Wine Tasting in New York State

By Lilly


“Fill high the cup with Seneca wine!”  While Lord Byron might not have used those exact words (he said Samian, not Seneca), I would. It is a lovely treat during the autumn in New York State to go on a wine tour or tasting and I was fortunate enough to spend my weekend doing just that.

In the Finger Lake region, which is approximately a 50 minute drive from Rochester, quality vineyards are blossoming. 

There are dozens of wineries and breweries located around the Canandaigua, Keuka, Seneca and Cayuga Lakes with vines planted decades ago.  These fruit of these vines are now helping the vineyards come into their own with tasty and unique treats of a wide variety; depending on the individual owner’s preferences and choices in products to offer to customers, you might be able to sample wine, beer, liquor or jellies, cheeses and breads.  I was able to go to vineyards that strictly bottled wine, a distillery for various flavored and pure liquors, and a wine compound of sorts that had three vineyards and microbrewery united as one brand.

On a beautiful fall day with the leaves changing colors to goldenrod, crimson and burgundy, one can take a limousine or drive him or herself with friends through the beautiful lake vistas – something that I can attest you will not get in California wine country.  This wine region is known more for sweeter wines, Rieslings and Chardonnays mostly, so someone with a passion for dry wine or the more full-bodied reds can expect to sample better whites than the alternative.  However, I can say that I was pleasantly surprised by some of my selections as a fan of dry wines and that ice wine is something you should sample if you’re able as it’s unique to this region as well.  One of my favorite discoveries for the entire day was trying spiced, warm wine.  It was offered at only one or two of the vineyards we visited and was quite comforting during the bright, chilly afternoon. DSCN0675

More often than not, the actual vintner, his spouse or some other relative or close personal friend will be the one serving you your tasting, explaining the process or showing you the inside workings of this chosen passion.  The individual tastings range in cost from free to $3, but the price is a steal for the experience.  There are numerous routes one can take and information can be found online. 

The Simon School is fortunate to have a wine-oriented club on campus begun just a few years ago.  The UnCorked Club allows students to sample wines from all over, helping them to learn which wines are appropriate for different food items and generally teaching and encouraging an  appreciation for wine.  They have recently purchased a wine cellar.

While some are fond of Spanish wine and some of French, I’m quite fond of my new purchases from New York this past weekend and encourage others to take advantage while the weather is perfect and the wine hasn’t sold out.


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