Prejean Vineyards

Prejean - 2011 Late Harvest Vignoles


  • Award Winning Wines Since 1986

Additional Information

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Average Bottle Price

$ 12


Our winemaker, Jim Zimar, is a journey man in every sense of the word. He started in the wine business as a teenager, picking rocks out of vineyards, picking grapes and bundling up grape canes, after which he vowed he would never step foot in a vineyard again. He has hardly left since. He went on to be a tour guide at both Great Western and Bully Hill eventually moving into the cellar. He was briefly the vineyard manager at Plane’s Vineyards and has been Winemaker at Prejean Winery ever since, his first vintage being 1986.


As often happens with a winery, someone starts with a dream, and for James and Elizabeth Prejean that dream began in California. Jim was born in Carencro, LA and ended up in California the hard way, wounded in a hospital. The USS Cushing, his previous home, was sunk in WWII in the Battle of Guadalcanal and he was severely wounded. After college, he began his career in labor relations. Jim and Elizabeth met on an airplane where Elizabeth worked as a flight attendant and Jim was traveling on business. They married not long after and lived in San Francisco. The short ride from San Francisco to wine country kindled the dream. Jim’s career with American Can took them far away from wine country and brought them eventually to Connecticut in 1974. Jim discovered the Finger Lakes wine industry during business trips to the Finger Lakes and the dream was rekindled. Jim and Elizabeth decided to “retire” to a winery. In 1978, they purchased 53 acres and planted the first 13 in 1979. Traveling from Connecticut on the weekends, they worked the farm for 6 years until, in 1985 they took up permanent residence and built the winery. Prejean winery opened officially in 1986. Sadly, Jim died suddenly in 1989, but he was fortunate enough to see his dream realized. He was quite proud of their accomplishments, and even though he only lived for three years after the winery’s opening, he touched many people.

Tom, his wife Amy and Elizabeth, along with Winemaker Jim Zimar, and our friendly, knowledgeable tasting room staff are running the winery now and, hopefully, maintaining Jim Prejean’s passion.

The Team

Tom Prejean worked on and off in the vineyards from the beginning returning, full time in 1989. He does a little bit of everything from helping out with bottling, crush, to working in the tasting room and office. Luckily he has plenty of people working for him who really know what they’re doing including his wife Amy who helps in the tasting room and with the many regulatory issues that plague our tiny business.

Our tasting room staff will make your visit educational, entertaining and memorable.

Estate Vineyards / AVA

Prejean Winery grows eight grape varieties that originated in Europe: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay, and two varieties, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris that have yet to bear a crop (it takes approximately 3-5 years for vines to produce fruit). Europe, and generally the French model, was the foundation of the modern wine industry. The regions defined the wines. Bordeaux and Burgundy and Champagne are regions, as well as wines. Each of these regions has grapes that are indigenous to these regions. Bordeaux, for example, grows Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet France, Petite Verdot and Malbec and the wines of Bordeaux are blends, in varying amounts, of these grape varietals. This is the tradition that has been handed down, in some case, for almost a thousand years. But the New World locations had no such history or wine regions – they were blank slates. Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are planted throughout every major wine region and in some cases have become commodities.


Prejean Winery’s 2012 Riesling won a Gold medal in The Finger Lakes International Wine Competition And Gold in the San Diego Wine Competition!


1 Review
Becky  Whistler Becky Whistler
Penn Yan, New York
Best winery in New York!

My husband and I really enjoyed our trip to this beautiful winery in Penn Yan, New York! We already have recommended this location to our family and friends. They have delicious red wines and they are pet friendly! I loved it!

December 2014

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1 Review


2634 Rte 14
Penn Yan, New York 14527
United States

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