Our Story

The Muserlian family welcomes you to Owera Vineyards. In 2007, Nancy and Peter Muserlian purchased a 57-acre farm at the north end of Cazenovia Lake. Their vision was to create a family legacy project that would bring their family and other families together for casual gatherings and special occasions. Owera was conceived by and for family, and that feeling of family extends to every guest and each employee at Owera Vineyards.

As with many start-up vineyards, their wine making operation started with small beginnings. Peter dreamed of planting grapes and making wine, while Nancy thought to herself, ‘I just like to drink Chardonnay!’ She was not sure wine grown and produced locally would be good, but they decided to give it a try. They had their first official crush in 2010.

Muserlian family

In 2012, they broke ground on a tasting room and wine production facility as well as an event and promotional center to help promote the sale of their wines. That significant undertaking resulted in the Owera you see today, with recent additions of the barn and new barrel room.

It’s been a long journey with many unexpected twists and turns along the way. Despite the challenges, every step of the journey has been worthwhile. The old friends and new faces we greet every day at Owera has created a legacy that goes well beyond the buildings, the grounds and the grapes.

For us, the vineyard is about more than fine wine, great food and a spectacular setting; it’s about creating a place where people can gather, enjoy great company and make memories.

At Owera Vineyards, wine is family.

Farm Winery

Our 57-acre farm winery was built to produce balanced wines that are both approachable and award winning. We make a number of our wines from our own grapes and others from grapes acquired from our friends at other vineyards throughout New York State. Our production facility features the latest in modern winemaking equipment and consistently operates at full capacity under the watchful eye of Amy Heiderich, our talented winemaker. From crushing to fermentation to aging, the focus is always on producing the highest quality wine possible.

farm

Our vineyard is a combination of Minnesota cold hardy varietals, Frontenac Gris (think Riesling with pineapple overtones), LaCrescent (think apricot and citrus) and Frontenac (deep garnet color and blackberry flavor). We chose to plant these specific grapes in the summer of 2008 and in 2016 for one very important reason. Unlike our good friends in the Finger Lakes, we do not have the luxury of having deep lakes and the prevailing southeast wind of Lake Ontario to create an insulating microclimate. Cazenovia sits approximately 1,450 feet above sea level and the lake is very shallow (only 65 feet) in comparison to other nearby lakes. In other words, we planted grapes that are rated down to -40F to insulate ourselves from the cold evenings and frost.

Owera Family

Amy Heiderich

Winemaker

New to the wine industry, Amy Heiderich has added to the growing number of female winemakers in New York State. A native of Utica, NY, Amy attended Mohawk Valley Community College, SUNY Institute of Technology, and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, earning a master’s degree in Environmental Studies. With previous experience in controlled environment agriculture, Amy came to Owera to assist in the garden and vineyard. It quickly became apparent that her true talent and passion were in the cellar, and the lab. Working under the consultation of Peter Bell, Head Winemaker at Fox Run Vineyards, Amy has developed the skills required to produce award-winning wines. Her attention to detail in both the lab and the cellar combined with science and passion to produce high quality wines that represent the excellent qualities of Finger Lakes grapes show in the quality of Owera wines.

In her free time, Amy enjoys walking, hiking, kayaking, swimming, gardening, sitting by campfires, visiting the Adirondacks, spending time with her family and pets, eating good food and drinking good wine produced in New York State (especially Dry Rieslings).

Favorite Wine: Dry Riesling

More +

Tim Landers

Farm Manager

Tim has been in excavation and farm business since 1991, and first started working with the Finger Lakes wine industry in 2006; where he designed and installed a vineyard in Jamesville. He joined Owera Vineyards in 2009, and has lead our team in harvest season ever since. When Tim isn’t out in the vines, you can find him enjoying time with his two boys Kody and Cory, playing basketball, baseball and fishing.

Favorite Wine: Frontenac Gris.

More +

Jordan Latanzio

Event Coordinator

As a recent addition to our events team, Jordan joins Owera with a fresh background in hospitality and events. In 2012, she graduated with high honors from Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, FL, earning a Bachelor's Degree in Resort Hospitality and Management. Upon graduation, Jordan began her career as a claim adjuster at ProSight Specialty Insurance, in New Jersey. Within months she started handling their large corporate events.
After leaving ProSight, Jordan worked at Chocodiem, a Belgium Chocolatier shop, where she handled everything from bridal showcases to wine and chocolate parties.
Jordan has always had a passion for travel. She worked with United Airlines for two years as she was able to see various parts of the world.
Throughout her experiences in hospitality, she realized her true passion was centered in the event-planning aspects of her career. In 2017, she was welcomed into the Owera Vineyards family as Event Coordinator. She hopes to continue to facilitate weddings and special events at Owera for years to come.
In her free time, Jordan enjoys the gym and being outdoors. She also enjoys vacations at the beach, hanging out with friends and family, and making sure her house is always clean.
Favorite Wine: Owahgena Red

More +

Jane Muserlian

Event Coordinator

After graduating from Berkshire Community College in early childhood education, Jane worked at various childcare centers in both Massachusetts and Syracuse, NY. In April 2013, she decided to become more involved in her family’s vineyard. Jane works in all areas at Owera and is learning different aspects of running a vineyard. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time at her Cazenovia Lake house boating, and having a good time. She is of Janey's Dry Rose fame.

Favorite Wine: Janey's Rose

More +

Nancy Muserlian

Owner

Born and raised in Auburn, New York, Nancy is the fourth daughter of the five children of Betty (Betty's White Wine fame) and Bill Greene. Moving to the Syracuse area in 1981 for a new job, she met and married her husband and subsequently raised a son and daughter. She works part-time for Weight Watchers as a motivational leader, as well as participates in many sports, but mostly enjoys time spent with her family, friends, birthday group of girlfriends, book club, and of course, drinking really good wine.

Favorite Wine: Betty's White

More +

Dawn Schmidt

General Manager

Dawn first joined the hospitality industry in 1989, and brings years of experience and professionalism to the Owera team. A native of Iowa, she graduated from Buena Vista University with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. Soon after, Dawn moved to Atlanta, Georgia where she began a career as an Event Coordinator. Her event experience comes from working with Helene & Company, Inc. and as a freelance coordinator in high-end events. In addition, she has aquired several years of upper managment experience in a variety of fields. Dawn relocated to Chittenango, New York, with her husband and three sons to be closer to family. She enjoys volunteering in her community, being outdoors in the fresh air, sipping on Teddy’s Red and singing the Blues.

Favorite Wine: Teddy's Red

More +

Community Involvement

At Owera, we believe in the importance of being connected to and giving back to our community, and are involved with a variety of local organizations. We take part in the annual Syracuse Samaritan Center “Pour” event, which raises money to help the hungry and those in need in Central New York. We also work with and/or regularly give to Clear Path for Veterans in Chittenango, NY, Hopeprint in Syracuse, NY, David’s Refuge in Manlius, NY and the Community Action Partnership. For more information about these organizations, visit:

Owera is also a member of several organizations promoting locally-made products and local tourism, including the Cazenovia Beverage Trail, Brew Central, Syracuse First and Social Media Breakfast Syracuse. For more information about these organizations, visit: