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J. Stephen Casscles was recognized as some of Wine’s Most Inspiring People 2018 and on that occasion Steve shared some of his experience with growing hybrid grapes, rediscovering old grapes varieties and creating new ones.
J. Stephen Casscles, better known by friends as Steve Casscles, is an accomplished lawyer and winemaker. He graduated Marlboro Central High School, attended the State University of New York, Albany, and got his law degree from Northeastern University School of Law. Ever the individualist, as a young man, rather than visit Europe, he traveled India and Nepal. He has been counsel to various New York state senators for more than 20 years. While his specialty is insurance and healthcare practices, he has also written or contributed to many of the liquor laws in New York state.
Pioneering winemakers from all over the worlds helped to shape the Finger Lakes into a modern region. These founding winemakers began growing vinifera and raised the quality of wine, and that in turn attracted a new generation of talented individuals, who continue to push the boundaries and carry on the pursuit of excellence in the Finger Lakes.
It is impossible to begin to talk about the current winemaking scene in the Finger Lakes without covering its immensely important influence on the national winemaking scene. The Finger Lakes is not the oldest winegrowing region in the state, that distinction belongs to the Hudson Valley, but it is the largest, and arguably the best-known region in New York state. There are more than 100 wineries between the five major lakes. The Finger Lakes are five large lakes carved out by the withdrawal of the Wisconsin ice sheet. They formed deep gouges creating Scandinavian fjord-like lakes, with deep bottoms. This kind of depth offers an important temperature moderating influence that acts as a buffer from the cold northern winds and weather flowing down from Canada. This is commonly called Lake Effect.