Sayre Fulkerson with his wife Nancy, opened the winery in 1989 with a release of only 1,000 cases of wine. This was a logical expansion from their beginning venture of selling grape juice when they acquired Jensen Juice from Glenora Wine Cellars in 1979. They gradually built a customer base that exceeds 4,800 home winemakers today.
Sayre, also the winemaker, has slowly increased the production of wine over the ensuing years to maintain the distinctive fine quality that has awarded his wines with hundreds of medals. He currently produces 14,000 cases annually for retail and wholesale use.
Sayre graduated from Cornell in 1975 with a degree in pomology, the study of fruit production. He began his career in winemaking at Glenora Wine Cellars as an assistant to John Williams, presently at Frogs Leap in California. Nancy graduated from Elmira College and handles the financial end of their business.
The vineyards are a mix of well known grapes and some lesser known varieties that he has introduced to his wine list such as Traminette, Dornfelder, Vincent and Himrod, known and loved as Matinee. He also grows varieties exclusively for his juice customers.
All this hard work has generated a successful enterprise that demanded more room. Construction of a new building, on the same site as the old one, began in May 2004. The new Fulkerson Winery tasting room, expanded juice plant and retail/gift shop opened on February 18th, 2005 to great acclaim and fan fare.