Heart & Hands

New York, USA

At a Glance
  • Owners Tom and Susan Higgins founded Heart & Hands winery on the shore of Cayuga Lake in 2006 with the dream of producing Pinot Noir
  • Tom spent some time working harvest in Bordeaux at La Lagune, but it was his time working for Josh Jensen at Calera that inspired him to return to the Finger Lakes and grow Pinot Noir
  • Like Josh Jensen, Tom knew the key to world class Pinot Noir was limestone soil.  After a long search they found an outcropping of limestone on the shores of Cayuga Lake.  This is where Tom and Susan built their winery and planted a vineyard.  An additional vineyard property next to the original will be planted in 2019
  • The main focus at Heart & Hands is Pinot Noir.  They now bottle a Finger Lakes Pinot sourced from the estate and several sources in the Finge Lakes, an estate Pinot Noir, as well as afew single vineyard Pinots
  • Small amounts of Riesling, Chardonnay and Methode Champenoise sprkling wine are also produced
Heart & Hands winery was established in 2006 by Susan and Tom Higgins in the town of Union Springs, NY on the Northeastern shores of Cayuga Lake.  It was here that Susan and Tom chose to carry out their dream of producing Finger Lakes Pinot Noir and Riesling. Susan and Tom met while working in the IT business and found their way to Westchester County where Tom followed his passion for wine and began his career working at Zachy’s in Scarsdale.  It was here that Tom was able to immerse himself in wine and meet winemakers and producers from around the world.  This experience led to working harvest at La Lagune in Bordeaux and Calera in California.  Tom also grew up in the Finger Lakes and spent part of his youth working for the Hazlitt family on Seneca Lake.  All these factors provided the pull that brought Tom and Susan back to upstate New York to follow their dream to produce Pinot Noir and Riesling.  Tom and Susan took their cue from Josh Jensen at Calera, and went in search of limestone soils which they knew was key to growing and making world-class Pinot Noir that transcended the appellation.  They spent countless hours poring over geographical, soil and quarry maps to identify potential sites to plant.  In 2007 that were able to locate a 5 acre piece of land that sat on top of the Onondoga limestone escarpment and sloping towards Cayuga Lake.  Susan and Tom set out planting the land to Calera, Swan, 828, 115, 667 and 777 clones of Pinot Noir.  Riesling was later added to the Estate property and, more recently, an adjacent 7 acre parcel was recently purchased and is scheduled to come on line in the early 2020's.  The Estate vineyard is farmed using sustainable methods and there is no use of herbicides or pesticides. In addition to the their Estate vineyard, Susan and Tom also purchase fruit from several highly regarded growers in the Finger Lakes – Hobbit Hollow (Skaneateles Lake), Elaine’s Vineyard (Seneca Lake), Nutt Rd Vineyard (Seneca Lake), Seneca East Vineyard (Seneca Lake) and Patrician Verona Vineyard (Cayuga Lake).

All of the fruit is carefully harvested and sorted in the morning hours and fermented in small oak and stainless steel vessels.  For Pinot Noir, there is a good amount whole culster used which varies slightly depending on the cuvee. Aging is done in 100% French oak, with a judicious use of new (100% Francois Freres oak for Pinot) and all wines are bottled on site.  Production averages about 2000 cases annually with Pinot Noir being the majority, along with limited amounts of Riesling and Sparkling wine.