This year’s Feast of the Fields is taking place at the spectacularly beautiful Old Tavern Farm.
Nestled atop a ridge overlooking Saratoga Lake and the foothills of the Adirondacks, Old Tavern Farm is a private boutique thoroughbred breeding farm.
Since founding Old Tavern Farm in 2016, Walt & Michelle Borisenok have meticulously restored the land back to its agrarian roots. They have developed the farm into a state-of-the-art facility that serves as a first home for thoroughbreds that often go on to compete at the highest level of racing.
“At Old Tavern Farm, we believe that our future success hinges on the strength of our horses and the conservation of our land,” the Borisenoks said. “We strive each day to maintain our commitment to the history, the land, and the thoroughbred industry by breeding and raising elite thoroughbred athletes.”
Along with its equestrian focus, this Saratoga County farm is a winery! With every bottle, Old Tavern Farm Winery aims to tell a story about life on the farm. Old Tavern Farm Winery works hand-in-hand with impassioned growers and winemakers to create enjoyable wines, which are all vinted and bottled right at the farm.
We spoke with Nicole Borisenok to learn more about the winery.
What inspired you to go into wine making?
At the time when my family was establishing the horse farm I was working in fashion in NYC. On weekends I would take the train up to Saratoga to spend time on the farm. We had extra land around the farm and when we tested the soil, one of the crops that could potentially grow was grapes. Our family has always been into wine and I was looking for a way to become involved in the farm. So I decided to apply for our NYS Winery License. My mom has always said, “every horse farm needs a winery.” We joke about it but it’s kinda true.
Now that the winery has been established for three years, my goal is to use the wines as an outlet to connect people to our farm. Not everyone is in the market for a racehorse, but I’d say 99% of people are in the market for a $22 bottle of wine. Each of our wines is inspired by something different on the farm: Farm Fresh Rose is our fresh cut flower garden, Hen & Hay Chardonnay is our chicken coop, and Big Barn Cabernet Sauvignon is our barn.
Can you talk a little bit more about why everything at your vineyard on Brown Road is done by hand?
We believe in gentle viticulture practices, low impact to the vines whenever possible. The quality of the wine is determined first and foremost by the quality of the grapes. The quality of the grapes is predicted on the quality of the site and the attention of detail in which they’re farmed. It’s important to us that we produce quality grapes.
Exciting that you planted your first grapes about 2 years ago! Have those grapes already been bottled? If not, when can that be expected?
We planted our Brown Road Vineyard in 2018. We spent about a year capturing our growing degree days and working closely with Cornell University to determine which grape varietals would grow in our area. We have 1,400 vines planted of Riesling, Cabernet Franc and Marquette. We are on track to harvest next year. We refer to our Brown Road vineyard as our test plot, where we are testing to see how these varietals grow in our area before we expand our vineyard operations.
Everyone at Saratoga PLAN is so incredibly thankful for your generosity and offering of the space. What drew you to want to host Feast of the Fields on the farm?
Our family is big on preserving the land and its history. There is great history in the land where our farm currently stands and we are committed to restoring the land back to its roots and continuing the story. We believe in Saratoga PLAN’s mission and the work the organization does in Saratoga County.
Photos from Old Tavern Farm website.
Deadline to purchase your tickets to Feast of the Fields is September 5th.
Don’t miss the delectable Tuscan-themed picnic!