Dr. Frank’s Historic Plow Finds its Way Back Home

When Dr. Konstantin Frank purchased 100 acres on the west side of Keuka Lake in the late 1950’s, he knew that the site would be perfect for the cultivation of vinifera vines. It is often said that he bent down, tasted the dirt and said, “perfect”. Despite the steepness of the land and the fact that the soil had several layers of shale, Dr. Konstantin Frank was determined to make this site the home of the region’s first successful vinifera vineyards.


This land overlooking Keuka lake reminded him of the land he had worked in his native Ukraine. There, the vineyards were just as steep and he was accustomed to working with soils just as challenging. In order to plant vinifera vines on our Keuka estate, Dr. Konstantin Frank knew he would have to find the perfect plow with a sharp, long blade to cut through multiple layers of shale. The perfect plow ended up coming all the way from California and was the first of its kind in the Finger Lakes.

We often refer to the “minerality” in our wines as the result of heavy shale content in our vineyards. Dr. Frank had to use his plow to cut through 4 feet of soil breaking up the layers of shale before he could plant his vines. Cutting through so much stone was such a challenge that a large bulldozer was used to pull the plow. Some of our favorite early photos of our Keuka Lake estate are of Dr. Frank standing in the deep furrows carved out by the plow.

Year’s later, the Frank family sold the plow to a friend. Just recently, this friend contacted the family and asked if they would have any interest in taking the plow back for historic display. We are thrilled that Dr. Frank's plow has made its way back home. The plow is a great reminder of his hard work and of what a treasure our vineyards truly are.