For more than 150 years, Finger Lakes Wine Country has played a major role in American wine history. At its heart are the four deepest Finger Lakes, part of a group of 11 long, narrow lakes in central New York. There, nestled among Canandaigua, Keuka, Seneca, and Cayuga Lakes, farmers began planting vineyards in the 1830s. In 1860, the Pleasant Valley Wine Company became America's first bonded winery, turning Keuka Lake into a busy shipping hub for fresh grapes and award-winning champagnes. Other wineries soon followed, as did railroads and basket factories. Early 20th century business was good until Prohibition forced wineries to reinvent themselves. In the 1950s and 1960s, innovators like Charles Fournier, Dr. Konstantin Frank, and Walter S. Taylor experimented with hybrid and European vinifera grape varieties. But by the 1970s, local grape growers faced extinction; it would take a grassroots movement and landmark legislation in 1976 to bring about a Finger Lakes wine renaissance.
The town of Wheatland lies along the west bank of the Genesee River in the southwest corner of Monroe County. In 1786, the adventurous frontiersman Ebenezer "Indian" Allan built a log cabin near the river. The Allan family soon moved on, but the settlement of the entire area west of the Genesee River had begun. The name given to the town in 1821 recognized the successful wheat crops already yielded by its fertile soil. Oatka Creek, which winds its way across town to the river, once powered flour and plaster mills that made the villages and hamlets of Wheatland thriving communities. Today Wheatland remains a rural area known for its picturesque countryside and its recreational opportunities.