As the weather warms, summer travel schemes bubble in my brain, and my thoughts turn to our fantastic Finger Lakes, New York escapades last summer. A huge highlight of that week was touring the famous vineyards of the region.
Now, before you slam shut the computer because you aren’t a wine fan, know that I was secretly pregnant the whole trip, and thus never once imbibed — but still had a fabulous time! This is to say, the vineyards of Finger Lakes Wine Country have something for everyone… even a grouchy pregnant lady and her frisky and highly energetic traveling toddler.
The Finger Lakes region has been voted the best wine destination in the U.S. by TripAdvisor and a top 10 wine region in the world by Wine Enthusiast, so picking which of the 120 vineyards to visit is a challenge! Never fear, however, because you can start with these two.
Our first stop was the highly-recommended Wagner Vineyards in Lodi, New York. What a picturesque spot! Perched atop a luscious green hill overlooking Seneca Lake, this vineyard is a perfect place to spend hours sipping and eating on the outdoor picnic benches or inside in the tasting rooms.
As an architecture buff, I delighted in the design of the place, from its brightly-colored glass bottle window decorations to its soaring wood ceilings. Devi guffawed with glee as he sprinted around the grounds, halting only to stare down a giant swan in the pond behind the vineyard.
After sampling the award-winning wine and beer in the tasting rooms (I had artisanal grape juice, which was mighty tasty), we took a tour of the wine and beer-making apparatus on site.
My favorite part of the tour was the cavernous basement in which 8-foot-tall barrels of wine loomed, left, right, and center. I’ve always marveled at the patience that wine-making requires. Those beverages can spend years in those barrels… like finicky divas insistent on getting their outfits perfect before emerging!
The second winery we explored has a fabulous name: Dr. Konstantin Frank’s! “Dr. Frank’s,” as it’s affectionately called, is in the delightful town of Hammondsport, NY, which was voted “America’s coolest small town” by Budget Travel.
Dr. Frank’s boasts a large indoor tasting space that overlooks a lush green vineyard rolling down to Keuka Lake. I was so enamored with the place from the moment we pulled up that I abandoned Colin and Devi in the car to race down through the grapevines and photograph everything in sight, grinning rapturously.
The lesson I learned during our Finger Lakes vineyard tour was that vineyards are only slightly about wine. Rather, vineyards are also about beauty, nature, and reveling in the fruits of the earth! I want more vineyard wandering in my life in the years to come.
So what about you? Have you checked out any good vineyards in the Finger Lakes region of New York, or anywhere else in this world? Do these two spots appeal? Do share!
Want more Finger Lakes, NY fun? Click for photo-filled articles on Finger Lakes Food (yum!), Watkins Glen State Park (my new favorite nature spot), the Corning Museum of Glass (unbelievable exhibits), and Make Your Own Glass (molten glass in the hands of amateurs like me)!