Last year on my birthday weekend, my partner and I drove north to the Fingerlakes region in New York for a weekend of wine-tasting. I was drawn to visit once I learned that there are over 100 vineyards amongst the 11 lakes.
The drive took over 5 hours, and we stayed at a hotel in Penn Yann on Keuka Lake. Keuka, Cayuga and Seneca lakes are considered the best areas for wine-tastings. Penn Yann is quaint compared to other popular towns like Geneva, Watkins Glen, Ithaca, etc.
Although we went in November when there was snow on the ground, the majority of vineyards were still open. Since their peak tourist season is summer, it was a more relaxed experience without the hustle. However it also meant that the weather was cold, and it rained heavily when we explored the vineyards peppered around Seneca lake.
All of the locals we met were so incredibly kind and went out of their way to share tips on where to go for tastings and dining. The majority of tastings we went to were done by retired folks.
Listed below are the 5 vineyards that we did wine-tastings:
- Keuka Spring Vineyard. They offer a lovely variety of red wines. This was easily our favorite vineyard for red wines. Although we arrived just after it opened at 10am on a Saturday, there were two other parties of guests doing a tasting.
- Domaine LeSeurre. This vineyard was quiet and the building was relatively small. Unfortunately their building was still under construction, but the tasting was still enjoyable. They offer red and white wines. The owner is French and even studied grapes in France.
- Heron Hill. There are two different Heron Hills; we visited the tasting room, and weren’t impressed with their wine selection. Heron Hill focussed more on sweet, white wines.
- Fox Run Vineyards. This vineyard is set near the lake, and has some interesting metal work when entering the grounds. We enjoyed the aesthetic of their vineyard and their wines were good.
- Billsboro Winery. Their tasting room is small, but they have some incredible wines. I recommend their Pinot Grigio. I had tried it at a local bar before having it here, and purchased a bottle while at the vineyard.
If you’re looking to explore some vineyards in the northeast, I recommend the Fingerlakes region.
We stayed on Keuka, but there are three other lakes to choose from. There are countless vineyards to visit; there’s no way to enjoy all of them in a single trip. I hope to return later this year or sometime next.
Collectively, our favorite vineyard was Keuka Springs, but I truly enjoyed the diverse selection of wine at Billsboro.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Fingerlakes, visit their main website.