Our History

Our History

Peter Oughterson was born and raised on the West side of Seneca Lake. He received his degree in Agricultural Engineering from Cornell University and worked all over the country for vineyards and produce companies. He later returned to the Finger Lakes to work for Hermann Wiemer in his vineyard nursery business, before becoming wine maker and vineyard manager for the winery. In 2001 he left Wiemer’s to pursue the start of his own winery, Highland Cellars. Peter produced the wine for Highland Cellars out of a tank room at his home, and a warehouse building in Dundee, NY. Later he would build a warehouse across the road from his family home in Rock Stream. The tasting room was constructed in 2002 on Route 14 in Dundee in conjunction with the Kendall family and Hickory Hollow Winery, which Peter also makes the wine for. Peter’s wines have received dozens of awards and ratings from wine publications. Today, you can find these wines distributed in every county in New York State.

When Peter was first starting Highland Cellars winery, he formed the same concern that countless owners have had. “How am I going to get this wine into the bottle efficiently and for minimal expense?” Hand bottling takes a frustrating amount of time, and often results in inconsistent results. A bottling line is too expensive to justify on a winery with small production. Peter consulted many other wineries about the issue of bottling and a solution was created. “People kept telling me, if I buy a bottling line and put it in a trailer; they would hire me to bottle their wine.” It wasn’t a new idea; there are many operating mobile lines in the United States, specifically in California. But yet no one had brought the service to New York. With enough approval and commitment from wineries across the Finger Lakes, Peter put together New York’s first mobile bottling line.

Over the past 15 years Peter has bottled for more than 50 wineries and 18 million bottles of wine. In 2010, his son Gage, started working on the line during his summer break from high school. He continued to help during the summers throughout high school and college. In 2015, Gage graduated from Ithaca College with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and joined his father’s business. He would take over wholesale duties, working with the distributor and traveling across the state, selling wine to liquor stores and restaurants. Later in 2015, Gage had the idea to start a mobile packaging solution for breweries and cideries. The decision was made to go with a canning line over bottles after talking to many local brewers and cider makers. The industry seems to be heading towards cans because of their ability to preserve freshness and the material cost is beginning to drop.

Today the father and son team operate the two mobile lines and produce and sell wine for two separate labels. Highland Cellars has quickly distinguished itself as one of the pioneer producers and contributors to growth in the Finger Lakes Wine Region.

Highland Cellars Winery

Phone: (607)-731-3843 | Email: gage_highlandcellars@yahoo.com