Fun Vineyards on Seneca and Keuka Lake, NY…
As the weather warms, summer travel schemes bubble in my brain, and my thoughts turn to our fantastic Finger Lakes, New York trip. A huge highlight of that week was touring two of the famous wineries of the region: Dr. Frank’s and Wagner Vineyards.
These two spots were immensely family-friendly (we were with kids and grandparents), and even enjoyable to visit for non-drinkers since the grounds are so beautiful.
Wineries: Still Enjoyable to Visit for Non-Drinkers
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.
Finger Lakes: One of the Best Wine Destinations
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.
Seneca Lake Wineries
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.
Wagner Vineyards in Lodi, NY
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.
Good Grape Juice for Non-Drinkers
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.
Barrels in the Wine Cellar
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!
Keuka Lake Wineries
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. Konstantin Frank’s in Hammondsport, NY
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.
Wineries are Beautiful for Greenspace and Nature
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.
What are YOUR Favorite Finger Lakes Wineries?
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 Wagner Vineyards and Dr. Frank’s appeal? Do share!
More Things to Do in the Finger Lakes, NY
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)!
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The author, Lillie Marshall, is a 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 4.2 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!