Four Grape-Growing Regions of New York

by Sam Kimball
Here is a great primer to understanding what makes each New York state wine growing region great.

Did you know that New York State is actually among the top five wine producing regions in the entire country? Yep, we’re that good.

In this fabulous state, we have four main wine growing regions, or American Viticultural Areas (AVA)

Because of the varying climates of each region, their characteristics and growing seasons can be drastically different.

Our great state of New York is known for a lot of things: apples, bagels, pizza, and of course, wine! Did you know that New York State is actually among the top five wine producing regions in the entire country? Yep, we’re that good.

In this fabulous state, we have four main wine growing regions, or American Viticultural Areas (AVA): Lake Erie, the Finger Lakes, Hudson River, and the East End of the Long Island. Because of the varying climates of each region, their characteristics and growing seasons can be drastically different.

Lake Erie: Being so close to the lake has great effects on the soil in this region, creating a dense, heavy clay that makes a happy home for vineyards. This region is shared by Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio, the states the border the lake itself, and a vast majority of the grapes grown here are actually Concord and are used for juice production. You won’t find many of your common wines produced here but rather more unique French- American styles like Seyval Blanc and Vignoles, or the native Catawba and Niagara.

Hudson River: This region is like a fruit-growing haven! With the abundance of apples and now the increasing number of vineyards, it’s a bountiful harvest every year. Being surrounded by the Hudson River on one side and the Shawangunk hills on the other help to protect this beautiful region from the harsh temperatures of upstate New York. This region is also home to Brotherhood, America’s oldest continuously operating winery.


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Long Island: Although Long Island is more than one county, this AVA only applies to Suffolk County. There are approximately 2,500 acres of wine grapes being grown exclusively in the eastern end of the North Fork of Long Island, whose maritime climate provides protection from harsh temperatures and also the moist air needed for excellent soil. Because of its similarity to the Atlantic climate of Bordeaux, you can find the classic Old World grapes like Cabernet Franc and Merlot in great popularity here.

Finger Lakes: This fantastic region of wine production has been making its way to the top of the charts for a few years now, and currently has the widest array of grapes in the entire eastern portion of North America. There are a handful of actual lakes that make up this region but the four main ones are large and are essential to the growing properties of the area. Riesling is this area’s main claim to fame, actually winning a few awards in recent years, and there is even an international wine festival hosted here.

It’s so important to support our local wineries especially because we have so many fantastic ones. The next time you’re looking for a new bottle of wine to try, check out these regions and AVAs for some inspiration. Then you can even go check out their tasting room for yourself!



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