Big Red (and white): 2022 alumni wine collection launches

Wineries in New York and Oregon — including one owned by an A&S alumnus — have been tapped for this year’s Big Red celebration of the grape. Now in its fifth year, the annual Alumni Wine by Cornell Alumni Affairs collection comprises two offerings—one red, one white—by Cornellian-owned establishments, chosen from a field of candidates submitted the previous spring.

Continuing the theme, the winners are selected by an alumni expert—this year, Hotelie Catherine Fallis ’83.

The fifth woman ever to be named a Master Sommelier, Fallis runs the consulting firm Planet Grape, which also hosts a wine review site.

Author of Ten Grapes to Know: The Ten and Done Wine Guide, she boasts an intriguing resume line: she’s one of the world’s few female sabreurs, adept at wielding a sword to open a bottle of Champagne.

And to add to the collection’s Big Red ethos, the bottles feature art by a Cornell grad.

The 2022 labels sport abstract paintings evoking Ithaca’s gorges by Barbara Mink, MA ’85, a local artist who also teaches management communication in the Johnson School.

(The white’s label was inspired by Ithaca Falls, the red’s by Treman State Park.)

The wines can be ordered in increments of three to 48 bottles, with the white priced at $28 per bottle and the red at $32. Weather permitting, they’ll begin shipping in mid-October.

White: Trestle Thirty One 2021 Riesling

Fallis calls the wine “light, refreshing, and sweet-tart, with notes of green apple, peach, and lime zest.”

Established in nearby Geneva, NY, in 2015, Trestle Thirty One is owned by CALS alum Nova McCune Cadamatre ’06 and her husband.

Cadamatre has extensive experience in the winemaking industry, both in New York and California’s Napa Valley.

The first female winemaker in the U.S. to become a Master of Wine, she has been honored with a spot on Wine Enthusiast’s “40 under 40” list.

"This unique and complex Riesling is sourced from vineyards across Cayuga, Seneca, and Keuka Lakes," Trestle Thirty One says of its Cornell offering.

"Predominantly stainless steel with a small percentage of Acacia barrel fermented Riesling, this wine captures the fruity pure essence of Finger Lakes Rieslings with a floral twist from the Acacia wood. It is off-dry with bright acid and a refreshing finish."

Red: Ruby Vineyard & Winery 2018 Pinot Noir

Located in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, Ruby Vineyard & Winery is owned by Arts & Sciences alum Steve Hendricks ’76 (who traces his passion to the Hotel School’s Intro to Wines class his senior year) and his wife.

As the Alumni Wine site notes, they work on every aspect of their organic operation, “from driving the tractor to pouring flights for guests in the tasting room.”

Fallis describes Ruby's winning red as “light, tart, delicate, and dry, with notes of cranberry, raspberry, and vanilla.”

And the wine has an additional Cornell connection: some of its grapes come from Tre Figli Vineyards, owned by CALS grad Dave Musso ’81.

“Sharp and spicy, this Pinot Noir has a generous mix of brambly berry, forest floor, and peppery spice,” the winery says.

“It's showing a lightly chewy, tannic foundation and some gentle hints of chocolate trailing on the finish. It's balanced and enjoyable, and represents a good value in a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir from an excellent vintage.”

This story also appeared in Cornellians.

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two men by barrels of wine
Provided Steve Hendricks (right) with Ruby's winemaker.