Overview: The Finger Lakes Region

The United States has quickly put itself on the map as a nation of good wine. We’ve got regions all over the country that put out some incredible wine which rival that of France, Italy, and Australia. Most people are familiar with the big regions like the entire state of California and Washington, but do you know about the Finger Lakes?


Sure, the name sounds a little funny, but this little area in Upstate New York isn’t to be underestimated. It’s often compared to the German wine regions along the Rhine River, especially because of the high production of Riesling in both places. There are over a hundred wineries in the Finger Lakes Region, many of which you can visit and tour, and 11,000 acres of French-American and European grapes.


The region gets its name because of the four main lakes there: Canandaigua Lake, Keuka Lake, Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake. Although the first vineyard was planted in the area in 1829, there wasn’t a true winery until 1982 which is when high production really kicked off.


The deep lakes help to moderate the climate, and because of their stored heat, the temperature stays mild unlike the surrounding area which get frosty and frigid. It’s because of this climate that the region is most known for its Riesling and Chardonnay but also produces high quantities of Gewurztraminer, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir, and smaller amounts of Merlot and Pinot Gris.


Each year, there are over 200,000 case of Riesling produced in the Finger Lakes, with each producer creating about 2-3 styles a year.


Fun Fact: The ever-popular brand Arbor Mist was actually created by the Cananadaigua Wine Company.


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