Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Touring New York State Finger Lake Wineries

In my a previous post I mentioned how I was heading to Florida with my 8 year old granddaughter. That left Grandpa home alone on Father's Day. Fortunately, our daughter lives nearby and since she works Sunday, she made arrangements with her Dad to spend Monday (her day off) with him.

They played tourist on Monday, touring the Finger Lakes and some of the wineries that cover the area. My daughter kindly took notes and put together a trip report for this blog.

Here's her review of the wineries they visited:
When most people think wine country, they don't think New York. It's California, France, Italy and a slew of other places, but not New York. However, the Finger Lake region of NY is home to 108 wineries circling the enchanting Finger Lakes, originally formed when the glaciers receded. Each winery offers something a little different. Road signs mark out routes for a self guided tour or you can join one of the many tour companies for a chauffeur driven tour.

Recently we visited four of these wineries (leaving 104 to go) all situated around the Keuka Lake wine trail. Listed in order of preference based on the wine, atmosphere and staff.

Swedish Hill boasts the area's best Cayuga White wine made from grapes designed by a local university. You won't be disappointed in this wine. The atmosphere is a rustic and spacious wine tasting room with picnic benches surrounding a small pond in the back. The staff were friendly, attentive and knowledgeable. They also offer a nice grape brandy, but be warned, it's awfully strong. This is the only place we bought wine. Wine tasting is $1 per person.

Buttonwood is located on top of a hill providing a fantastic view of the Lake. My favorite was the Trillium Gold which is a semi-sweet white. It's an aromatic mixture of many of the local grapes. For a dry red, try their Cabernet Savignon. The staff was very nice and the surrounding areas were very charming. A short walk takes you to the Buttonwood falls. However this time of year it wasn't more then a trickle. Best if seen right after the spring thaw. They also have cute, rustic cabins for rent. A perfect place to stay in the wine country. Wine tasting is $2 per person, but is refundable if you buy a bottle of wine.

Goose Watch also provides a great view of the lake from atop their hill. Be careful on the road up to the winery. The gravel, winding road is very narrow allowing for only one car at a time. But once you get up there you won't be disappointed in the view. The staff was also very knowledgeable. It was a little busy at this one and he gave us the attention he could while still attending the other guests. Their most popular white, Diamond, was very light and crisp. I could see why it was the most popular. Try it and I'm sure you will like it. Wine tasting is $1 per person.

Kanpp Winery was a miss. If at all costs, skip it. We walked out disappointed in all of their wines. Actually, I dumped most of mine in the waste bucket. The staff, although friendly, was not very attentive or knowledgeable. The atmosphere was very sterile. We had a small lunch in their restaurant and were very disappointed in the service and the food was ok. We found out later that this winery has a sulphate problem and it was noticeable. Wine tasting is $1 per person.

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