Seneca Lake Wine Trail Presents

Profile: Tito Chavez

Tito Chavez is the Assistant Winemaker at Anthony Road Wine Company, a position he took in late 2022.

Essentially raised among the vines of the Finger Lakes, Tito has years of experience in the vineyards and he is a man of many talents and experiences. Let’s learn more about him in our latest profile. Read on and enjoy getting to know Tito!

You could say that the wine industry is in Tito’s blood. His father came to the United States in 1989, from Mexico, to create a better life or himself and the family he hoped to have.

He settled in the Finger Lakes and began working in the vineyards for many grape growers and wine producers. Tito shares, “At one point or another, my family has worked in just about every vineyard in the Finger Lakes.”

His father’s love for vineyard work seeped into Tito and his brother, he adds, “I was practically babysat in the vineyard. I got to learn so much about the grape growing and vineyard side of the industry; everything from establishing a vineyard to grape harvest.”

But Tito always felt like something was missing. That something was the winemaking side of the process. In his junior year of high school (he attended Penn Yan High School, just a few miles west of Seneca Lake), he was involved in Future Farmers of America and with FFA, he took a field trip to tour Finger Lakes Communication College’s Viticulture & Enology Center in Geneva, New York (at the northern tip of Seneca Lake).

With that experience and that of his youth, the fire was officially burning. Ever a go-getter, in his junior year of high school Tito reached out to Steve Shaw at Shaw Vineyards, and asked to help a few days with harvest. That further stoked his interest and so he went on to attend and graduate from FLCC’s Viticulture and Wine Technology Program. During that time he also interned at various wineries and vineyards in the region, but spent most of his time at Wagner Vineyards. He credits his time in the cellar there with Kevin Lee and Jess Johnson, teaching him so much about the winemaking process and helping to drive his passion.

So what made him choose to stay here? It seems the choice was easy, “What really made me choose the wine industry here on Seneca Lake is the realization that there really is no other place in the world like this. We get all four seasons, the lake never freezes, it’s a very diverse area with lots of great local restaurants and things to do.”

In addition, the camaraderie sets this area apart. “The willingness to help, the praise, and the advice is what I see firsthand from growers, winemakers, and owners on Seneca Lake. This is something I definitely notice being so young and it makes me want to be a part of this community.”

When he’s not at work in the vineyards or cellar at Anthony Road, Tito enjoys watching and playing soccer, hunting and fishing, spending time with his family, and oh yeah, he’s also a real estate agent. Talk about a man of many talents and interests.

Thanks for sharing your story with us, Tito!

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