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About Us

Looking to Our Past to Forge Our Future

The Cupola is one of the few, if not the final, structure that represents the early wine and grape industry of Yates County. Restoring this piece of our past; telling the story of vineyards, wineries, fruit growers, basket factories, steamboats, the Keuka Outlet Canal, the railways, and sharing the stories of our past will educate and inspire students, residents, and visitors.

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Our Story

In 2013, Steve Knapp was inspired to save the Empire State Wine Co. Cupola. The cupola had been set aside during the demolition of the Empire State Wine / American Legion Post 355 building in 1990. Steve created an Advisory Board, started the Facebook page, and with the help of Jeff Johnstone established the Cupola Restoration Project of Penn Yan, NY as a 501(c)3.  Since then, we formed the current Board of Directors, sought a final site, reached out to the Village of Penn Yan and Yates County for support and got approval from the NYS Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation to move forward with the project.

Along the way architects Richard Osgood, Jr. and Blake Held consulted on the site plan and restoration options. Engineer Gerald Kernahan and George Dornburger facilitated a SWOT analysis that renewed our focus post-pandemic. We are eager to see the Cupola restored and placed as an iconic structure at the gateway to the Penn Yan business district. The location at Angler Boat Park will be accessible by all and a site to learn about our rich industrial and economic growth.

Meet The Team

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Steve Knapp

Founder & President


Marsha Devine


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Mary Worth

Board member 

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Chad Peek

Board Member

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Jeff Johnstone

Vice President

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Dick Murphy


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Marla Hedworth

Board Member

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