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Finger Lakes, New York Wineries

Wineries, Breweries and Orchards, oh my !

Big, beautiful wines also come from small wineries. This summer, the GoGirlfriend team took one of our "tank trips" to upstate New York's Finger Lakes Region with the hopes of tasting our way through our travels. While we tasted many wines and beers on our travels (I unfortunately was the DD for the day of most of the tastings), we had no idea there would be so many wineries and micro-breweries to sample.

Finger Lakes wine growing region

Finger Lakes wine countryThe area encompassing the eleven finger-shaped lakes in upstate New York, forged by the glaciers, makes up the viticultural region of the Finger Lakes AVA (American Viticultural Region). Deep lakes moderate the temperatures, sloping hillsides allow great drainage and the rich, deep, fertile soils make the conditions of the region similar to the Rhine growing region in Germany. Perfect for wine-making!

We loved driving through this region for its spectacular hillside views with grapevines (or apple orchards) lining the hillsides, quaint small villages and hamlets, majestic century-old estates and a selection of more than 100 wineries and micro-breweries to taste the offerings of the region. Keep in mind this amazing setting for a weekend getaway, couples retreat or girls getaway!

The wineries are woven into 4 major wine trails (and 1 Beer trail), so plan your attack:

A few of the wineries we sampled on our journey included ...

Montezuma Winery (Cayuga Wine Trail)

Montezuma WineryAlongside the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge near Seneca Falls at the top of Cayuga Lake is the Martin family-run winery of grape, fruit and honey wines as well as its unique Bee Vodka (distilled from pure Finger Lakes honey). Full tasting area ($2 for 3 samples) and gift-shop to browse as you enjoy your samples. We favored the Red-tail Red wine for its big red appeal and long finish.

For more information, visit Montezuma Winery online.

Wagner Vineyards (Seneca Lake Wine Trail)

Wagner VineyardsPerched on the hillside with vineyards sloping down to Seneca Lake, this picturesque winery offers full winery tours, tastings, a gift shop and Ginny Lee's restaurant (open May thru October). As one of the oldest in the Finger Lakes area, Wagners proudly produces more than 30 wines with special recognition to the Rieslings - ranging from the dry to sweet dessert through to Ice wines.

Complimenting their winery is a full craft-brewery on site as well to expand your tastings to the local craft and seasonal beers. For more information, visit Wagner Vineyards online.

Hazlitt 1852 Winery (Seneca Lake Wine Trail)

Hazlitt 1852 WineryHazlitt 1852 WineryWith Wine Enthusiast Magazine listing the Hazlitt tasting room one of the top 25 in the United States, we couldn't resist checking out the casual, friendly atmosphere. The horseshoe bar with the spirit of a generational-run business, mixed with the mischief of the Red Cat legends (and hot tub wines?) made for a fun stop. Well known for its Red Cat wines, Hazlitt also produces award-winning Rielsing, Gewurtztraminer, Pinot Gris and Cabernet Franc. Tastings are available for $3, but you get a $3 voucher for use in the gift shop after the sampling.

For more information, visit Hazlitt 1852 Winery online.

Naked Dove Brewery (Finger Lakes Beer Trail)

Naked Dove breweryNaked Dove breweryTo mix things up we threw in a brewery uniquely called the Naked Dove Brewery. With a name like that,  we couldn't pass up on the chance to stop in and see what was brewing. This Canandaigua micro-brewery was a fun stop. While still small in size and distributed locally, the selections were quite tasty. From their Farmhouse ale (Roll in the Hay), to the Berry Naked ale, their Porter, and their India pale ale, we thoroughly enjoyed our samples. Pick up a growler while you're there and ask the barkeeps how their name can to be.

For more information, visit the Naked Dove Brewery online.

While I can attest to the quality of the great wines in the area simply from my GoGirlfriend's enjoyment, you need to take your own "tank trip "adventure on one of these wine routes and taste for yourself, or pop over to the Finger Lakes Wine Country or Finger Lakes Regional Tourism pages for more info. 

Have you explored the Finger Lakes wineries in New York? Have a special winery you visited that you're just dying to share with your GG pals? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook and let's start talking!


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