LEED winery building a NY first

New York is about to get its first LEED-certified winery building, in the Finger Lakes.

The Red Tail Ridge Winery, owned by the married team of Nancy Irelan and Mike Schnelle (right), was opened near Penn Yan in 2007 after they moved from California.

LEED is the acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a Green Building Rating System that encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria. Certification is done on a third-party basis and can be achieved at various levels.

With vineyards, it can include strategically located diversion and drainage ditches that direct stormwater runoff to an irrigation pond. Red Tail Ridge is working with the New York State Energy Research and Development Agency (NYSERDA) to certify such green measures as:

• Locally-sourced and recycled-content building materials
• A geothermal system
• Efficient lighting
• Natural daylighting

The building was designed by Edge Architecture of Rochester, with Sustainable Performance Consulting Inc. as part of the project team. The target is for completion of the new building to be open in time for the fall harvest.

Details of various LEED rating systems are available online.

Ireland and Schnelle have planted such Finger Lakes grape staples as pinot, chardonnay and riesling, but also planted teroldego vines. As Ireland explains it on the Red Tail Ridge Web site:

"We ... believe that experimentation is an important step towards unlocking our vineyard's, and the region's, potential. For this reason, we have planted teroldego — a red Italian grape variety grown primarily in the northeastern region of Trentino-Alto — in our vineyard and are optimistic about the future of these vines. Wines produced from teroldego have been compared to zinfandel due to their deep color, brambly blackberriness, solid acidity and moderate tannin structure. We are eager to see how these vines and wines develop, and we look forward to more experimentation in the future."

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