On July 5 my husband and I attended the 30th Anniversary Sparkling Soirée hosted on the grounds of the beautiful Chateau Frank in the Finger Lakes. The picture perfect summer afternoon started with an elegant reception high above Keuka Lake at its most beautiful point, the vista overlooking the bluff and Y in the lake. We enjoyed string music while sipping a selection of Chateau Frank sparkling wines. A wonderful gourmet luncheon followed. After lunch we toured the sparkling wine cellar and enjoyed a library vertical tasting of Chateau Frank Brut and a 30th Anniversary video. And, we got a signed copy of the new Dr. Konstantin Frank biography from author Tom Russ which we can’t wait to read.
History of Chateau Frank
Chateau Frank was started by Willy Frank, son Dr. Konstantin Frank in 1985. Like Konstantin Frank, Willy was a Finger Lakes wine pioneer. Willy’s dream was to make methode champenoise sparkling wine from vinifera grapes in the Finger Lakes. At the time (early 1980’s), the Finger Lakes was not making methode champenoise from vinifera. In 1982, Willy purchased a beautiful stone home complete with a cellar ideal for sparkling wine production and set out to make methode champenoise sparkling wine using the three traditional champagne grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. In 1985, Willy released his first vintage and since then the Chateau Frank has become one of the most prestigious sparkling wine brands in New York State.
Chateau Frank was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places this year, and the timing could not be better. The Chateau Frank property was built in 1866 by Philip Argus, a German immigrant and was at the time the Western New York Wine Company until prohibition. The property has a long history of winemaking in the Finger Lakes and signage commemorating its historical status will be placed on the road in front of Chateau Frank at the July 5 anniversary event.