The 5 best Finger Lakes wineries to visit in upstate New York:
- Dr. Konstantin Frank
- Barnstormer Winery
- Lakewood Vineyards
- Heron Hill Winery
- Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars
Winemaking in upstate New York is a 150-year-old industry. The Finger Lakes wineries, in particular, are a close-knit community of grape farmers and winemakers. Even though it’s the third-largest producing wine region in the United States, a visit to taste wine at a Finger Lakes winery is anything but impersonal. Many Finger Lakes wineries are family-run operations, which helps contribute to the relaxed and casual feel of their tasting rooms.
While visiting these New York wineries, you’ll want to taste the many flavorful whites, like Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay, as well as the rich reds, like Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir. Look for wine tasting events and festivities around the harvest season (late August through September). Couples and small groups visiting Finger Lakes wineries for the first time will want to rent a car in order to travel around the region easily. There are a number of private and small group tours available for booking should you need a designated driver.
Here are five of the best Finger Lakes wineries to include on your next trip to upstate New York:
1. Dr. Konstantin Frank
9749 Middle Rd, Hammondsport, NY 14840
Dr. Konstantin Frank is the perfect initiation into the Finger Lakes wine scene. Dr. Frank is known as the father of Finger Lakes Riesling because he’s the one who figured out how to get Vitis Vinifera vines to not just grow but thrive, in upstate New York’s cool climate. Today, the business is managed by a descendant of Dr. Frank and an international team of winemakers from Australia, South Africa, Germany, and the U.S. produce the estate’s award-winning wines.
Don’t leave without tasting: the signature dry Riesling and the Pinot Noir (it’s made from the second oldest Pinot Noir grapes in the United States)
2. Barnstormer Winery
4184 NY-14, Rock Stream, NY 14878
A visit to Barnstormer Winery’s tasting room provides an excellent contrast to some of the larger Finger Lakes wineries. While most smaller producers in the wine industry generate around 5,000 cases per year, Barnstormer produces around 2,000 to 2,500 cases per year. It’s truly a boutique, small batch operation. Here, you can opt to "build your own picnic", which includes a platter of local meats and cheeses to go with your wine tasting. During the harvest season, family member and local volunteers (including tourists) help with hand-sorting the grapes.
Don’t leave without tasting: the Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc Merlot blend called Departure
3. Lakewood Vineyards
4024 NY-14, Watkins Glen, NY 14891
Rows upon rows of towering stainless steel fermenting and storage tanks are visible through a large glass wall at the entrance of Lakewood Vineyards. Here, the Stamp family manages a sizeable production facility and tasting room overlooking a farm that has been in their family for three generations.
Don’t leave without tasting: the Prosecco-like Bubbly Candeo and the Port
4. Heron Hill Winery on Keuka Lake
9301 County Route 76, Hammondsport, NY 14840
In 2009, Travel + Leisure named Heron Hill’s tasting room as one of the “Top 10 Most Spectacular Tasting Rooms in the World”. As soon as you pull up to the tasting room in your car, you’ll know why. Its unique vaulted wood ceiling, meant to replicate the look of the inside of a wine barrel, towers above several floor-to-ceiling glass windows which afford sweeping views of the acres of vineyards fringing Keuka Lake.
Don’t leave without tasting: the series of single vineyard Rieslings
5. Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars
9224 NY-414, Lodi, NY 14860
Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars’ tasting room and vineyards are located on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake and are part of a new generation of Finger Lakes wineries. The founder and owner of Lamoreaux, Mark Wagner, started working at his father’s grape farm in the late 1970s and didn’t begin making wine until 1990. Two years later, he opened the Lamoreaux Landing winery. There is a noticeable emphasis on sustainable agricultural practices at this winery and the team works with Sustainable Viticulture experts from Cornell University.
Don’t leave without tasting: the Chardonnay and the Ice Wine
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About the Author
Marie Frei// One Carry-On
Marie is a photographer and blogger who never turns down the opportunity to explore someplace new with her camera and carry-on bag. She shares her experiences on her website, One Carry-On.