Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year, New Blog Look & MyFavorites of 2006- Part 3

I want to wish all of Family, Friends, & Readers a Super New Year!!!
May 2007 bring the best of all things to you and yours!
I raise my glass to all of you!

As you can see, I've done a little sprucing up to the Blog for 2007 thanks to long-awaited updates from Blogger. I am hoping that this will enable me to add posts and graphics faster and do things that will make the blog better. If you have any suggestions or ways that I can make the blog better for you, just send me your comments and suggestions by using the form at the bottom of this page (I have to reinstall it since Blogger removed it when I did my updates) or by emailing me at (leave out the spaces) weekendwino 11 @ yahoo. com (no spaces)

Here is Part 3 of My Favorite Finger Lakes Wine of 2006 (Scroll down to find Parts 1 & 2):

- Swedish Hill - Just Peachy, intense peach flavor. Radical Raspberry, intense raspberry flavor. If you like peach or raspberry, these are the best!

- Seneca Shore- Smooth Chardonnay, One of my favorite F.L. Chardonnays, smooth & buttery. Castle Blush, on the sweeter side but with lots of fruit flavor, a delicious blush. Lemberger, this grape is fast becoming very popular among F.L. Red wine afficianados, smoky but smooth. Seneca Shore keeps their prices reasonable and has some of the best value wines in the Finger Lakes.

- Four Chimneys- uses organic farming methods and little or no sulfites. Reserve White, Aurora/Chardonnay blend, dry but buttery with lots of fruit. Cabernet Franc, light tannins, very balanced. Honeydew Melon, just like biting into a honeydew melon, lightly sweet and very refreshing.

- Fox Run - Cabernet Franc, excellent, smooth tannins, hints of raspberry and oak with a long finish. Riesling, A perfect Riesling for my tastes, peach and lime that goes on and on.

- Yates Cellars- Gewurztraminer, extremely floral aromas, classic Gewurz spice. Traminette, again extremely floral scents that are just heavenly, someone really should come up with a Traminette after shave, I'd buy it, a Perfect Traminette for me.

- Lamoreaux Landing- Chardonnay, rounded citrus tones with hints of vanilla and butter. Dry Riesling, lime and mineral with soft apple and peach and an elegant lingering finish. Semi-Dry Riesling, sweeter with lemon, lime, and pineapple overtones and a very long finish. Merlot, very soft tannins, beautifully balanced fruit and pepper. This is one of the wineries that I have really liked everything I have tasted there. Their wines are always complex but balanced, with many layers of flavor and very long finishes.

- Silver Thread- Good Earth Red, Dry and light but fruity, Pinot Noir with 20% Gewurztraminer. Blackbird, Cab Franc/Merlot/Cab Sauv blend, lots of berry fruit.

- Hazlitt 1852- Always a fun place to visit. White Stag, Cayuga/Ravat 51 blend, sweet summer sipping wine. Red Cat, the famous Red Cat, Catawba/Baco Noir blend, fruity smooth and sweet red wine, Red Cat never met a hot tub or party (or hot tub party) it didn't like.

- Shalestone- Merlot, an excellent Merlot, deep but very soft. Cabernet Franc, soft medium tannins with a finish that stays with you like a beautiful memory. Reds are all Shalestone produces and, in my humble opinion, they have perfected it!

- Damiani- Talk with Lou Damiani for 15 minutes and your knowledge of wine will increase exponentially. Cabernet Sauvignon, I'm not fond of too many Cab Sauvs in F.L., but I really like this one, smooth with berry flavors and a hint of tobacco. Dolce Bianco, blend of Vignoles/Cayuga/Vidal, grape and pineapple with good acidity for balance.

- Treleaven- Semi Dry Riesling, peach and lime dancing on a base of smooth mineral. Apple, amazingly complex layers of apple and peach, if you love apple, get this one, also a nice wine to cook with.

- Hermann Wiemer- Dry Johannisberg Riesling, dry but smooth crisp and clean, lots of fruit and lots of mineral, classic Wiemer Riesling. Dry Rose, Pinot Noir/Gamay Noir blend, very dry but lots of berry fruit, crisp clean and elegant.

- Catharine Valley- The Lost Irishman, Catawba grape, sweet and tangy, perfect for a hot summer day. Seneca Steamer, Very nice Niagara, sweet and grapey.

- Cobblestone Farm- Chardonnay, lots of fruit with hints of green apple and oak. Cabernet Franc, very complex, layers of spice, berry, and pepper.

I can't wait until spring when I'll start visiting the 90-some wineries in the Finger Lakes to taste their offerings. It's a tough job, but someones got to do it. Once again, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Although it's been said many times, many ways...

I wish you all Good Cheer this Holiday Season!!! Thank You for reading my blog and for your continued support! May you be surrounded with family and friends and may you have plenty of your favorite Finger Lakes wine!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Finger Lakes News & Notes

- Thoughts on the future of the "Queen City of the Finger Lakes".

- Thoughts on the future of Hemlock & Canadice Lakes. And more thoughts.

- Some Recipes from Finger Lakes wineries

- Protecting the "Emerald Necklace".

- Wine trails, farm trails, and now Maple trails.

- Connecticut couple look for value in The Finger Lakes. Or Husband embarrases wife in The Finger Lakes.

- Rochester Winter Wine Tasting & Art Show - Jan. 25

- Obsession blogger blogs about Standing Stone Vineyards.

- Long Islanders review their Fall Finger Lakes trip.

- iJamming Tony's Finger Lakes 2006 wine trip review here. And here.

- And Congrats to
Fox Run Vineyards Owner Scott Osborn Who Receives Camp Good Days Award

Penn Yan, NY 8211; Fox Run Vineyards owner Scott Osborn was presented the Teddi Award from Camp Good Days on December 10, 2006 at their annual holiday party held at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center . He was recognized for his work with the Camp Good Days wine competition, auction and dinner fundraising events. The Teddi Award is an honor that Camp Good Days bestows upon individuals from the community who, through their continued efforts, have gone above and beyond to help improve the quality of life for children and families whose lives have been touched by cancer and other life threatening challenges over the past year.

Osborn has been active with Camp Good Days for the past 7 years, sitting on the committee for the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition and the Wine Auction and Dinner, where all net proceeds from the competition and its special event benefits Camp Good Days and Special Times, Inc.

