Finger Lakes Wine Country Seeping Into Wine Lovers' Consciousness!
Finger Lakes wine country is beginning to seep into wine lovers' consciousness. It is an area of great beauty, rugged hills, glacial lakes. Located in the West central area of New York State, it is very popular with tourists, perfect for a wine vacation.
The area has been inhabited since pre-history. It is also the ancestral homeland of the Iroquois. Several of the lakes are named after Iroquois tribes such as the Seneca and the Cayuga.
Wine has been important in this area for many many years. But mostly wine production was limited to using native grapes, vitis labrusca. It was believed that vitis vinifera grapes, European grapes that produce wines of great depth, would not survive the harsh winter weather. Cold resistant native grapes, on the other hand, could survive anything.
With native grapes, producers can be assured of a good crop, but the wine is rather sweet and uninteresting.
For a while some growers experimenting with hybrids that used labrusca for its cold tolerance, and vinifera for its depth. Some wine producers are still using these hybrids, but many others have taken the plunge with vitis vinifera, resulting in increasing success.
Most of the wineries are located in Canandaigua Lake, Keuka Lake, Semeca Lake, and Cayuga Lake. the last two being the most prolific as far as wine is concerned. These lakes resemble fingers in a hand (did I really need to point this out?). They run north to south and are long and thin. The larger lakes, Seneca and Cayuga are about 38 miles long and 40 miles long respectively, and only about 3 to 4 miles wide at their widest.
This poses a bit of a problem for visitors. When they see a map, some wineries seem to be very close together, but in fact it may take quite a drive to get from one to the other because they may be on opposite sides of the lake. When you plan your visit, take this under consideration.
Seneca Lake is the area with the most wineries. It is also a very deep lake. On the north side of the lake you find the town of Geneva, and at the south side the town of Watkins Glen. In between you will find charming towns such as Hector, Rock Stream, Stanley and more.
Cayuga Lake also boasts quite a few wineries, as well as Ithaca, the home of Cornell University. This institution has greatly helped the wine industry in the area.
Keuka and Canandaigua Lakes have fewer number of wineries, but don't overlook them. You can visit the New York Wine and Culinary Center in Canandaigua, and enjoy lunch or take a cooking class.
The Finger Lakes wine country is known for its "cool weather" wines. Rieslings, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay. They also produce Pinot Noir, some Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.
And when you want to take a break from all that wine, you can go fishing in the lakes, visit beautiful state parks such as Watkins Glen, Taughannock Falls, and Stony Brook.