William Vigne (Vin-Ya) was the first generation of Fulkerson’s in New Amsterdam in about 1619. The Vignes were one of 30 Walloon families selected by the Dutch West India Company to establish a permanent settlement in New Netherlands [New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Connecticut]. The original Company plan was to send only five or six men to set up a fur trading post on Manhattan Island. The grapes for this wine were Estate grown at the Fulkerson Vineyards on Seneca Lake.
|Let’s back up to 1805 when Caleb Fulkerson journeyed from Somerville, NJ and staked out a piece of land on the fertile western slopes of Seneca Lake. On his way he cut a walking stick from a willow tree and upon arriving in Dundee he stuck the willow stick in a spring to mark his choice. It took root and when the tree was full grown he cut it down and made coffins for his wife Deborah and himself. Caleb died in 1848 and is buried in the small family plot on the land he cleared.
And so the land was handed down from generation to generation; from Caleb to Samuel, to Harlan P, to Harlan, to Roger and then to Sayre, the 6th generation to farm the land. Black raspberries were the farm’s main crop until the 1960’s. Grapes came into the picture on a small scale sometime in the 1830’s. Together Sayre and his Father, Roger expanded grape plantings during the 1970’s.
The Fulkersons celebrated the bicentennial anniversary of their farm on Sunday, July 24, 2005. They are extremely proud of their family history and heritage. And continue the farming tradition by offering 20+ wines, during the fall, 33 varieties of fresh grape juice for home wine making, and a full line of home wine making supplies. The legacy will continue when their son, Steven Fulkerson, 7th generation, steps on board!