In 1974 huntin’ and fishin’ gentleman farmer Sherman Haight read an article in the Wall Street Journal that had a dramatic effect on his life. It concerned the legendary Dr. Konstantin Frank, the pioneer of vitis vinifera cultivation in New York state, (i.e. the growing of noble varieties such as Chardonnay and Cabernet.) Sherman was captivated by the tale of the Ukranian-born Dr Frank whose first job, on arrival in the USA, was as a dishwasher in a New York city café. Yet he became the inspiration of many who previously believed that it was only possible to grow American labrusca varietals or hybrid vines in vineyards with such freezing winter climates.
Indeed, he was so inspired by what he read that in his own words ‘I didn’t even get a toothbrush, went to the airport and flew straight to Rochester NY to find him.’