Meet the Winemaker

Jenna LaVita

Jenna LaVita is the vineyard manager and wine maker at Ventosa Vineyards. She is a Massachusetts native and Geneva, New York transplant who graduated from Hobart and William Smith Colleges with a background in human rights law and peace studies. She worked under Peter Bell at Fox Run Vineyards, Eric Shatt formerly head wine maker and vineyard manager at Ventosa Vineyards and Rob Thomas of Shalestone Vineyards.

A Woman’s Insight

Working under three very different wine masters has afforded her a unique point of view in attacking wine and vineyard issues as well as progressing her ever steepening climb and navigation through the intricacies of wine. She has learned all she knows through experience and as a woman working in a field constantly dominated by men, she has chosen to incorporate her skills of listening, patience, and willingness to learn, to shape her wines before bottling, being open to suggestion rather than trying to know it all. A woman’s insight in grape growing and wine production is often unheard, but could truly benefit the Finger Lakes wine industry especially in providing alternatives which will ultimately lead to true progress.

Holistic Approach

The Estate’s 23 acre vineyards are intimately tended to by Jenna and her assistant of three years, Roberto Aguilera.  Daily vineyard walks have allowed her to take a more holistic approach, focusing on the needs of the terroir and respecting the fruit Mother Nature has blessed us with. Listening to the demand of each vine and carefully scouting for trouble while padding through the vineyards with her dog Kai, she has tried to see herself as part of the vineyard, rather than someone ruling over it.  As a young person returning to farming, she has listened carefully to the wisdom of older growers, entrusting others’ experience to inform her decision making which has helped her stay afloat in the ebb and flow of the sometimes variable seasonal environment of the Finger Lakes.

New York Agricultural Experiment Station

She also works closely with Cornell University and the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station who visit often to take samples or lend knowledge on integrated pest management solutions and other practices.  Jenna welcomes advice and respects her neighboring fellow winemakers Aaron Roisen at Hosmer Winery, Fred Zugibe at Zugibe Vineyards and Vinny Aliperti from Billsboro, just to name a few.