OUR PEOPLE

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OUR TEAM

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Margot Federkiel—Winemaker

Originally from the East Coast, Margot earned her Enology and Viticulture degree at the California State University in Fresno. After graduation, she worked in Napa where she worked her way up from winery intern to cellar work to enologist.

 

From Napa, she moved to the Anderson Valley, a region known for their Pinot Noir and Alsatian white wines. It was there that she honed her techniques across a broad spectrum, making everything from grape juice to sparkling, still, and dessert wines. In 2015, Margot moved to Carmel Valley and was Winemaker at Heller Estate Organic Vineyard until late 2018 when she headed east to be near family. Missing the wine industry, Margot took a job as a winemaker in Ohio where she encountered a range of hybrid and native grapes in addition to the classic vinifera grapes. 

 

In addition to her wealth of winemaking knowledge, Margot brings experience as a cheesemaker, a wine list curator, a furniture restorer, fermented food maker, and more. Her dog Hawk can be seen trotting through the vineyard or more likely napping in the lab.

Katie CochraneCellar Master & Marketing Manager

Katie arrived at Keuka Lake Vineyards after working the 2020 harvest at Red Newt Cellars in Hector, NY, and years spent in breweries around the U.S. and abroad. She earned a degree in Food Science at Penn State, then worked in the lab at Tröegs Brewing in Hershey, PA, before attending the Siebel Institute in Chicago and Munich to study beer and brewing. From there, Katie moved to Denver where she brewed first for Great Divide and then TRVE. She returned to the east coast to join the Mikkeller NYC team to open the brewery at Citi Field. While living in New York City, she also worked at a number of beer bars and taprooms. She was afforded the opportunity with Carton Brewing in New Jersey to lead a fledgling sour and experimental brewing program where she worked until pandemic-related closures left her looking for a new direction.

Her focus on mixed culture fermentation and sour beers led to an interest in winemaking. "I was using cabernet franc and syrah barrels, sangiovese puncheons, merlot pomace, riesling juice, and I couldn't tell you anything about the specific history of these grapes. I just knew I loved the aromas, the depth and complexity they gave my beers and that I wanted to learn more." 

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Carla Lederman—Tasting Room Manager

A Finger Lakes native, Carla Lederman's passion for wine comes to her as naturally as her love of fishing on Keuka Lake and estate sales treasure hunting.

 

Before working in the wine industry, Carla worked for years as a paralegal. She moved to Hammondsport in 2016 and took up part-time work in the Keuka Lake tasting room of Ravines Wine Cellars. In 2017, Carla joined our tasting room team and quickly became a fixture at the winery. In the summer of 2021, craving a change of pace, she decided to take the leap away from private practice law firms and full-time into wine and hospitality as our tasting room manager.

 

When she isn't educating guests, managing online orders, or even hopping on the bottling line, Carla enjoys spending time on the lake with her partner, daughter, and two dogs.

Mel Goldman—Owner and Vineyard Manager

On a family camping trip that included a college visit to Cornell University in 1992, Mel and his wife Dorothee fell in love with the Finger Lakes and felt inspired to realize their dream to plant a vineyard. After a career working in industrial and agricultural development in both in the US and in developing countries—time spent on a friend's grain farm in Michigan, a kibbutz specializing in table grapes in Israel, work through the Peace Corps in Nepal—Mel took early retirement and moved to the region in 1997. They purchased a few acres of the old Taylor vineyard and established Keuka Lake Vineyards.

 

Mel's first plantings were Riesling and Pinot Noir vines. A small patch of vineyards served as his stand alone operation for a few years, selling grapes. After making a trial batch of wine with a neighboring winemaker. Mel and Dorothee carried bottles to France to share. The feedback was not merely diplomatic, and the wine was highly praised in blind tasting. So Mel set out to make wine.

 

The first vintage in 2005 was made for the winery under the guidance of Morten Hallgren of Ravines Wine Cellars fame. Mel tried his hand at winemaking for a couple of years and realized the importance of employing a top class trained winemaker if he wanted to make wines worthy of KLV grapes.

Today Mel enjoys the lively activity in managing Keuka Lake Vineyards. Visitors to the winery, however, know that he frequently makes time to discuss the wines and vineyards.