“Scott Osborn has been one of the key participants in founding and running the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition, now the largest wine competition for a charity in North America and is now the largest fundraiser for Camp Good Days. As a founding member of the committee, Scott is also a great advisor, helping the competition and auction bring as much attention and value to all the wineries in New York . Camp Good Day’s Teddi award is a small way for Camp to say ‘thanks’ to Scott for all he has done to help thousands of children over the years!” states Peter Parts, Board Member Camp Good Days and President, Peter Parts Electronics.

Osborn states, “It is a personal honor to receive the Teddi award for my work with Camp Good Days. We all have known someone affected by cancer and it is easy to donate my time to such a worthwhile cause.”

Sunday, December 17, 2006

My Favorite Finger Lakes Wine of 2006 - Part 2

I pulled out all of my tasting sheet comments for this year and here's Part 2 of what I liked, in no particular order. This gives me a record of my favorites for the year. Keep in mind my palate is about right in the middle of dry and sweet. I do like dry wines that are very fruit forward and I like sweet wines that are balanced with appropriate acidity and/or fruit. I'm more of a white wine drinker, but that's mainly because I find that red wines stir up my Acid Reflux Condition. But I do taste both reds and whites.

- Glenora Wine Cellars- Glenora produces about 30 different wines and is a beautiful place to visit. -Seyval Blanc, Semi-dry, melon and lime/citrus. - Peach & Raspberry Spumante, perfectly sweet & bubbly with lots of fruit flavor, perfect for the Holidays and a nice value.

- Barrington Cellars- Delaware, not overly grapey and subtly sweet, nice summer sipping wine. Diamond, aromatic light grape nose, sweet with soft citrus and grape flavors.

- Keuka Overlook- Late Harvest Riesling, sweet dessert wine with luscious honey and peach flavors. - Late Harvest Vignoles, sweet dessert wine with pineapple/citrus flavors.

Keuka Spring- Riesling, semi-dry, classic Riesling flavor with long finish. - Vignoles, concentrated flavors of honeyed apricot and lemon.

Castel Grisch - Estate Reserve Burgundy, Very soft and smooth red blend. - Cayuga White, bright and balanced, apple and citrus flavors.

Dr. Frank - Merlot, soft medium tannins, lots of plummy fruit. - Salmon Run Riesling, very floral, perfectly balanced, clean and classic. - Celebre NV Champagne, dry but lively and fruity.

Billsboro Winery - Chardonnay, firmly balanced acidity with elegant fruit. -Classic Cuvee, Blend of Elvira, Catawba, and Cayuga White, some bubbles, very interesting.

Rooster Hill Vineyards- Dry Riesling, crisp citrus and mineral. Merlot- very soft silky tannins with the perfect amount of oak.

Prejean Winery- Cabernet Franc, Lots of cherry and a long finish. Gewurtzraminer, balanced and perfectly spicy. Late Harvest Vignoles, intense honeyed peach and pineapple. -Bird of Paradise, unique Chardonnay Port, Chardonnay crispness with dessert wine sweetness.

Belhurst Winery- Traditions Dry Riesling, Dry with a very long lemon/lime finish. Traditions Chardonnay, Light clean and crisp.

Heron Hill Winery - Game Bird White, Seyval/Cayuga blend, balanced with nice acidity and a great value. Riesling Ice Wine, unbelievable intensity of flavor to the infinity, My notes state "I did not want to swallow". And for good reason- A taste was $7 and a bottle was $99. If anyone needs a Christmas gift idea for me, this is it! The winemaker Thomas Laszlo makes some of the most elegant wines in the Finger Lakes and his ice wines compare with the world's best.

Miles Wine Cellars- Cabernet Franc, smooth smoke and oak. Pinot Noir, smoky cherry, Very Nice!

Torrey Ridge Winery- This winery gets my vote for Most Underrated Finger Lakes Winery. They don't get a lot of the press that some of the others get, but I am continually impressed with the quality of their wine, and they have one of the most beautiful facilities also.
Cayuga White, excellent balance of acid/sweet and fruit with a long lightly sweet finish. -Traminette, very floral, hints of citrus and spice and very smooth. - Riesling, sweeter style with layers of honey, peach, citrus, and pineapple. -Diamond, one of my top faves, sweet but not overly sweet, with layers of grape, grapefruit, pineapple, and mango.

Earle Estates Meadery- This winery is the sister winery of Torrey Ridge specializing in mead, which is wine made from honey. Unfortunately for me, my palate perceives a bitter taste in a lot of mead wines, but there are some mead/fruit blends here that I like. Strawberry Shadows, strawberry/mead blend, nice natural sweet strawberry flavor. - Autumn Harvest, Pear/Raspberry/Mead blend, sweet raspberry flavor.

Arcadian Estate- Starry Night Riesling, crisp dry style with lots of Seneca mineral. - Take My Time Black Raspberry, intense berry aroma and flavor.

Cascata Winery- Fireside Chardonnay, Abundant upfront fruit with a kiss of oak. -Sweet Maggie, Cayuga/Vidal blend, easy drinking light blush.

Anthony Road- Tony's White, Cayuga White, Riesling-like in taste with a lime/citrus zing, excellent value. - Martini Reinhardt Vignoles Trockenbeeren, incredible flavors of apricot, citrus, and honey but at $75, a little out of my price range, but an awesome special occasion wine.

Stay tuned for Part 3.......

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Finger Lakes Christmas Gift Ideas

With the Holiday shopping season in full swing, here are some online gift ideas for the Finger Lakes enthusiast on your gift list.

- First, I must mention my Finger Lakes song downloads, and my Finger Lakes Tshirt, 2007 Finger Lakes Calendar, & other Finger Lakes gifts. They make perfect gifts and I am donating proceeds from the sale of these items to Finger Lakes charities, so you can also help a good cause.

- Of course, Finger Lakes wine has to be at the top of the list. More and more wineries now have online stores and can ship to many states. Go to and click on "Wineries" and get the link to your favorite winery website.

- A Gift Subscription to Life In The Finger Lakes magazine. I look forward to receiving my copy every quarter.

- has a variety of Finger Lakes books and gifts available.

- Friends of the Finger Lakes Publishing has a good selection of Finger Lakes books.

- If you are visiting the Finger Lakes area, visit these gift shops suggested by local B&B owners.

- There are an amazing number of artists and craftspeople that make their home in the Finger Lakes area and create wonderful artwork. Here is a great list of them. You are sure to find unique gift items from them.

- The Corning Museum of Glass has a excellent online store with many gift items.

