Finger Lakes AVA is located 5 hours up north away from New York. If you ever want to experience a top notch winery visit definitely consider visiting them up. I have been there a couple of times and I wish I can stay longer. Is going to take a few trips back and forth to discover all the Wineries and try all the wines. However, I have some of the tips and tricks for your next Finger Lakes wine trip below. This is one of my evergreen posts. You might want to bookmark this post as this is a list that continues to grow.
What wines to try?
According to amateurgastronomer.com, Riesling is the undisputed signature white wine grape of the Finger Lakes. But as for the signature red wine grape of this region in upstate New York, should it be Cabernet Franc or Lemberger? The answer isn’t is clear. My advice: try both and you decide. Try their reds, try their whites. Plan ahead of time. Visit as many wineries as possible in within the two sub regions of this unique vinicultural area.
How to get there?
Driving! Yes if you live in New York City my advice will be definitely get a car to drive up there. Then to move from the Wineries to the Hotel and Restaurants you will need the car as well. This is countryside so do not think that there is a bus that will take you from side to side in a timely manner as they do or they try to do in New York City. If you are coming from other states you are used to the countryside then you got this! Get your map going. Assign a Designated Driver by day so you can all visit and enjoy the wineries safely.
Finger Lakes AVA
Finger Lakes AVA encompass different wine trails that have grown throughout the centuries. It was an American Viticultural Area since 1982. Since then has grown around eleven glacial lakes thoroughly. According to wikipedia, the area around Canandaigua, Keuka, Seneca, and Cayuga Lakes contain the vast majority of vineyard plantings in the AVA often referred as “finger lakes” because of their “finger” form. Hence, around these bountiful and beautiful finger-long-shaped lakes is where the magic has happened. The vineyards have grown the best Riesling of America.
There are two sub regions in FLX: Seneca Lake AVA and Cayuga Lake AVA. There are more than 30 wineries on each sub region. For this reason you need time and good planning when visiting. The first time I visited was in 2018. I just had time to visit the Seneca Lake AVA wine trail and not even then visited all their wineries. Thereafter, I am only sharing a few and limited recommendations of the ones I visited. However, keep reading and scrolling down since I am leaving you on this post, some links to amazing articles of experts in the area that pretty much contain all the information that you need if you ever find yourself wanting to visit the area.
Seneca Lake AVA Wine Trail
We visited Seneca Lake in January 2018 and since I still hold to duplicates of bottles that I brought from there. Home of the most amazing Riesling made in America you have to try the New York expression of the varietal that holds on to the cool climate and bring up their best acidity in the grape far from those sweet Riesling you thought about. They are pretty much growing Riesling in this area but Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and Gewurtztraminer is also thriving there. Read below a summary of three of the wineries that you have to visit.
What a beautiful winery! They have a huge and amazing tasting room. It can host more than 20 tables which makes it perfect to celebrate a big wedding here. They have a beautiful terrace with an amazing view to their vineyards. They have small cheese plates and fresh oven baked pizza that pairs perfectly with their bold reds. Grab a bite, take the tasting outside and enjoy the view.
Hermann J. Weinner
The best American Riesling that I have ever had. The tasting room is cozy and modern, the service is stunning. You will have a one on one experience. They will pour to you amazing Rieslings from different vintages and different vineyards in within the same producer. They will explain their terroir and you will fall in love with their reds as well. Their vineyards are not easily accessible as those on other wineries but still you can walk through them.
I loved their Cabernet Franc. Yes their Riesling has been perfectioned by three generations but they are doing a remarkable job also with the Lemberger. They have a cozy tasting room in the patio at the vineyard level. My advice here will be do the tasting in the patio, sip and enjoy the view. You will feel inspired as you can oversee the Seneca Lake.
- Where to stay in Finger Lakes? Read all the tips from a New York native: Grapechic . In fact, the very first time I visited I followed her advice thoroughly and stayed at one of the hotels she recommended.
- Need more recommendations on vineyards to visit if you love red wine? please read this article from the experts on winetravel : winetraveler.com
- Want to know more about the unique Finger Lakes terroir? Check this post from Wine review online : The Earthly Story of the Finger Lakes: A Unique American Terroir
- Read this masterpiece written by Adrian for winetraveler.com in regards of the comparison of Old World wines to Finger Lakes Wines
Read more about tricks and tips about traveling into vineyards here
Traveling during Covid Post-Quarantine to a Winery? Read the advice here