History

The property

Long before the hundreds of travelers, wine-tasters, and oenophiles graced the tables and tasting bars of Fox Run, it was cows that explored the property. Fox Run was a dairy farm for more than a century. It wasn’t until 1984 that the first grapes were planted. Fox Run founders, Larry and Adele Wildrick, transformed the Civil War-era dairy barn into a winemaking facility in 1990. In 1994, Scott Osborn and his first business partner, Andy Hale, purchased the winery from the Wildricks. Now with 50 acres of east-facing vineyards on glacial soils, the winery produces a remarkable range of limited-production, estate wines.

Old dairy barn with cows at Fox Run Vineyards

The winemaking

Since those early days, Scott has been working closely with winemaker Peter Bell. Peter brings a science-based, rationalist approach to winemaking. His team aims to achieve full creative expression within each variety of grape, giving Fox Run an abundance of delicious and refreshing wines. This wouldn’t be possible without the prowess of Vineyard Manager, John Kaiser, who has worked the land at Fox Run since the first grapes were planted in 1984.

NY Governor's Cup award 1997- Fox Run winemaker, vineyard manager, and owners posing with the cup

The family

In 2012, Scott and Ruth Osborn teamed up with Ruth’s sister and brother-in-law, Kathleen and Albert Zafonte, to make Fox Run Vineyards exclusively family-owned. This set the course for an exciting new chapter.

If you’ve ever been to Fox Run, you’ve probably met at least one family member. It’s not unusual to find Scott pouring wine behind the tasting bar or Ruth helping take orders in the café. Scott and Ruth’s daughter, Jessica Worden, is the office manager and behind-the-scenes virtuoso. She handles everything from shipping orders to social media and payroll. Kathy and Albert jump in and help with various events, like Grapes, Griddles and Wine Club Pick Up Parties. Ruth and Kathy’s sister, Dorothy Powell, offers a hand in the kitchen during the summer months.

Fox Run owners standing by the vineyard

Environmental impact

As business owners, our family is keenly aware of the impact we have on the community and the environment. Our mission at Fox Run Vineyards is reduce our environmental impact through meaningful and consistent changes to our business each year.

We focus on growing our grapes in a way that meets the needs of the present, without causing damage that we cannot reverse to our land.

What do we do at Fox Run to be more sustainable and reduce our environmental impact?

  • Our vineyard team uses biodegradable herbicides/pesticides/insecticides on all our vines.
  • Practice “dry-farming”, which means we don’t use any irrigation in the vineyards
  • Our use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) methods monitors harmful insect populations.
  • We’ve introduced mycorrhizae fungi into our root systems which increases the size of the root systems, bringing in more water and nutrition to the vines and soil
  • To enhance soil vigor and prevent erosion, we plant and maintain deep rooted rye grass in between the vineyard rows.
  • Our bottle crusher turns glass bottles to sand that we spread in the vineyards, diverting them from local landfills.
  • To support the local pollinator population, we planted a 4-acre monarch butterfly and bee sanctuary and established bee hives nearby.
  • In 2015, we installed 150-KW solar panels on our property. Our business has operated on 100% self-generated solar power ever since.
  • We use all compostable products/tableware in our café.
  • We became a certified a Lake Friendly Farmer in 2002. This means that none of our farming practices negatively impact the water quality of Seneca Lake.
  • Our plastic shrink wrap is recycled through Wegmans to be repurposed into synthetic building materials.

The gate

Standing 20 feet tall, with a wingspan of over 70 feet wide, Fox Run’s gate is not to be missed. It was created by local artist Sam Castner of Ironvine Studios, who has been sculpting since the early 1990s. The 13 rust patina and stainless steel foxes span anywhere from three to five feet in length. Some of the fabricated trees stand over 12 feet tall.

Castner’s work has made a splash around the Finger Lakes. He has completed hundreds of public projects, from the Seneca Lake sculpture at the Finger Lakes Welcome Center in Geneva to the waterfall at Glenora Wine Cellars.

Metal fabrication is Castner’s main medium. It offers instant gratification while forming, is structurally very strong, and has the longevity to hold up in the outdoor elements. He also enjoys working with reused or recycled industrial scraps when possible. Learn more about Ironvine Studios and check out Sam Castner’s most recent work here.

Upclose shot of the foxes and trees on Fox Run's gate