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May 4, 2009 06:55 PM

Which vineyards in SE Seneca Lake in Finger Lakes to visit?

In a couple of weeks we are going to SE Seneca Lake (Hector, just north of Watkins Glen) for a very brief weekend (driving up Friday morning, leaving Sunday morning), from NYC. With the driving, we will really only have one full day up there, on Saturday.
I'd like to hit the gorge in the morning and spend the rest of the day exploring vineyards and wine tastings in the immediate area, since we are short on time.
But even in this area, it seems there are lots of wineries to choose from, I was hoping someone could offer direction. We love dry rieslings but are open to all types of wines. Atmosphere is also important, part of the fun is viewing lush vineyards. Can anyone suggest a route?
In addition to the vineyard, if anyone has ideas of where to pick up supplies for a picnic, or which restaurant we should hit (I believe the choices are Dano's Suzanne's Red Newt and Stone Cat)
please advise!

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  1. I have not been to the new Dano's. But he is a brilliant chef and I ate at his former restaurant for most of my "nice" meals when in collge. (He and his wonderful wife, Karen, left to create this new restaurant just as I was leaving college). Karen seriously knows her wine and I have shared many bottles and conversations with her.

    As far as wineries go. The best is Dr. Konstantin Frank. The others to strongly consider are (in rough desending order)

    Hermann J. Weimer
    Standing Stone
    Treleavan (on Cayuga, actually)
    Red Newt
    Lamoreaux Landing

    Have fun!

    1. I'm not real familiar with NY but we did swing through the Finger Lakes region last year returning from ME. If you get a chance don't miss a visit to Mackenzie-Childs. They have some cook ware but the farmhouse tour is free and very cool.

      1. It is a shame you won't have much time. The best NY State Reislings (imho) are Dr. Konstantin Frank which is in Hammondsport. They have won many awards and the view over the lake is spectacular. There are almost too many to choose from given where you are staying. My two recommendations North of where you staying are Knapp (mostly because I like their limoncello) and Wagner because they have a brewery tasting as well. You will find good to very good Reislings at almost all of the wineries though.

        1 Reply
        1. re: folprivate

          I agree about Dr Frank's. Another winery that I like is Glenora. They have very good Rieslings and a terrific Gewurztraminer.


        2. Thanks all for the replies so far, I am making a list of your favorites. From Hector, Dr. Konstantin appears to be about 2 hours roundtrip , so I'm not sure we will be able to make it there with barely a day for touring. I did go to their website and it does look amazing. Their tasting room appears to have burned down in a fire a week ago (they are still offering tastings). At minimum, we'll have to pick some of their wines up from the local shops-- I assume they all carry the locals? Thanks I am really enjoying all the posts!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Kikim

            There are a number of good wineries on the east side of Lake Seneca. Clustered pretty close together at the southeast corner is a nice selection that could keep you occupied for the day.

            My favorites are Lamoreau Landing, Atwater & Red Newt. I also like Chateau Lafayette, Leidenfrost and Wagner. Looking at the Seneca Lake Wine Trail website there are quite a few new wineries since I was last up there a number of years ago that you might want to discover.

            No need to drive all the way to Dr. Frank's given your limited time. You can easily find their wines thoughout the state anyway whereas these others are not so widely distributed.

            I haven't eaten in either restaurant yet but at a Pasta and Wine tasting a few years back Atwater had their nibble catered by Stone Cat and that was my favorite and I believe the winning vote getter.

          2. Seneca Lake has a lot of good wineries, so no real need to make it over to Dr. Franks. The south east stretch of the lake (from Lamoreaux to Atwater approx.) is sometimes refered to as the 'banana belt' because of the (relatively) warm growing conditions. On that side I would recommend Lamoreaux, Silver Thread (organic), Standing Stone, Red Newt and Damiani, although some of the others are good too. Dano's or Stone Cat are in this stretch, if you want to eat.

            On the other side you should stop in at Wiemer, Shaw and Anthony Road. Less good stuff to eat on that side and most of the places in Watkins Glen should be avoided (the brewpub on the main drag might be the best bet). For a dining treat, nip over to Trumansburg for dinner at Hazelnut Kitchen (, which is probably the best place to eat in the FL. There is also a branch of Gimme! coffee if you need a fix. Oh, and please post your impressions if you get a chance!

            1 Reply
            1. re: jmoryl

              IMO the best wineries are Heron Hill and Hermann J Weimar. The latter in particular has garnered good reviews in Wine Spectator etc. Their rieslings are head and shoulders above all the others I think.