Nestled in upstate New York between Rochester and Syracuse are a cluster of long, thin lakes known as the Finger Lakes. This region has always been recognized for the landscapes and beautiful scenery but in the last few decades, the area’s been realized as one of the best wine regions in America.
Here are seven of the best wineries in the Finger Lakes region:
Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery: Dr. Konstantin Frank is known for being at the forefront of the “vinifera revolution,” a movement that took the noble grapes of Europe and blended them with varietals that could stand cold New York winters in order to ignite the upward mobility of not only the Finger Lakes region but wineries all over the state of New York. The winery is still owned by the Frank family and maintains a philosophy of winegrowing that is focused on preserving and nurturing their vines, which are some of the oldest in the country.
Wagner Vineyards: Living in the soils of the eastern part of Seneca lake are the Wagner Vineyards, a winery that goes back five generations of the Wagner family. Since its inception in 1979, the family vineyard has grown to 250 acres, with a mass production of over 50,000 cases of wine per years. One of the unique features of the Wagner Vineyards (and there are many) is that they are also an award winning brewery, producing their very own craft beers right on the premises at the Wagner Valley Brewing Co.
Sheldrake Point Winery: Although it’s a few years younger than the rest, with the first vines being planted in 1997, Sheldrake Point Winery has made a name for itself among the Finger Lakes. Their unique location at the edge of Cayuga Lake provides what they call the “Sheldrake effect,” which comes from the extremely deep waters that heat and cool slower than the surrounding shallower lakes. This special effect extends their growing season by a full two weeks and fends off the oncoming autumn frosts, allowing them to harvest later.
Heron Hill Winery: The Finger Lakes are known for their Rieslings, and Heron Hill is at the forefront of that category. They produce six different cool-climate Rieslings from dry to icewines, and they do so through organic, sustainable methods, avoiding the use of any chemical pesticides or other substances on their vines. Heron Hill Winery is more than just a wine producer; it is an event space, a tasting room, and a haven for delicious, award-winning wines.
Fox Run Vineyards: The land of Fox Run actually began as a dairy farm over a century ago, and was converted to a wine-making facility in 1990. Since 2012, the winery has been exclusively family owned in the hopes of maintaining the beautiful integrity of the land and vineyard. They take incredible consideration of the small details that go into making great wine like the climate and terroir, and the actual fermentation practices themselves, in order to produce their gorgeous wines.
Three Brothers Wineries and Estates: On the site of Three Brothers, there is more than just a winery. In fact, they have three wineries and a microbrewery on their land in the northeast end of Seneca Lake. Each of their wineries has its own personality and wines that it’s known for, like the bourbon-aged Barbera at Stony Lonesome, or the sweet wines of Bagg Dare Wine Company.
Americana Vineyards: Back in the 1820s, the now tasting room and gift shop of Americana Vineyards was actually a functioning swing barn! This vineyard was a founding member of the Cayuga Wine Trail (the most extensive wine tour in the Finger Lakes, and America’s first ever wine trail) and has continued their long-standing tradition of amazing wines. Their production spans the spectrum of wines from whites to reds, sweet to dry, and everything in between. You can enjoy the views from the tasting room while having an after dinner coffee from their on-site café, and hang out with their family Labrador Retrievers.