Here's to wishing you all get that Finger Lakes gift that you want for the Holidays!!!
If you have any additional suggestions of Finger Lakes gifts, please leave a comment.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Finger Lakes News & Notes

- New York Wine & Grape Foundation introduces new 32 page Uncork New York brochure

- A good year for tourism in Cayuga County

- Jeff Richards highlights December Finger Lakes Wine Events

- Songwriter receives grant to write songs about Upstate New York

- Time again for the winter Human Migration

- The end of her seasons in the Finger Lakes

- The start of the Skaneateles Wine Trail

Sunday, November 26, 2006

My Favorites of 2006 - Part 1

I pulled out all of my tasting sheet comments for this year and here's Part 1 of what I liked, in no particular order. This gives me a record of my favorites for the year. Keep in mind my palate is about right in the middle of dry and sweet. I do like dry wines that are very fruit forward and I like sweet wines that are balanced with appropriate acidity and/or fruit. I'm more of a white wine drinker, but that's mainly because I find that red wines stir up my Acid Reflux Condition. But I do taste both reds and whites.

Red Newt Cellars- 2004 Syrah Reserve, Lots of berry, smoke, and pepper. It's hard to find a good Syrah in the Finger Lakes because of growing conditions, but I think this is one. Red Newt White, a perennial favorite, perfectly balanced blend of Vidal Blanc & Cayuga White, fruity citrus into a dry finish.

Leidenfrost Vineyards- Cayuga White, semi-dry style with a long and unique spicy finish. Sonata- Very unique blend of Gewurtzraminer, Cayuga, & Vignoles, Pineapple and Honey with a spicy finish.

Chateau Lafayette Reneau- 2002 Pinot Noir, Silky tannins with flavors of cherry, smoke, and tobacco, IMO one of the best Pinot Noirs in the Finger Lakes. 2003 Chardonnay Reserve, Light Vanilla & Butter with the perfect amount of smooth oak. 2005 Dry Riesling, More Peach flavor than other FL Rieslings with nice undertones of citrus and mineral.

Ravines Wine Cellars- 2005 Dry Riesling, very aromatic, crisp citrus & smooth mineral that goes on and on, very elegant, I'm saving this one for a special occasion. Keuka Village White, Vignoles, Cayuga , & Traminette, 3 of my favorite FL grapes blended in a dry style, but very bright and refreshing on the tongue.

Bloomer Creek Vineyard- 2002 Pinot Noir, Light soft tannins with lots of fruit. 2003 Cabernet Franc, Grass & Berry aromas give way to abundant raspberry and cherry with a hint of smoke.

Atwater Estate Vineyards- Estate White, Semi dry blend of Vidal Blanc, Cayuga, Villard Blanc, & Chardonnay yields balanced lime and peach flavors. Somerset Blush, easy drinking Cayuga/Catawba blend and, at $9, an excellent value.

McGregor Vineyard- 2005 Gewurtzraminer, Very floral and very balanced fruit and spice, Definitely one of the best Gewurtz's in F.L. 1995 Blanc de Blanc, Sparkling wine made from 100% Chardonnay, My tasting note just says "Heaven". Did not get a chance to taste their Sereksiya or Sparkling Riesling, but heard great things about them.

Pleasant Valley/ Caywood- Sparkling Burgundy, our favorite for Thanksgiving. Spumante, perfectly sweet and bubbly. Chocolate Lab, chocolate flavored wine that actually is very good, tastes like a chocolate covered cherry. Port, smooth and caramelly, and a great value.

Wagner Vineyards- Semi-dry Riesling, Mrs. Wino's favorite, peach, apple, citrus & mineral that lingers softly on your tastebuds. Niagara, Wonderful grape aroma and very balanced for a sweet wine. Grace House Pinot Noir, soft Medium tannins, light oak, nice fruit, long finish

Fulkerson Winery- Diamond, Aromatic, tastes of fresh grapes with pineapple and a hint of grapefruit at the finish. Matinee, very unique sweet wine made from Himrod grapes with the flavor of mint running through it. Traminette, citrus tanginess with a light spicy finish.

Hickory Hollow- Syrah, Licorice and smoke with a long finish. Gewurtzraminer, complex spice aroma, rich golden color, very balanced. Liquid Wisdom, easy drinking Cayuga/Niagara blend, clean and light.

Standing Stone Vineyards- 2005 Riesling, Bright fruit and smooth mineral. Smokehouse Vidal, Semi-dry, crisp and balanced. 2004 Vidal Ice, layers of intense flavor, 90 points in Wine Spectator.

Amberg Wine Cellars- 2004 Pearl, blend of Riesling & Traminette, crisp citrus with light spicy finish. Pegasus, Muscat/Riesling blend, sweet but smooth.

Hosmer Winery- 2005 Riesling, perfectly balanced with citrus and a finish that goes on forever. Carousel, my pick for best Blush value in the Finger Lakes, Cayuga/Catawba blend.

Cayuga Ridge Estate- Chardonnay, blend of oak & steel aged, lots of fruit. Cranberry Essence, nice refreshing cranberry infused white wine, not too tart, not too sweet.

Thirsty Owl Wine Co.- 2004 Chardonnay, Crisp with light oak. 2005 Diamond, The Diamond grape is one of my favorites and this Diamond is one of my favorites, pineapple/grapefruit zing balances the sweetness.

Hunt Country Vineyards- Home of my favorite Bernese Mountain Dogs. Late Harvest Vignoles, Candied pineapple and loads of flavor, Yum-mee. Cream Sherry, nutty creamy and smooth. Ruby Port, rich and fruity.

To Be Continued... Don't forget to visit my links at the right side of the page, including my Finger Lakes T-shirt and Songs for charity. Thanks for stopping by!!!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Because most of my family are not big wine drinkers, I usually opt for something sweet and/or bubbly for Thanksgiving dinner. This year it will be Sparkling Burgundy & Spumante from Pleasant Valley Wine Co. in Hammondsport, and Cranberry Chablis from Glenora Winery.
Have a Great Thanksgiving!!! Enough about the wine, what about the turkey.........

