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Finger Lakes, NY - Wines and Vineyards

My husband and I are visiting the Finger Lakes wine region for the first time and would love to hear from others about the area. Can anyone recommend a favorite (regional) wine, a preferred Vineyard or perhaps a great place to eat? If so, I'd love to hear your thoughts! Thank you

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  1. I'm not sure what ambiance you and your husband would be looking for or what lake you'd prefer to visit, but I recently went on a bachelorette wine tour a few weekends ago around Seneca Lake. I visited the Three Brothers vineyard first, with their sibling War Horse Brewery, for the first time. There are three separate wineries on the premises that all carry a different feel. I would rank Stoney Lonesome as it's more "sophisticated" and upscale vineyard, with Passion Feet following, and then Bagg Dare as it's risque/fun/quirky vineyard (all the wines have silly names and the staff is young and energetic). I'm 25 years old and liked the 3 Brothers Wineries the best. I'm not sure if your husband is into his brews, but War Horse Brewery makes a fantastic Riesling Ale that I believe can only be made in the Finger Lakes of NY. After all, the are is notorious for their Rieslings.

    I also visited Fulkerson Vineyard and Earle Estates whose wines were all pleasant, as well as Fox Run Winery which I preferred second behind the 3 Brothers. At the end of the wine tour, I visited Glenora which is said to be the Finger Lakes' oldest vineyard. The view from the property over Seneca Lake is breathtaking, although the actual construction and architecture of the building is dull. I didn't care for the tasting rooms either, although I feel as though our group (large, of 16 women), were probably placed in a backroom that's rarely used for most customers.

    I'm a very large fan of the Niagara grape, who's residual sugar levels are innately high. As I stated before, the Finger Lakes region has some of the best Rieslings in the world for this reason. If you're looking for dry reds, don't be disappointed if you don't find many that you like, or even at all. However, the vineyards around Keuka Lake are a bit more popular for Merlots and Cabernet Sauvignon's compared to vineyards around the other lakes. But I'd save tasting those for a trip out to Napa Valley, CA (Sterling Vineyard!).

    I also visited the Finger Lakes Wine Festival at Watkins Glen Raceway for the first time this summer and tasted a Traminette from Bagley's Vineyard that I thought was out of this world. Americana Winery makes a great white called Apparition as well. Other types of wine to keep an eye open for are the Gewurtztraminers and honey meads.

    Hope I helped! :)

    1. Wine: Whites best, riesling, gewurz, vignoles. Reds OK in a warm vintage, esp. Cab Franc and Pinot Noir. Eat at Dano's, Red Newt or Stone Cat on the east shore of Seneca or Hazelnut Kitchen if you are over by Cayuga. Please do a search on Finger Lakes on this board and you will get many opinions about wineries, etc. Oh, I don't agree with much that r0xyyyy says above!

      1 Reply
      1. re: jmoryl

        Not sure which parts you didn't agree with. It was mostly personal opinion based on a summer filled with first-time experience of the Finger Lakes. However, attending the Finger Lakes wine festival did vastly broaden my horizon in a very, very hands-on way. The majority of facts that I stated above were based entirely on and/or taken straight from winery staff around the Finger Lakes.

      2. Both r0xyyyy and jmoryl make some fine points. "Best" is so personal. No two people will have the same list.

        Here are a few of my suggestions...

        Keuka Lake:
        Dr Konstantin Frank - Rkatseteli
        Hunt Country - Late Harvest Vignoles and Valvin Muscat

        Seneca Lake:
        Chateau LaFayette Reneau
        Anthony Road - Vignoles
        Hermann J. Wiemer - Riesling
        Lamoreaux Landing - Chardonay
        Earle Estates Meadery - Honey meads, melomels, and pyments

        Cayuga Lake:
        Bellwether Cidery - awesome varietal ciders

        I'm sure I am forgetting more favorites and a few friends, my apologies.

        To Eat
        Ithaca NY:
        Just A Taste, or Maxies
        Trumansburg:
        Hazelnut Kitchen

        If time allows:
        the Corning Glass Museum is wonderful.

        Search this board for more threads. Also there are a few tourism sites like
        http://www.fingerlakeswinecountry.com
        http://senecalakewine.com/jc/
        http://flcb.org/web/

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        Just A Taste
        116 N Aurora St, Ithaca, NY 14850

        Maxie's Supper Club & Oyster Bar
        635 W State St, Ithaca, NY 14850

        Hazelnut Kitchen
        53 E Main St, Trumansburg, NY 14886

        1. It would help if we had more info - the FLX is a pretty large area. Where are you staying and how long? As a whole, Keuka Lake has generally the best wines (Ravines & Dr. Frank's are a must for both reds & whites). Seneca has the most wineries, but one third of them should be avoided. For reds, we like Kings Garden, Lamoreaux Landing, Chateau Lafayette Reneau, Damiani's, Shaw, and Bloomer Creek; for whites, it's Lakewood, Atwater, and Standing Stone. Around Seneca, our favorite restaurants are Suzanne's, Stonecat Cafe, Dano's, Red Newt, Ports Cafe, and Halsey's. BTW, typically the best white and reds are rieslings & cab francs. As for Cayuga Lake, the preferred wineries include Sheldrake Point (which also has a wonderful bistro - Simply Red) and Six Mile. Ithaca has tons of dining options. Our faves are Just a Taste, Maxie's, Za-Za's, Fine Line Bistro, and North Star Pub. Hazelnut Kitchen in Trumansburg is excellent also. Those are the big 3 lakes - haven't ventured to Canandaigua or Skaneatles yet.

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          Stonecat Cafe
          Hector, NY, Hector, NY

          Keuka Restaurant
          12 Main St, Penn Yan, NY 14527

          Sheldrake Point Cafe
          7448 County Rd 153, Interlaken, NY 14847

          North Star Restaurant
          85 Westchester Ave, Pound Ridge, NY 10576

          Fine Line Bistro
          404 W State St, Ithaca, NY 14850

          Hazelnut Kitchen
          53 E Main St, Trumansburg, NY 14886

          1. Glenora is my favorite. I like their Reisling and Gewurtztraminer.

            I enjoyed lunch at Bluewater Grill in Skaneateles. Food is great and the ambiance is terrific. It is like eating on the deck of a cruise ship since it is based on a wide jetty extending into the lake.

            ~Fred19

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            Bluewater Grill
            2 Oswego St Ste 102, Baldwinsville, NY 13027