Penguin Bay History
Over the Years
The story begins in 1969 when Richard and Cynthia Peterson planted their first grapes, which were contracted to Great Western Winery. That year, they were honored by Great Western as “New Growers of the Year” for their impressive first year vineyard planting. Within a few years, the market for FLX grapes soured, which started a renaissance of smaller craft farm wineries, including the Peterson family’s first, Swedish Hill, which opened in 1986.
In 1996, the Peterson’s were able to start expanding the business when their son, Dave, joined in after spending seven years as a Viticulture Extension Specialist for Cornell University. Dave has a PhD in Viticulture from Penn State University and brought a wealth of knowledge. The family opened their second winery, Goose Watch, on Cayuga Lake in 1997 and Penguin Bay Winery in 2005 on the east side of Seneca Lake at the site of the former Finger Lakes Champagne House, where it still stands today.
Now in business for three generations, the Peterson Family of wineries are proud to produce some of the most acclaimed wines in the region. Dave is the current President and co-owns the winery with his wife Jean, and their daughter Amanda Fitzgerald is now the 3rd generation to join the family business. Most recently, they have added a brewery, Lake House Brewing, to their portfolio of craft beverage establishments in the Finger Lakes region.
The Penguin Connection
The idea for Penguin Bay began when the Humboldt Penguins came to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse. We were so excited about the new exhibit that we reached out to work with the Zoo and began a sponsorship agreement based on the sales of our new Penguin Bay wines, which were introduced in 2006. This relationship has continued to this day! When you purchase any of our wines, you help support the penguins!
Our Humboldt Red wine is a semi-dry red blend that honors our friends, the Humboldt Penguins, which are an endangered species native to the coast of Chile.
DID YOU KNOW? The Humboldt penguin population only numbers about 32,000 across the globe and is in decline for many reasons. They are affected by changing weather patterns, food shortages, overfishing, natural predators and loss of nesting sites due to human encroachment.
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