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Finger Lakes News & Notes

- 2 new "Farm Trails" to link with Finger Lakes Wine Trails

- The Finger Lakes wineries get ready for The Holidays

- Finger Lakes Grape Harvest reports increased quantity

- Corning Museum of Glass plans Holiday events

- You think it's tough growing grapes in The Finger Lakes, Try it in New England

- Diurnal highs and lows, heat summation index, and wine

- The Finger Lakes region and the Tuscany region of Italy are amazingly similar

- Finger Lakes cherry juice touted as an anti-inflammatory

- An Aussie making wine in The Finger Lakes

- 2 wineries added to Seneca Lake Wine Trail

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Weekend Wino Celebrates 1 Year of Blogging

How time flies! One year ago, I started this blog with the intention of documenting my own tastings and experience for myself and also sharing my tastings and experiences with anyone to read it. Now, after 110 posts, I am still blogging. It's been a lot more work than I expected, but it's been worth it. The great people I have met (personally and through email) throught this blog have made it all worthwhile. You, my readers, have meant more to me than you'll ever know. A lot of you emailed me and gave me encouragement, especially over the summer during my "Unemployment Crisis". I know the blog is far from perfect. It does bother me that I don't have enough time to give it a more professional look and to add more posts with more detail and put more effort into better writing. There are some amazing and well-written wine blogs out there and , unfortunately, mine will probably never be one of them. But what I think I do an adequate job of, is portraying the flavor and feel of the Finger Lakes. And I'm ok with that. I hope you are too. I do the best I can with the time I have available and I will continue to strive to make this blog better.

There's some folks I would like to thank who have helped me and encouraged me: My wife, who shares my obsession with the Finger Lakes and who helps me do "research" for my blog postings; Lenn Thomspon at LennDevours blog who took me under his wing right from the very start and offered much-needed help and support. Lenn is my blog hero and he is fast becoming one of the foremost wine writers in the biz; Paul Thomas, executive director of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, for his support and encouragement; Chris & Liz Stamp of Lakewood Vineyards and the entire Stamp family for just being some of the nicest people I've met and for their support; Dave Whiting at Red Newt and Peter Bell at Fox Run for being my "wine gurus"; Jim Trezise at New York Wine & Grape Foundation for his amazing knowledge and information; John Iszard at Fulkerson Winery for his support and encouragement; Sheila Livadas of for her support and encouragement; all of the Finger Lakes winery owners, winemakers, and winery staff who have taught me so much about wine; all of the wonderful people of the Finger Lakes area who me and my wife have met and who make The Finger Lakes a truly special place; and especially, thank you to all of you readers of this blog, who keep me motivated to keep blogging! I raise my glass to you all!!!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Finger Lakes Picture Time

More pictures from the lens of The Weekend Wino. And most are in focus, even after tasting many wines. Enjoy!

Double Click on pictures to enlarge.

The majestic Esperanza Mansion at the north end of Keuka Lake. We had a great lunch there.

This is a view of the front and...

This is from the back overlooking Keuka Lake.

Autumn in the Finger Lakes is very beautiful.
This is a view from Hector Falls looking toward Seneca Lake.

A lovely Autumn day on Seneca Lake.

The leaves are falling, but that big lake is ever-present out our front window.

This is the Grape Trellis and Canopy at the entrance to Knapp Vineyard Restaurant on Cayuga Lake. I liked the way the sun rays made little rainbows in the picture. We had a great lunch here. I highly recommend it.
Double Click on photos for larger view.

The wineries on Cayuga Lake get dressed up for Autumn.

This is Lindy, the very cool winery dog at Lakeshore Winery, smiling for the camera.

Here's one goose that's NOT flying south for the winter. He is a permanent fixture at Goose Watch Winery.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Finger Lakes Calendar of Events

Chestnut Festival Oct 28 Noon - 5:00 PM
Goose Watch Winery
Enjoy chestnuts harvested right at Goose Watch. Sample roasted chestnuts, chestnut soup, and more. Website:

Cider for Grownups! Oct 28
Bellwether Hard Cider
Let our “Witches Brew” and other Halloween treats cast a spell on you!

Ghosts in the Galleries Oct 28 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM
Corning Museum of Glass
Your little ghouls and bats are invited to a pre-Halloween party! Haunted galleries, live music, costume contests, and scary snacks are the perfect way to kick off the scaring season. Watch glass pumpkins grow before your eyes at the Hot Glass Show, and maybe even win one to take home! 5:30 p.m. –8:00 p.m. Included in Museum admission; fees for some craft activities and snacks. Contact Louise Maio at 607.974.4084 for more information.

Goblins & Ghouls, Americana Rules, Spooktacular Oct 28
Americana Vineyards
4th Annual after hours Halloween party. Fee for food. Call for details.

Halloween Costume Party on the Fingerlakes Railway Oct 28 3:00 PM
Schuyler County Lodging and Tourism Association
Grab your Ghoulish Gear and join the SCLTA for its Annual Halloween Party Fun'raiser on the Fingerlakes Railway.
All aboard at Seneca Harbor in Watkins Glen at 3 PM SHARP!
Tickets include a 2 hour train ride along the western hills above Seneca Lake, with Count Reneau's wine from the Chateau, drinks and hors d'oeuvres. Halloween costumes are optional.
Tickets: $25.00 each

Hallowine at Fox Run Oct 28 - Oct 29
Fox Run Vineyards
Join us for a Hallowine Celebration. Having a customer and employee costume contest whole the cafe' serves up spooktacular foods and candy for the young and young at heart. No admission fee. Saturday 10-6, Sunday 11-6.

Tunes in the Tent Oct 29 12:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Heron Hill Winery
The Blue Sky Mission Club will be the entertainment for the afternoon. As always, they will be kickin' it Zydeco Style...! There will be a cash bar for beer and wine.

Autumn Winemakers Dinner Nov 4
Sheldrake Point Vineyard & Cafe
Host: Bob Madill, Sheldrake Point's Winegrower, will share vineyard & cellar notes. Four courses of regional bounty by Chef Jack Carrington will be paired with wines from Sheldrake Point & Goose Watch Winery (Co-Host). Reservations. 866-743-5372. $65/person inclusive. Sat., Tour 5:45; Dinner 6:30PM.

Champagne & Dessert Wine Festival Nov 4 - Nov 5 Noon - 5:00 PM
Swedish Hill Winery
Champagnes and dessert wines will be featured with complimentary desserts. Start your holiday shopping!

Italian Winemakers Dinner Nov 5
Long Point Winery
5 course catered elegant dinner served with specially paired wines. Two seatings, 1:00PM. & 4:30PM. Reservations only 315-364-6990.

