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. For more than a century, Fox Run was a dairy farm. The first grapes were planted in 1984, and in 1990 the Civil War-era dairy barn was converted to a winemaking facility by Larry and Adele Wildrick, the founders of Fox Run Vineyards. 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.
Since those early days, Scott has been working closely with winemaker Peter Bell, who brings a science-based, rationalist approach to winemaking. The winemaking 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 1984, and without the contributions of Assistant Winemaker Lindsey VanKeuren, a Penn Yan native who got her start at Fox Run in 2012.
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 come into contact with 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 cafe. Scott and Ruth’s daughter, Jessica Worden, is the office manager and behind-the-scenes virtuoso, handling everything from shipping orders to social media to payroll. Kathy and Albert jump in and help with various events, from the Glorious Garlic Festival to Wine Club Pick Up Parties. And Ruth and Kathy’s sister, Dorothy Powell, offers a hand in the kitchen during the summer months.
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 to make meaningful and consistent changes to our business each year in order to reduce our environmental impact. Here are just a few of our ongoing efforts:
- As a certified lake friendly farm since 2002, our vineyard practices have no negative impact on the water quality of Seneca Lake. We believe in minimizing herbicide use and adding nutrients back into our soils through regenerative farming techniques.
- In 2015, we installed a number of solar panels on the property, reducing the carbon footprint of our winery, tasting room, and café. Fox Run has operated on 100% self-generated solar energy since 2016.
- Fox Run continues to source produce and merchandise locally to reduce the waste and pollution of obtaining these products from around the world. Many of the fruits and vegetables used in our café come from our own garden.
- Our team continues to find alternatives to the disposable products commonly used in our business, from biodegradable tableware in our café to compostable shipping materials.
Standing 30 feet tall and with a wingspan of over 70 feet wide, Fox Run’s gate is not something 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, and some of the fabricated trees stand over 16 feet tall. Castner’s work has made a splash around the Finger Lakes–he has hundreds of public projects up, from the Seneca Lake sculpture at the Finger Lakes Welcome Center in Geneva to the waterfall at Glenora Wine Cellars. Castner said metal fabrication is his main medium, as it offers instant gratification while forming, is structurally very strong, and has a substantial longevity to hold up in the outdoor elements. He also enjoys working with reused or recycled industrial scraps when possible. Castner is currently designing in acrylics, wood, and using all metals.