- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 9, 2006

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — Willy Frank, a winemaker whose war-refugee father ushered in the vinifera revolution in the eastern United States by proving in the 1960s that the delicate European grapes could be grown in a cool climate, died March 7. He was 80.

Mr. Frank died in his sleep in Naples, Fla., while on a business trip aimed at expanding sales of his family’s wines, said his son, Frederick Frank, president of Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars in New York’s grape-growing Finger Lakes region.

In 1984, Willy Frank took charge of his father’s celebrated winery high above Keuka Lake. Konstantin Frank, a World War II refugee from Ukraine, had hauled the Finger Lakes into the modern era by successfully cultivating vinifera grapes in a region where winter temperatures commonly drop to 15 below zero.

Willy Frank transformed the vineyard from an experimental station into a profitable winery, turning out gold-medal red and sparkling wines every bit as exquisite as his father’s still whites.

Of New York’s 212 wineries, more than half now grow viniferas.


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