Sunday Afternoon Concert Nov 5 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Americana Vineyard
Dee Specker and Friends A selection of Light Jazz from a beautiful local voice. Complimentary Munchies and Wine Available by the Glass or Bottle.

4th Annual Winemakers Harvest Dinner Nov 10 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Chateau Lafayette Reneau

Barrel Tasting and Polka Party! Nov 11 - Nov 12
Thirsty Owl Wine Company
Come enjoy tank and barrel tastings, unique foods and a live Polka band to help us "Roll out the Barrel".

Keuka Holidays Nov 11 - Nov 12
Keuka Lake Wine Trail
Hearty winter foods are featured with our award-winning red wines! Each ticket holder will receive a grapevine wreath at their starting winery and an ornament from each participating winery. Each attendee will receive a free holiday wine glass & food and wine pairings. Come see the wineries decorated for Christmas. An early sell-out, tickets are advance sale only.
*Fee $45 per person; $55 per couple 10AM to 5PM Saturday; Noon to 5PM Sunday
*Fees do not include 8% sales tax and $2.50 handling charge per order. Each attendee will receive a souvenir wineglass. Inquire about a season pass Designated Driver ticket 25% off

16th Annual Nouveau Party Nov 12 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Sponsored by Chateau Lafayette Reneau

Sunday Afternoon Concert Nov 12 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Americana Vineyard
Pam Goddard and Kitchen Chair Country Folk and Irish Folk for something a little bit different. Complimentary Munchies and Wine Available by the Glass or Bottle.

Deck the Halls in November Nov 18 - Nov 19 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Seneca Lake Wine Trail
15 years! Enjoy a weekend of fun & festivities, sampling holiday wines and food. Visit wineries decorated for the holiday season, collecting ornaments to decorate a grapevine wreath. Recipe book too!

Vintage Victorian Wine Tasting Tour Nov 22 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM
This year's event is scheduled for November 22 from 5-9 PM.
Tickets are $5.00 and can be purchased at the beginning of the self guided tour at Horigans Tavern in Elmira at the corner of Davis Street and Second Street, located in the National Historic District.
The Goals of Vintage Victorian is to promote Historic Elmira, New York and the Finger Lakes wine region, highlighting Elmira's National Historic District know as The Near Westide Neighborhood. The historic Near Westside Neighborhood is National designated as have the Largest Concentration of Victorian Homes and Architectural Styles.
Website: Website:

Worldly Approach to Wine Seminar "Thanksgiving Pairings" Nov 22 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Casa Larga Vineyards
Monthly wine seminars at Casa Larga Vineyards are a great way to enhance knowledge of wines and the wine industry. Join wine aficionado and D&C columnist Holly Howell for Thanksgiving at the Vineyard on Wednesday, November 22nd.
Holly Howell will bring Thanksgiving to Casa Larga, with traditional holiday selections, paired with a variety of different wines. Guests will gain ideas for their own holiday meal, which will surely impress holiday guests. This holiday-themed event begins at 7:00pm and runs till 8:30pm. The price is $25 for Wine Lover’s Club Members and $35 for non-members.
“A Worldly Approach to Wine” is Casa Larga’s monthly seminar series, designed to educate wine consumers on a number of topics related to the wine industry. This series will feature regional wine experts who will discuss a variety of exciting topics ranging from “Wine 101” to “Pairing Asian Spices and Sauces with Wine.”
Reservations are required for each seminar, and can be made by contacting Casa Larga’s Wine Shop at (585) 223-4210.

Tree Lighting Celebration Nov 25 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Corning's Gaffer District
The community gathers in Centerway Square at 4 PM for children's entertainment and the lighting of the live Christmas tree at 6 PM

FREE Community Days: 30th Anniversary Celebration! Nov 30 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Rockwell Museum of Western Art
You're invited! Visit the Rockwell Museum of Western Art the 30th of every month of 2006 and find FREE Admission! By way of hosting this open house, the Rockwell Museum of Western Art extends many thanks to the community for its 30-year interest in the Museum!

Watkins Glen Village Christmas Dec 1 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Sponsored by Watkins Glen Promotions

13th Annual Holiday Shopping Spree Dec 2 - Dec 3
Cayuga Wine Trail
Sample wines and holiday treats. Take home a souvenir wineglass, a grapevine wreath, a collectible Cayuga Wine Trail ornament from each winery, holiday recipes, plus a shopping card for special discounts during the event. Each participant will be eligible for our Three Grand Prizes. Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday Noon-6pm. Ticket valid for both days. Gift Certificates are available for all our events. Tickets can be purchased at any Wegmans store.

Deck the Halls in December Dec 2 - Dec 3 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Seneca Lake Wine Trail
15 years! Enjoy a weekend of fun & festivities, sampling holiday wines and food. Visit wineries decorated for the holiday season, collecting ornaments to decorate a grapevine wreath. Recipe book too!

Enchanted Winter Evening Dec 2 6:30 PM
Knapp Vineyard Winery & Restaurant
Knapp Winery & Vineyard Restaurant invites you to an Enchanted Winter Evening in our Vineyard Restaurant. Relax with an evening of fabulous cuisine, live entertainment, dancing, and award winning wines! Live entertainment by Michael Feligno and dinner begins at 6:30 pm!
$40 per person includes salad, dinner, dessert, and live entertainment!

Keuka Holidays Dec 2 - Dec 3
Keuka Lake Wine Trail
Hearty winter foods are featured with our award-winning red wines! Each ticket holder will receive a grapevine wreath at their starting winery and an ornament from each participating winery. Each attendee will receive a free holiday wine glass & food and wine pairings. Come see the wineries decorated for Christmas. An early sell-out, tickets are advance sale only.
*Fee $45 per person; $55 per couple 10AM to 5PM Saturday; Noon to 5PM Sunday
*Fees do not include 8% sales tax and $2.50 handling charge per order. Each attendee will receive a souvenir wineglass. Inquire about a season pass Designated Driver ticket 25% off

Friday, December 8 - Sunday, December 10
It's A Wonderful Life Weekend in Seneca FallsThe 60th Anniversary of the Release of the FilmParade, Bonfire, Caroling, Film Festival, Train Rides, Buggy Rides, North Pole, USO Cantine, Chili Cookoff, Zuzu Dinner, the Dance by the Light of the Moon with Big Band Sounds of Swing and last but not least, attendance by Karolyn Grimes. Watch for further information and check out the website (in process) at

10th Annual Seneca Santa Party Dec 9 Noon - 6:00 PM
Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards
Price: $7 donation at the door which goes to the kids and gets you a complimentary souvenir wine glass. An amazing party for a truly worthy cause, come help us raise funds to bring Christmas to the region’s underprivileged children. Live music, live & silent action, raffles, food, recreational beverages. Come party for the kids! Come party for the kids! Go to for full details. Call (607) 546-WINE to make private or business donations.

