About Us

Carol, Lawrence, and Jim Doolittle pose together in front of the stay sail on the winery deck
Carol, Lawrence, and Jim Doolittle

While employed by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, Jim Doolittle (Cornell University – CALS ’67) worked with the Governor and Lt. Governor’s offices to help pass legislation in 1976 allowing NYS to issue ‘Farm Winery’ licenses.   While in the Public Relations Division Carol Strassburg Doolittle (Good Counsel College/Pace University ’68) helped design media and public awareness programs about wineries and other farm commodities.

One day they decided that owning their own winery would be an adventure!  In 1978 they purchased land with a successful history of fruit production and a panoramic view of Cayuga Lake and planted their first three acres of vines: Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir. Each year they planted more vines and included European developed ‘hybrid’ vines including Maréchal Foch, Chambourcin, Seyval Blanc, and Vignoles. In 1982 Frontenac Point Vineyard – Estate Winery was issued NY Farm Winery #44 license.

Those European hybrid vines provide stability being more disease resistant and adaptable to weather changes than some Vinifera varieties.  Both make award winning wines when vinified properly.

A person holds one of the six bottles connected to the nozzles of a bottle filler machine
The 6-bottle automatic filler that employs three people to bottle the wines at Frontenac Point.
Everything, from picking to bottling and labeling is done semi-automatic
and by hand, providing detailed quality control.
Photo © Charles Harrington.

Beginning the estate winery with only a 400-case production, they decided to keep a hands-on, family approach and their son, Lawrence, (Rice University ‘09) now will make decisions as the second generation.

Frontenac Point Vineyard – Estate Winery is on the west side of Cayuga Lake. All of the grapes used to make our wines are grown in our vineyard next to the winery.  Slopes of low elevation protected by a microclimate influenced by Ontario and Cayuga Lakes provide a long growing season during which the grapes ripen perfectly.

View from the Frontenac Point deck. The decorative stay sail is visible past the pine tree in the center of the deck. The vineyard and Cayuga lake are visible in the background.

The combination of estate-grown grapes giving total control of harvest quality, the Cazenovia and Aurora silt loam soils, climate and the hands-on winemaking techniques produce wines that are truly appellation Cayuga Lake.