Glenora Wine Cellars - Winery - The Winemaker
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Meet the winemaker

Steve DiFrancesco

Steve DiFrancesco is the Winemaker for Glenora Wine Cellars. Steve earned his degree in Biology from Stetson University and has since enjoyed 39 harvests in the Finger Lakes, plus one in Chile.

Steve started his winemaking career in the late 1970s, working with Guy DeVaux and Charles Fournier at Gold Seal Vineyards and their excellent sparkling wines. While at Gold Seal, Steve did critical research on secondary fermentations that was later applied to mainstream production. He experimented with the production of sparkling wines using unique grape varieties, as well.

Steve became the assistant winemaker at Glenora in the late 1980s as part of an ambitious expansion program with an emphasis on Sparkling Wines. In 1995, Steve was promoted to head winemaker. Riesling is at the forefront of production for Steve, along with other aromatic white vinifera wines, sparkling wines, and barrel aged red wines.

Steve is a very friendly and personable winemaker, and he enjoys talking 'shop' with visitors and other winemakers.  Hopefully, you will get a chance to meet Steve in person!

Alex Wheeler, Assistant Winemaker

Without even realizing it, Alex Wheeler began his career in wine when he took a part-time job at Pedulla's Wine & Liquor in Geneva, NY, while attending school at Finger Lakes Community College. While stocking shelves and ringing out customers, he began to learn more and more about the wine and spirits world, with an increased interest in Finger Lakes wines being produced all around his hometown of Geneva.

A chance encounter with Michael Eighmey from Anthony Road Wine Company led Alex to be hired on as their assistant tasting room manager. Once harvest time came around, Alex immediately seized the opportunity to learn more about vineyard work, cellar work, and processing grapes on the crush pad. Finding he was more interested in cellar work, mentorship from winemaker Peter Becraft provided invaluable experience. After another chance encounter and subsequent interview, Alex became Villa Bellangelo's newest "Cellar Master" in 2018.  In addition to finishing off the 2017 vintage, Alex gained a higher understanding of winemaking and vineyard planning and maintenance. After some recommendations by friends and colleagues, Alex interviewed successfully to becoming our newest assistant winemaker in August 2020. After quickly finding his stride, Alex looks forward to developing his clean, and by his account “hedonistic,” approach to winemaking under Steve’s leadership.

When he’s not in the cellar, you can find Alex in Geneva, enjoying local wine and food, as a member of the Geneva Fire Department, or hanging with his three dalmatians, Budweiser, Stella Artois, and Beau.