Dosage Your Own Champagne - You're the Winemaker Today! Dec 9 - Dec 10
Glenora Wine Cellars
This is a unique opportunity to create your own individual bottles of champagne to give as holiday gifts or to ring in the New Year. You head to the cellar, don an apron and disgorge (that’s the technical term for removing the yeast) and dosage (that’s how you make it sweet) your own champagne.
In other words, you create a wine that is to your own personal liking.
Don’t worry, our winemaker, Steve DiFrancesco will teach you everything you need to know!!
Not only is this FUN, but you end up with GREAT sparkling wines to take home and enjoy in the New Year. RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED (please call 800-243-5513) and there is a one case minimum per couple 12 bottles per case, $25 per bottle.) Appointments are approximately 1/2 hour.

Hammondsport’s Christmas in the Park Dec 9 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Hammondsport Chamber of Commerce
Old Fashioned Christmas with music, food, Santa, storytelling, wagon rides, vendors & more.

Santa Lucia Day Dec 9 Noon - 5:00 PM
Swedish Hill Winery
Celebrate the traditional Swedish holiday with us. Enjoy special treats handed out by Santa Lucia.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Finger Lakes News & Notes

- Plenty to do and see in Autumn in The Finger Lakes

- Autumn in The Montezuma Wildlife Refuge

- California winery uses Finger Lakes grapes for its Riesling

- Wet Finger Lakes summer doesn't spoil tourism

- Columbus Day weekend is biggest tourist weekend of the year for Finger Lakes

- Ithaca seeing hotel room boom

- New York Times Travel Section profiles The Finger Lakes

- Foreign tourists like Finger Lakes trees

- 14 million dollar hotel to be built in Watkins Glen

- If you are looking for a gift for any Finger Lakes wine lovers, check out my Finger Lakes T-shirt and my Finger Lakes songs on the Links listings on the left side of this page. Proceeds go to Hospice organizations.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Finger Lakes Songs For Your Listening Pleasure

- Well, I've finally uploaded the Finger Lakes songs that I have written and recorded. You can listen to them at
Please let me know what you think, but be gentle. There are 6 songs:
-Finger Lakes- which is the one I have had on the blog
-I've Been To All The Finger Lakes Wineries, which is my tribute to all the Finger Lakes wineries
-Cayuga Daydream, which is a dreamy instrumental inspired by Cayuga Lake
-Sparkling Diamonds, which was inspired by Keuka Lake
-I Want To Thank Dr. Frank, which is my tribute to the legendary Dr. Frank
-Sailboats On Seneca, inspired by Seneca Lake
I hope you enjoy them. As with my Finger Lakes Tshirt, all proceeds will be donated to the great folks at Hospice, who do such a terrific job. Thank You all for continuing to support this blog!!!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Finger Lakes Winery Visit Summaries & Events Listings

I'm still backlogged on my winery visit summaries with over 20 waiting to be done. Where does the time go. Here's a few more:

- Yates Cellars Winery- After eating lunch at the elegant Esperanza Mansion in their Grill Room overlooking Keuka Lake, we visited nearby Yates Cellars Winery. By the way, lunch at the Esparanza Mansion Grill Room was fantastic. Great Food, Great Service, Great View. Here's a tip for all you fellow bargain shoppers out there (and this goes for all upscale restaurants): Dinners are pretty pricey at upscale restaurants and resorts, but you can get the same fine food and service on a slightly less grand scale for Lunch (or Brunch, if they offer it) at a very affordable price.
Alan Hunt operates his winery out of an historic 1838 mansion with vineyards dating back to 1860. He keeps his production small, but the quality is excellent. Highlights of the tasting for me were Gewurtzraminer- if you like classic Gewurtz like me, this is it, very floral aroma, crisp and spicy, excellent; Traminette- I'm a Traminette groupy and this one was excellent, like the Gewurtz, very floral aroma, balanced with smooth Tram spice; Sailors Delight- Traminette blended with 10% Cayuga that adds a touch of sweetness; Cabernet Franc- fragrant grassy aromas and very nice blackberry and dark fruit on the palate with a nice unique hint of citrus. The fragrancy of the wines at Yates really wowed me and, as they say, taste is predominantly from the nose.

- Cascata Winery- Located in an 1885 restored farmhouse on the west side of Seneca Lake just north of Watkins Glen, Cascata Winery is an oasis for wine afficianados and artists alike. Owner K. Coralee Burch is an internationally known artist and the Winery and B&B overflow with paintings and prints. Tastings include Fireside Chardonnay- Very good and balanced with light oak and butter flavors; Cascade Riesling- Medium sweet and very smooth flavors of apple and pear; Sweet Iris- made from the Delaware grape, light and grapey; Awakening- a nice semi-sweet blush.
If you like art, check out the Art Opening: Ocean Escape Art Show Sep 16 - Sep 17
Free tasting of selected wines between 12-3 Sunday. Original art by owner from 2006 September Cape Cod art show, seaside and New England paintings by Coralee Burch in pastel, acrylics, artist markers and watercolor. Discounts on prints of Cape Cod or seaside art. Sunday 1-3 PM demonstration of pastel painting by owner/artist Coralee Burch.
and also the Artist Workshops and Retreats taught by K. Coralee Burch

-Hermann J Wiemer Vineyard-(west side of Seneca Lake) As I posted recently, Hermann Wiemer is having a very good summer, especially after his 2005 Dry Riesling was awarded the prestigious Governors Cup at the New York Wine & Food Classic. Hermann Wiemer is certainly one of the "royalty" of Finger Lakes winemakers, having helped shape and define the direction of Finger Lakes wine and crafting world class Riesling. My homage to him, an actual Wiemer Riesling vine (which they sell in their tasting room), is planted in my backyard. My tastings there earlier this summer included 2002 Chardonnay- lots of fruit with elegant spicy oak; 2003 Reserve Chardonnay- similar to 2002, but with a little less oak and smoother; 2004 Estate Red- a blend of 30% Cab Franc, 60% Pinot Noir, and 10% Lemberger, plum and tobacco flavors with medium tannins; Dry Rose- blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay Noir, nice berry flavors, dry but crisp and elegant; 2004 Dry Johannisberg Riesling- Excellent with abundant fruit and mineral.

