In 1974, the Lucas Family followed their dream and moved from New York City borough of the Bronx to Finger Lakes located in upstate New York. Farm advisors told the Lucas' they could make a good living on their 68-acre farm by growing grapes for one of the big wineries in Hammondsport. They planted their first vines in 1975 and trucked their first crop to the Taylor winery in 1978. At Taylor, the Lucas' watched in dismay as their carefully nurtured, hand-picked grapes were dumped into giant hoppers with truckload of grapes from other growers. A highlight of the Lucas' grape growing days was when they sold their Cayuga White grapes to Glenora Wine Cellars. Glenora produced the very first Cayuga White commercial wine from Lucas Vineyards grapes.
The Lucas' opened their own winery in 1980, on Cayuga Lake. Their debut vintage of 400 cases won gold and silver medals at the NY State Fair Wine Competition. Lucas Vineyards most known wines are the Tug Boat wines. The nautical wines are named after one of the Founders occupation as a Tug Boat Captain in the New York Harbor. In the early years, consumer interest in the Tug Boat Wines kept the winery afloat. Wine production has risen to 17,000 cases (approx. 40,000 gallons), mostly from estate grown grapes. Today the business is owned and managed by Ruth Lucas who is also the Winemaker. The two Lucas daughters, Ruthie and Stephanie, are employed full time by the winery as is Stephanie's husband, Jeff.