Owera Winery using community in recipe for success

Owera Winery welcomed the community to its grounds on East Lake Road on Sunday to help with their second annual grape harvest. Dozens drove up the windy path to the lines of vines, ready to cut thousands of grapes destined to become wine.

So far, Owera Winery boasts wine in numerous restaurants, including the New York Yankee Steakhouse and Chopped judge Scott Conant's restaurants in New York City.

While the grapes are flourishing, construction on buildings on the property continued, filled with promising futures as tasting rooms and event halls.

While having a winery in Cazenovia isn't the most traditional place to grow grapes, the community has embraced the new business, as they realize what it means to the local economy.

"The buzz that we're getting early on is terrific," Ben Reilley, Director of Operations at Owera Winery, says. "And the community has been behind us 100 percent."

The community showed their support today, by helping to pick a grape crop that is usually plucked by machines. Reilley says though, that by hand harvesting the grapes, they retain their quality, which is important when it comes down to making wine.

In addition to the grapes, Owera Winery is sharing their land with local farmers and donating goods from their organic garden to local food pantries, something Town of Cazenovia Supervisor Ralph Monforte says is a testament to the community as a whole.

"Cazenovia is a very generous community and finds ways to give back, and revitalize the area," Monforte says.

Reilley is hoping to have the construction finished by January 1, 2013. In addition to supplying its own economic benefits, Owera Winery joins Critz Farms and the future Empire Brewery on Route 13 near Lorenzo State Historic Site as stops on the Cazenovia Beverage Trail.