Magnus Ridge History

The Story of Magnus Ridge

May 13, 1989, Sandy and Matt’s officiator joked with the couple that they would never run out of wine. Being primarily beer drinkers in their post university days, they laughed it off as a charismatic comment from their priest. It wasn’t until the mid-1990s, when they moved to upstate New York, that they found their passion for wine through the vinicultural process.

Joining a wine-making club with her colleagues at Carrier, Sandy and Matt discovered the many dimensions wine can express itself in. Between the aromatics, flavors, and textures, wine first and foremost brings people together.

In 2002, the couple, now with two children, decided to buy a forested plot on the East side of St. Route 14 in Rock Stream, spending their weekends off from work slowly clearing plots for their first vineyards. By the spring of 2005, they were ready: hand-planting each of the vines, the family wanted to ensure their production was a proper expression of their strive for quality.

In 2007, the family had their first harvest, spending 4 years perfecting their vinicultural techniques before opening their tasting room, designed by acclaimed Skaneateles architect Andy Ramsgard, in 2011. Since then, the Downey’s weekend project developed into an exquisite staple of the Finger Lakes wine industry.

Wine is many things for Sandy, Matt, their family, and all of us. It’s a beautiful partner to any dinner table, the best addition to a night-in, or a new topic to discover and learn. However you see wine, there is no doubt it is an agent to bring people together. And needless to say, Sandy and Matt will never run out of wine.