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Meet the winemakers

Steve DiFrancesco

Steve is the Head Winemaker for Glenora Wine Cellars. Steve earned his degree in Biology from Stetson University and has since enjoyed 40 harvests in the Finger Lakes, plus one in Chile.

Steve started his winemaking career in the late 1970s, working with Guy DeVaux and Charles Fournier at Gold Seal Vineyards and their excellent sparkling wines. While at Gold Seal, Steve did critical research on secondary fermentations that was later applied to mainstream production. He experimented with the production of sparkling wines using unique grape varieties, as well.

Steve became the assistant winemaker at Glenora in the late 1980s as part of an ambitious expansion program with an emphasis on Sparkling Wines. In 1995, Steve was promoted to head winemaker. Riesling is at the forefront of production for Steve, along with other aromatic white vinifera wines, sparkling wines, and barrel aged red wines.

Steve is a very friendly and personable winemaker, and he enjoys talking 'shop' with visitors and other winemakers.  Hopefully, you will get a chance to meet Steve in person!


Rachel Hadley

Rachel Hadley joined Glenora Wine Cellars in August 2017 as Associate Winemaker at both Glenora and sister winery Knapp Winery, working in tangent with our winemaker Steve DiFrancesco at both wineries. Rachel previously worked as assistant winemaker at Keuka Springs Vineyard and her experiences in the industry include internships and vintages abroad at Framingham Wines of New Zealand and Jim Barry Wines in the Clare Valley of Australia working with aromatic whites, particularly Riesling. 

At Glenora and Knapp, Rachel works with a wide variety of vineyard sites allowing her to showcase the both the big picture of wine stylistically in the Finger Lakes as well as focus in on interesting and different projects to show where the region may be heading in the future. She is able to draw from Steve's knowledge and experience, while bringing fresh eyes and ideas to the wineries.

In Rachel’s eyes, “Learning how others do things differently from yourself is essential to excelling in any field–and the best way to do that is to travel and work and speak directly with others. There’s no substitute for that knowledge.” 

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