Paul Hobbs and Johannes Selbach Plan Seneca Lake Vineyard

Plans to build a premium Riesling vineyard in the Finger Lakes are in the works

The Seneca Lake vineyard from Hobbs and Selbach is expected to begin producing in 2015.

Noted winemakers Paul Hobbs of California and Johannes Selbach of Zeltingen, Germany announced recently that they have purchased a 65-acre property in the Finger Lakes, and have begun preparations for a vineyard that will focus primarily on Riesling. Hobbs moved to California to study winemaking, and the Selbach family has been growing Riesling in the Mosel valley since 1600.

Of the partnership, Hobbs noted that Selbach was an ideal match as the two shared an interest in the viability of the Finger Lakes. "Fine German Riesling, more than any other wine, influenced my own interest and love of wine. Selbach is one of the most highly regarded producers of the Mosel,” said Hobbs in a press release. After two years of searching for the right location, the Finger Lakes American Viticultural Area — the southeast side of Seneca Lake, to be exact — was chosen for its particular slopes, excellent soil and composition, and the right exposure for the new vineyards.

Hobbs noted that in fact, the area was quite similar to the Mosel  valley, and that Selbach too had noted the potential of the Finger Lakes for high-end North American Riesling. “After I located the right piece of land, I began to seriously contemplate the possibility of a partner. I have some experience making Riesling, but Johannes’ family has been producing Riesling for much longer. To my great happiness, he was immediately interested.  It didn’t take much cajoling,” Paul told us.


The daily operations of the Finger Lakes vineyard will be overseen by Paul’s brother, David Hobbs, who has lived upstate New York for many years. The vineyard's first wines are expected to be produced in 2015.