Retiree Profile: Carol Doolittle

After working for the State Agriculture Department for 11 years and in Media Services at Cornell for 21 years it was time to take early retirement provided by the buy-out of Tier I. I didn’t have to look far to enjoy retirement since the reason my husband, a CALS grad, and I moved here was to plant a vineyard, start a winery and enjoy the lifestyle of a vintner!  So we purchased land and started Frontenac Point Vineyard – Estate Winery in 1979.

I was fortunate to work with creative people in CALS, Human Ecology and Cooperative Extension. While picking grapes by hand in the rain, the thought occurred to me that staying in the office at Cornell might have been a better choice. But, owning and operating a small vineyard and winery complements my life.  Now I have the flexibility to volunteer with organizations like the Gemm Shop, in Trumansburg. This all-volunteer run store recycles gently used clothes and home items. Sales proceeds go to community organizations such as the Food Pantry and College Scholarships for local high school seniors.

I also work with the Seneca White Deer Board of Directors. This all-volunteer organization took on the tourist aspect of the world’s largest herd of white, white-tail deer in the world!  Go to senecawhitedeer.org  to see behind the fence of the infamous Seneca Army Depot where the deer live in the wild and find out how you can take a guided tour. The New York Wine Industry Association also lets me do their PR. This statewide organization of wineries, grape growers and allied businesses works with legislators to address issues confronting wineries and consumers. Currently we’re working on stopping a waste incinerator from being built in Romulus to stop potential pollution to our lakes and environment.

Traveling to wine regions all over the world and being active in the New York Farm Bureau takes up the rest of my time, along with long walks with our two rescue dogs.  Retire?  Seriously?  Never.

A sign saying "Frontenac Point Vineyard"
Frontenac Point Vineyard est. 1979

Frontenac Vineyard overlooking Cayuga lake
The vineyards overlooking Cayuga Lake

Carol standing in front of a statue on her estate
Carol, Lawrence, and Jim Doolittle on the winery deck overlooking the vineyard and Cayuga Lake at Frontenac Point Vineyard - Estate Winery.  Stay Sail, a 10-foot tall kinetic sound sculpture is behind them. The statue was created for the winery  by Canadian artist Don Dickson.