Bellwether Wine Cellars

Country of Origin: USA
Location: Cayuga Lake, Finger Lakes NY
People: Kris & Caitlin Matthewson, Owners | Kris Matthewson, Winemaker


Bellwether Wine Cellars 2014 Pinot Noir, Sawmill Creek Vineyard, Finger Lakes Login WE 91 AG 90 In Stock

Media Links
Heritage Radio Network: Episode 148 Kris Matthewson From Bellwether Wine Cellars
Palate Press: Apples and Grapes: A New Couple at Bellwether Cidery and Winery
Eater: Join the Riesling Revolution
New York Cork Report: Third Finger Lakes Producer Plans to Make Only Riesling and Pinot
Ithaca Journal: Bring 'Garage Band' of Winemakers to Holiday Table

Social Media
Instagram: @rieslingmonster
Bellwether Wine Cellars Facebook

In the spring of 2015, The New York Times quoted a certain rock star somm calling Kris Matthewson, the winemaker at Bellwether, a “rock star of the Finger Lakes.” In a relatively short amount of time, Kris has proven himself to be one of the Finger Lake’s most talented and thoughtful winemakers.

Matthewson grew up in the Finger Lakes in Hammondsport, NY. He began working at Bully Hill while in his teens during summers and school breaks. After college, he found himself working at Heron Hill, Swedish Hill and then Atwater Estate Vineyards as the assistant winemaker for four years. It was during his time at Atwater that he married Caitlin Barton. Caitlin’s parents, Bill and Cheryl Barton, opened Bellwether Hard Cider in 1999. With Kris’s background in wine, it seemed like the natural step to expand the production to include wines. In 2013, Kris released the first Bellwether wines.

Bellwether is the word for the male leader of a flock of female sheep. In this case, it symbolizes a progressive, industry leader. Kris thinks about his wines differently than most in the Finger Lakes region. He talks about texture more than residual sugar (or the lack thereof); he talks about depth and definition more than alcohol; he talks about acidity and mineral more than fruit. Looking to Germany for inspiration, Kris focuses on single vineyard Riesling and Pinot Noir (one of only three producers as of 2016 in the region to do so). The goal is to demonstrate how each vineyard and lake influences the wine, with the winemaker being only a small part of end result.

Vinous 7/2016
"The Bellwether wines, especially the Rieslings, are thoughtful and compelling, made via a combination of gut instinct and intellect. Though some can have a seriously funky edge, many are quite brilliant and certainly characterful. Production is extremely limited, at less than 2,000 cases per year."


  • Bellwether Wine Cellars 2014 Pinot Noir, Sawmill Creek Vineyard, Finger Lakes
    Wine Enthusiast
    Rating: 91 (11/1/2017)

    Editors' Choice! Dusty mineral, violet and anise notes lend a seductive tone to deep Morello cherry and plum flavors. It's concentrated in black fruit but maintains an amaro-like herbaceousness that's savory and meandering. Showing hints of maturity already but should drink well through 2020.
  • Bellwether Wine Cellars 2014 Pinot Noir, Sawmill Creek Vineyard, Finger Lakes
    Rating: 90 (7/1/2016)

    A light and elegant red, the 2014 Sawmill Creek Pinot Noir offers an alluring perfume of baked earth, red cherries, crushed flowers and leather, tinged with a subtle, lifting, volatile aspect. The palate is almost ghostly, save for the gentle core of sweet red fruit at the heart of the wine. Acidity is high and chiseled, but the tannins are somewhat green in quality, and prove distracting in the finish.