Hermann Wiemer has been a viticulture and winemaking pioneer in New York since he emigrated from Bernkastel, Germany in the 1960s, and the winery today remains a leader in the Finger Lakes for both wine production and vine propagation.
Hermann was born to make wine. His mother’s family had over 300 years of winemaking experience in the Mosel, and his father was responsible for restoring vines in that region after World War II. Hermann grew up learning to graft vines by hand with his father before attending prestigious German winemaking and viticultural institutions. When Hermann moved to New York he discovered that the western shore of Seneca Lake was quite similar to the cool climate and gravelly soils of the Mosel. Using his grafting skills, Wiemer planted one of the first successful vinifera vineyards on Seneca Lake in 1976. His dedication and attention to detail allowed the project to thrive, and Hermann J. Wiemer has become known as a premier domestic Riesling producer.
Since 2007, the winery has been run by Hermann’s longtime apprentice Fred Merwarth and the agronomist Oskar Bynke. Fred works to further Hermann’s vision by precise and thorough vineyard management and winemaking, while Oskar focuses on winery operations.
The wines of Hermann J. Wiemer are stunning, pure Rieslings that speak of Seneca Lake with more than a little reference to the Mosel. The grapes are grown in three distinct estate vineyards that take advantage of the various microclimates and aspects of the western shore of Seneca Lake. The original 1976 vineyard, HJW, is where the winery resides. The Josef and Magdalena vineyards are about 10 miles north and differ greatly in slope, soil, and vine age. From the Dry Riesling which blends the vineyards together to the single vineyard offerings, Hermann J. Wiemer deserves a place amongst the great wines of not only America but also the world.