Hey there everybody! Welcome back to this week’s Sodus-area lakefront Vacation Rentals Finger Lakes blog! Believe it or not, fall is in full swing – whether or not the weather is reflecting it! These hot days in September have been brutal, but hey, as lakefront cottage owners – we’re not complaining about the extra few weeks for Lake Ontario swimming!
As the days get cooler over the next few weeks, though, it’s time to start thinking about some of the awesome fall activities available to you in the Sodus Bay Vacation Rentals and Finger Lakes areas. And in my opinion, one of the best fall activities (for those 21+, at least) is – you guessed it – wine (and other fermented beverage) tasting. It’s something you’ve got to try at least once when you’re visiting! But before we launch into all the awesome wineries and unique alcoholic beverages that are popular in the region – let’s cover a bit of history first.
The Finger Lakes, if you’re unfamiliar with the term, are eleven finger-shaped glacial lakes that stretch across the mid section of Upstate New York, south of Lake Ontario (where our cottages are located). Within this region, there’s something called the American Viticultural Area or AVA. The AVA contains 11,000 acres of vineyards, making it the largest wine-producing region in New York State. Additionally, the Finger Lakes are the second largest wine producer in the US – just after Napa Valley.
The vineyard’s proximity to these lakes is no accident. The deep finger lakes in the region actually help moderate the climate to ensure optimal vineyard growing conditions. In the winter, stored heat from these lakes is released and helps keep the climate mild relative to the surrounding areas of NYS. And aside from climate control, many of the area’s wineries are situated very near to these lakes – so you can sip wine with a view.
There’s so much to say about wine and other beverage tasting in the Finger Lakes – I think we’ll have to break this blog into two. So for the rest of this installment, we’ll give an overview how a day of wine tasting in the area generally works, and some helpful tips! Next blog, we’ll go a bit more in depth on the specific establishments and tasting trails.
Most of the wine trails in the Finger Lakes offer at least a dozen or so wineries, distilleries and/or craftcideries to choose from on your tour. Seneca Lake Wine Trail is one of the biggest trails in the area, with over 30 wineries. So lots of options – but you usually can’t fit more than 4-6 visit in one day!
A bit about how a day of wine tasting works: you’ll want to secure a designated driver in your group first, of course, or rent a driver or limo for the day. Then, just pick your favorite wineries on the trail, and start visiting! Each location will have a tasting bar or bars, where you’ll pay, somewhere from $5-10 to taste 4-6 different types of wine or other fermented beverage (depending on if you decided to go for a distillery or cidery instead!). Usually, the staff will hand out little sheets for you to choose your favorite wines to taste. Between these 4-6 tastes, you’re generally getting the equivalent of 1-1.5 glasses of wine.
When you’re done tasting at one winery – just move on to the next and do it all over again! It’s common to walk away from a day of wine touring with a bottle or two of your favorite tastes. And readers: fall is DEFINITELY the time to go wine touring. Upstate NY falls are some of the most beautiful you’ll ever experience (we may be a bit biased, but come visit during the fall then tell us we’re wrong!). Often these wineries have breathtaking views of one of the Finger Lakes, or just the gorgeous fall foliage as the leaves start to change.
Another useful tip: we recommend carrying around a few snacks for palate-cleansers between wine tastings. A small baggie of cheese and crackers is a great option. Good for snacking, and a great complement for the wines as well. Many of the wineries also serve food menus, though, so no worries if you forget this tip or don’t have any cheese and crackers to bring along!
Also, if you’re looking for an extra unique wine touring experience – try one of the boating wine tours! Yes, you read correctly; rather than renting a driver or limo for the day, why not rent a boat instead? Since many of the wineries are situated right around the Finger Lakes, taking a boat from winery to winery is the perfect way to spend a day of wine tasting in the Finger Lakes!
More info to come in the next installment, about specific wineries, trails and more – but in the meantime, start blocking off your calendar for a weekend of wine touring in Upstate NY this fall! You won’t regret it.
Thanks for reading, and happy tasting!