Stanley Wagner | N.Y. vintner, 83

Posted: July 06, 2010

Stanley Wagner, 83, a vintner who three decades ago was one of the first people to open a winery in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York, and whose wines quickly earned state and national recognition, died June 26 at his home in Lodi, N.Y.

He died after a brief illness, his family said.

Established in 1979, Wagner Vineyards is in Lodi, on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake, 25 miles northwest of Ithaca. The vineyard, which grows 20 varieties of grapes on 250 acres, produces 50,000 cases of wine a year.

The winery made its reputation with whites like chardonnay, Riesling, and gew├╝rztraminer; it is also known today for reds.

Stanley Arthur Wagner was born in Elmira, N.Y., on April 10, 1927, and reared in Lodi, half a mile from where his vineyard stands. Mr. Wagner, who was known as Bill, was a third-generation grape farmer: His parents grew table and juice grapes, as had his paternal grandparents.

During World War II Mr. Wagner left high school to enlist in the Navy, but the war ended before he saw combat.

When Mr. Wagner started his winery, there were only about 10 others in the Finger Lakes region, according to the New York Wine and Grape Foundation. Today there are more than 100.

In an interview with the New York Times in 2003, when he was 76, Mr. Wagner ascribed his longevity to a simple regimen: He drank a glass of pinot noir - his own, of course - with dinner every night.

- N.Y. Times News Service

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