- Thanks to Ernesto washing out our plans last weekend, we made it to the last weekend of the Ansel Adams exhibit at the Corning Museum of Western Art and it was fantastic with never before shown photographs and a lot of his very early works. If it comes anywhere near you, I highly recommend it if you are a fan of his works.

As Autumn and Harvest Time arrives, There's lots to see and do!!! Some upcoming events in The Finger Lakes are:

- 14th Annual Community Soaring DaySep 16 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Sponsored by National Soaring Museum
Join the National Soaring Museum and the Harris Hill community for the 14th Annual Community Soaring Day. Community Soaring Day is a free annual event for the regional community to become acquainted with the National Soaring Museum.

- Blues & BBQSep 16 6:00 PM - 10:30 PM
at Heron Hill Winery
The Campbell Brothers Band will be here for your dancing pleasure playing Southern Rock and soulful Blues. Dinosaur BBQ will be here to prepare a great BBQ Style buffet.
$40.00 + tax per person

- Keuka Oktoberfest Sep 16 - Sep 17
Keuka Lake Wine Trail
A favorite event for many! Enjoy German music and food. Taste world-class Germanic style wines produced in the Finger Lakes. See the area in one of its most spectacular seasons: Autumn. Fee $20 per person $25 per person at the door. 10AM to 5PM Saturday; Noon to 5PM Sunday.

- Leaves & Lobsters on the Lawn Sep 16 - Sep 17 Noon
at Glenora Wine Cellars
Celebrate the 2006 Harvest with Leaves & Lobsters.
Serving Noon-4:00 pm, Music 1 pm-5 pm. The Sam Pallet Band- Tickets now on sale! Reservations required.
An unbeatable combination of live music, the autumn view of Seneca Lake and a "Down East Lobster Bake." The Sam Pallet Band will be back on the Vineyard Stage!
Feast on a dinner of:Whole Maine lobster, steamed clams, salt potatoes, Freshly picked sweet corn, crisp cole slaw, Rolls & butter, Mini cheesecake, coffee & tea - $45.00 per person includes sales tax

-German Festival Sep 17 12:30 PM - 4:30 PM
at Lucas Vineyards
Live German Band and Dancers, Grape Stomping, Grape Pies, German Food, Polka Contest, Costumes. Fun for the whole family! Rain or Shine (under the tents!)

- Appleumpkin Days Sep 21 - Sep 25
Sixth Annual Oldies But Goodies Appleumpkin Days. Daily 9:30 AM-6:00 PM, Sunday 11:00 AM-5:00 PM.
Maple Valley Farms will offer apples & cider, pumpkins & fresh corn! Big Flats Wine & Spirits will do a wine sampling on Saturday & Sunday!

-Crystal City Jazz & Wine Festival Sep 22 - Sep 23
Corning's Gaffer District comes alive with the sounds of Jazz. Participating businesses will feature live jazz entertainment and wine tasting. Enjoy local and regional jazz artists in Centerway Square.

-Red Wine and Chocolate Sep 23 - Sep 24 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
at Keuka Spring Vineyards
Sample our chocolate chili and chocolate desserts with an array of award-winning Keuka Spring dry red wines.

-SMC’s 18th Anniversary Harvest Festival Sep 23 - Sep 24
at Six Mile Creek Vineyard
Come and celebrate our anniversary with live music, hayrides, food, and fun for the whole family. All are welcome! Special offers and tastings available.

- Summer, Sip & Savor Saturday Sep 23 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Eastside Keuka Lake Wineries
Travel the 6 wineries on the Eastern shore of Keuka Lake for a variety of food and wine pairings. Rooster Hill Vineyards will be featuring freshly grilled Italian Sausages along with peppers & onions and a sample of Cayuga White! What a great summer treat! Saturday Only.

- Vine Dining Sep 24 5:30 PM
at Atwater Estate Vineyards
Champagne gathering to begin at 5:30 at the winery; retreating to the vineyards* will be at 6:00. Dinner will begin around 6:15 and last until the sun goes behind the hill.Price: $75.00 per person and includes all wine and gratuity.JOIN US ON SEPTEMBER 24! What could be better than dining with wine? Dining with wine in the vines, that’s what! Join us and Chef Sam from Simply Red Village Bistro in our beautiful vineyard setting overlooking Seneca Lake, as she and her staff prepares a seasonal five-course dinner for sixteen. Enjoy our wines, perfectly paired to complement each course, as you sit in a spectacular setting amongst the vines.

- Gone to the Dogs Sep 29 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM
at Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards
Hazlitt Winery extends a warm welcome to Dog Show participants, owners, and spectators for a Friday night Kibbles & Wine mixer. We will offer light appetizers, wine specials and happy hour music.

-Hunt Country Vineyards 16th Annual Gourmet Harvest Festival Sep 30 - Oct 1
at Hunt Country Vineyards

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Finger Lakes Picture Time

- Since it takes so long to upload pictures via Blogger, I don't put that many photos in my regular posts. So I plan to do a monthly post of just the Finger Lakes pictures that I have taken. Double click on pictures for a larger view.

The beautiful tasting room at Ventosa Vineyards. Double Click on photos to enlarge

A Gorgeous summer day on our deck overlooking Seneca Lake.

From Atwater Vineyards looking toward Chateau Lafayette Reneau's tasting room and Seneca Lake.

This flower caught my eye at Chateau Lafayette Reneau.

I was mesmerized by the wood sculptures (above) and copper wire weaving (below) by June Szabo that were on display at Leidenfrost Vineyards. Here is June's website and an article about her.
What an amazing creative talent!

A Seneca Lake Sunset from Clute Park.
Double click on the photo to enlarge it.

The magnificent Belhurst Castle in Geneva.

As you can see by the photos, there are so many terrific sights and great things to do and places to visit in The Finger Lakes. I still haven't visited one tenth of them. But I'm trying!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Finger Lakes News & Notes

- I had a great time last Saturday pouring tastings and talking wine with customers at Seneca Shore Winery. I'd like to thank Dave for the opportunity to see what it's like on the other side of the tasting bar. It's not all fun and games though, with plenty of stocking the shelves, washing the glasses, and pouring lots of wine! Be sure to stop by Seneca Shore when you are in the Finger Lakes. They have some of the finest wine, including my favorite Chardonnays (Mmmmm, Buttery).

