For this photograph I came down from the overlook building, right next to the vines, where it all starts, each plant growing from and clinging to the soil. Genetics play an important role, particularly the epigenetics, the expression of a crop’s genetic traits as affected by the context of the local environment. Here we see row after row of vines on the west side of Keuka Lake, the land sloping enough so the lake is clearly visible below. On the other side the land is clearly forested with few, if any, vines, on a steeper slope. There is more sunlight on the west side, the land tilts a bit to the southeast and northwest on the east side. In the northern hemisphere, a southern exposure means more sunlight.
There is a geological reason for this topography. In this part of New York State sequential, long plates of land aligned on a general north-south axis each sloping to the east causing longer, more gradual slopes on the east side and, one the west shorter, steeper slopes as we see in this photograph. The crease where the plates meet is where each of the Finger Lakes formed. It is the combination of the lake water holding of warmth and the long slope exposure to sunlight that creates a microclimate favorable to the vines.
We visited Keuka Lake on a December day for my last two posts, “Keuka Lake Winter” and “Iron Grace”. October 5, 2014 found Pam and I at the same overlook after my son completed the Wine Glass Marathon. Here we are at the finish line in Corning, home of the Corning Glass Factory. You may know it from your set of Correlle dinnerware.
Afterwards, Pam and I made it up to the Dr. Frank Winery for a tasting followed by dinner at a local restaurant. Here is a photograph from the same viewpoint, using the “zoom” setting of my Sony DSLR A700. The view is more interesting than the winter shot of “Keuka Lake Winter I” from the autumn clouds and the burst of late day sun on the eastern lake shore.
This is the juncture of the “Y” shaped lake where the two arms joint the long foot. The pointed high headland is the point where the two arms meet. We are looking north here. The western arm, on the right, is unique in that the water is flowing down into the juncture. In Keuka Lake the water flows in two directions. The flow of lake foot and eastern arm is in the opposite direction, Keuka Lake empties at the top of the eastern arm, eventually reaching Lake Ontario.
Here is the eastern view, from the overlook, looking over a vineyard ready for harvest, covered with fruit and leaves. Every once in awhile there is a loud “bang” from a noisemaker used to discourage birds from feasting on grapes. The buildings along the shore are summer cottages, Keuka is lined with them.
The same view, from our December 2018 visit. The vines are bare, the fallen leaves cleared, the vine roots covered under banked earth to protect them from the cold.
Pam and I, enjoying wine after the 2014 Wine Glass Marathon. Cheers!!
Sunday, Pam and I travelled across the peneplanes, past three Finger Lakes, to reach the Dr. Konstantin Frank winery where we subscribe to the “Wine Club,” a quarterly release of three 750 ml wines along with a newsletter with information and recipes. For 2018/2019 we elected to “pickup” our selections, looking forward to these drives through the country and villages between Ithaca and the winery perched on the west side of Keuka Lake, just below the “branch.”
Yesterday, I posted “Glacier!!” and today there is this photograph of glacial topography 10,000+ years after the melt. Keuka Lake is shaped like a “Y” chromosome, here we are looking northeast across the “foot” of the “Y” from the west lakeside. Above the evergreens, to the left, is the headland separating the “arms” of the “Y”.
Spread out below our viewpoint are row upon row of grapevines, enjoying the microclimate surrounding the deep lake.
After work on a 2008 Friday afternoon in October we sped over to Beebee Lake on the Cornell University Campus to catch the late afternoon glow.
Beebe Lake is formed by a dam on Fall Creek. It seems to be the flooded meadow it is, surrounded by hills formed by glaciers 10,000 years ago. Cornell maintains footpaths around the lake.
People say that if a couple walk the a mile around the lake and over a bridge at either end, they are destined to be married. This day we passed only joggers and families. Pam and I will celebrate our tenth anniversary March 2019, so the legend worked for us.
Here are four snapshots from that time, presented in chronological order. Each is a handheld shot taken on the fly using my Sony Alpha 700 I use for exploratory photography.
Click any photograph to view my Finger Lakes Memory gallery
I walked down a path trod by Canadian geese to reach a clear view of the water.
Lily pads and iris fronds grow along the bank.
Being on the west side of the lake, the dam is bathed in golden autumn light.
On top the hill, not visible behind the trees, above the opposite bank is Fuertes Observatory. We visited it this night, opened to the public as it is on all clear Friday nights while classes are running.