Tango Oaks Vineyard

panorama of tango oaks vineyard

A History

Tango Oaks Vineyard is located less than one half mile downslope from the Red Newt Cellars Winery and Bistro, on Seneca Lake’s Southeast side. A truly unique vineyard site, Tango Oaks represents how seamlessly ‘old’ and ‘new’ terroir can come together in the Finger Lakes. Historically, the site where Tango Oaks sits has been known as ‘Peach Orchard Point” since the 1600s; first to the native Iroquois who maintained it, later to the Wickham family, who took over the site in the 1790s after receiving it for their service in the Revolutionary War. With centuries of history for growing fantastic fruit, the Wickham family planted their first grapes on the site in the 1830s. On the ‘new’ terroir side, the newness extends beyond the relative youth of the five acres of Riesling vines Red Newt had planted there in 2007. The plantings were done with an Alsatian clone of Riesling which is rarely found in the Finger Lakes. The grape clusters are a bit more loose than some of their German clone counterparts, tend to ripen a week later, and turn a beautiful golden color. The vines were planted and trained using the traditional VSP trellising, with ¼ of the vineyard using pallisage and the other ¾ using traditional hedging methods. At Tango Oaks, the soil itself is ‘new’, as the twenty-foot deep layer of gravel was deposited there by the epic flood of 1935. With Riesling vines erupting out of these stones, and not much topsoil to speak of, Tango Oaks always results in the most elegant, mineral, and filigreed style of Riesling from Red Newt. The fruit also lends itself to a full range of expressions that are now being explored, from method champenoise sparkling ‘Sekt” to dessert styles to icewine.

The Farming

There is currently no sustainability certification in the Finger Lakes, however Tango Oaks is farmed in a manner that is best for the vineyard and the region. The fruiting zone undergoes leaf thinning late June to allow for more airflow and sun exposure resulting in less disease pressure. The vineyard also undergoes negative fruit selection by the winemaking team a few weeks prior to harvest, and again during the week of picking. These actions allow for less vigorous spray programs and provide a lower environmental impact on the vineyard site and surrounding land.

Grower: Fred Wickam
Established In: Riesling planted in 2007; old vine Concords planted in
Grapes Planted: Riesling – Alsatian Clones 9 and 11
Training Method: VSP – Vertical Shoot Positioning
Soil: Howard Gravelly Loam
Slope: 5 to 10%
Exposure: West, South West
Elevation: 820 feet

The Wines

Wine Characteristics: White peach, mineral-forward, elegant in their structure.
Wines from Tango Oaks Vineyard – Vineyard Designate:

Tango Oaks Vineyard Riesling: 2010-2019
2010-2011 vintages were made ‘Kabinett’ style, subsequent vintages have been dry
Tango Oaks Vineyard Barrel Reserve Riesling: 2013, 2015-2018
Sekt: 2015-2019
First vintage (2015) still en tirage, expected release of spring 2021

Tango Oaks Vineyard Noble Dry Riesling: 2017, 2019
Tango Oaks Vineyard Noble Riesling: 2016, 2017
Tango Oaks Vineyard Noble Select Riesling: 2015
Tango Oaks Vineyard Ice Wine: 2017, 2019

Additional Wines from Tango Oaks Vineyard:
Red Newt Dry Riesling: 2012
Red Newt Riesling: 2019
Red Newt Reserve Dry Riesling: 2013
Kelby James Russell Riesling: 2013

Accessibility Tools
hide