.”
Sandy’s husband Matt, the other owner of the winery, invited the audience to return next year in March or April for the Grand Opening. Downey’s bottled their first wines less than a month ago. The first bottles were not sold, but were donated to a charity event.




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