Grape growing, or viticulture, has been in the Jordan family for years. In the 1960s Trenholm Jordan purchased a twelve-acre Concord grape farm in Portland, NY. Once Tren and Mary’s son, Mike, graduated from Cornell, he began to help on the family farm. Under the ownership of Mike and Tren, Olde Chautauqua Farms (OFC) has grown from a small grape farm to one of the biggest wine grape farms in the region. During the 1990s, Mike and Tren purchased several smaller farms and continued to add additional acreage to Olde Chautauqua Farms over the years. In 1997, they purchased two neighboring farms, Woodbury and Faulkenhauser, which increased the size of the farm to approximately 300 acres.
As the farm has continued to grow, several additions (besides grapes) have been added. A U-Pick cherry orchard was added to the farm and consists of over 8 acres of trees. An additional 3,000 dwarf cherry trees (6 acres) were planted next to 21 Brix Winery in the spring of 2011 and first began to bear fruit in 2014. There are many types of sweet and sour cherry trees. Cherry season typically begins the last weekend in June and lasts until the trees are picked clean!
An asparagus patch, which is also open to the public, is owned by Olde Chautauqua Farms. People are welcome to come to the patch during May and June to pick their own. Our asparagus is also sold to local restaurants.
Mike has taken Olde Chautauqua Farms from a mom and pop farm and turned it into the largest wine grape farm in Western New York. He currently manages over two hundred twenty-five (225) acres of grapes, which include approximately sixteen (16) varieties of grapes. The varieties of wines grapes grown on the farm include: Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Gewurtztraminer, Cayuga, Seyval, Vidal, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Noiret, Sauvignon Blanc, Grüner Veltliner, Lemberger, Pinot Noir, Niagara, and Concord.
The busiest time on the farm is during harvest, which typically starts at the beginning of September and lasts until the end of October. This time frame can fluctuate though depending upon the growing season. Tons of grapes are picked each day and some are used at 21 Brix Winery for the winery, but the rest of the grapes are sent off to local wineries and grape producers.