- Jim Trezise of NYWGF gives this report from the 2006 New York Wine & Food Classic: Hermann J Wiemer Vineyards of the Finger Lakes Region won the coveted “Governor’s Cup” trophy at the 2006 New York Wine & Food Classic competition, held on August 15 & 16 at the Inn on the Lake in Canandaigua, the northwest gateway to Finger Lakes wine country. The “Winery of the Year” award went to Dr. Konstantin Frank’s Vinifera Wine Cellars of the Finger Lakes region.

The elegant Governor’s Cup, a large silver chalice, recognizes the “Best of Show” or top prize of all entries in the Classic, known as “The Oscars” of New York wine. The “Winery of the Year” award is presented to the winery with the best overall showing based on the level and number of awards in relation to entries.

This year’s competition included over 700 New York wines from Long Island, the Hudson Valley, the Finger Lakes, Niagara Escarpment, Lake Erie, and other regions of New York State. The 2005 Riesling from the Finger Lakes region, was also voted “Best White Wine” and “Best Dry Riesling Wine” on its way to the ultimate award. Dr. Konstantin Frank’s Vinifera Wine Cellars tied for Best Gewurztraminer with their 2005 Gewurztraminer and received 2 Double Gold and 5 Silver medals in being awarded “Winery of the Year” accolades.

The awards were announced at a special “Governor’s Cup Celebration” luncheon at The New York Wine & Culinary Center. The restaurant prepared a special multi-course luncheon using all New York ingredients and paired with award-winning wines from the 2005 competition, which was also held at the Inn on the Lake.

The awards were based on blind tastings by 24 expert judges, which included a majority from other states, with a large contingent from California. Judges included prominent wine writers, restaurateurs, retailers, and wine educators. Four-judge panels determined the initial awards, with top-scoring wines evaluated by all 24 judges for Best of Category and Governor’s Cup awards.

Celebrating its 21st year, the Classic is organized by Teresa Knapp of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation and is open to all 239 New York wineries from all regions. In 2006, a total of 30 Double Gold, 53 Gold, 200 Silver, and 249 Bronze medals were awarded. In addition, “Best of Category” and “Best of Class” designations were awarded to wines rated as the finest in various areas. Double Gold medals require unanimity among the judges on a panel that a wine deserves a Gold medal, whereas Gold medals require a majority vote.

The “Best of Category” awards went to Chateau Frank 2000 Blanc de Noirs for Best Sparkling Wine, Hermann J Wiemer 2005 Dry Riesling for Best White Wine, Chateau Lafayette Reneau Emperor’s Blush for Best Rose or Blush Wine, Jamesport Vineyards 2004 Cabernet Franc for Best Red Wine, Baldwin Vineyards Strawberry Wine for Best Specialty Wine and Wolffer Estate Vineyards 2005 Late Harvest Chardonnay for Best Dessert Wine.

The “Best of Class” award for different varietals or proprietary blends went to Chateau Frank 2000 Blanc de Noirs for Best Vinifera Sparkling Wine, Bedell Cellars/Corey Creek Vineyards 2005 Reserve Chardonnay for Best Chardonnay Wine, Hermann J Wiemer 2005 Dry Riesling for Best Dry Riesling Wine, Mazza Chautauqua Cellars 2005 Riesling for Best Semi-Dry Riesling Wine, Chateau Lafayette Reneau 2005 Johannisberg Riesling for Best Semi-Sweet Riesling Wine, Bedell Cellars/Corey Creek Vineyards 2005 Gewurztraminer and Dr. Konstantin Frank’s Vinifera Wine Cellars 2005 Gewurztraminer tied for Best Gewurztraminer Wine, Swedish Hill Vineyards 2005 Cayuga White for Best Cayuga White Wine, Atwater Estate Vineyards 2005 Vidal Blanc for Best Other White Hybrid Wine, Thirsty Owl Wine Company 2005 Diamond for Best Other Native Varietal Wine, Red Newt Cellars Red Newt White for Best White French American Hybrid Wine, Red Newt Cellars Blue Newt White for Best Niagara Wine, Lucas Vineyards Miss Behavin’ for Best Native White Blend Wine, Chateau Lafayette Reneau Emperor’s Blush for Best Blush Wine, Jamesport Vineyards 2004 Cabernet Franc for Best Cabernet Franc Wine, Peconic Bay Winery 2001 Merlot for Best Merlot Wine, Chateau Lafayette Reneau 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon for Best Cabernet Sauvignon Wine, Chateau Lafayette Reneau 2002 Pinot Noir for Best Pinot Noir Wine, Keuka Spring Vineyards 2005 Lemberger for Best Other Red Vinifera Wine, Lucas Vineyards 2005 Tug Boat Red for Best French American Hybrid Red Blend Wine, Torrey Ridge Winery Scarlet Red for Best Mead Wine, Baldwin Vineyards Strawberry Wine for Best Fruit Wine, Wolffer Estate Vineyards 2005 Late Harvest Chardonnay for Best Late Harvest Wine, and Lakewood Vineyards 2005 Borealis for Best Ice/Iced Wine.

Complete results of the 2006 Classic will soon be posted under “New York Gold” at, which also includes Gold medal New York wines from other major competitions.

- I stopped by Fulkerson Winery the other weekend and John told me that the 2005 Vincent, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, & Gewurztraminer will be released soon. Also, as of a couple weekends ago, only 30 cases of the 2005 Traminette were remaining, so get it while you can. And Sayre & John from Fulkerson will be leading a wine class at the New York Wine & Culinary Center on Aug. 30.

- I stopped by to see Ted at Atwater Estate Vineyards (east side of Seneca Lake) but, alas, he was not there. But his excellent staff treated me to tastings of the 2003 Chardonnay (nice vanilla and oak balance), 2005 Gewurztraminer (aromatic and spicy), the very nice 2005 Reserve Riesling, the smooth and excellent summer wine Somerset Blush (Catawba/Cayuga blend), and surprise, their 2005 Columbia Valley Riesling (when bad winters damaged their Riesling vines, they outsourced from Washington state)- Washington state makes my second favorite Rieslings. It's interesting to compare the differences between New York & Washington Rieslings. Washington has more tangerine and less of that Finger Lakes mineral that I have come to love.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Contest & News & Notes

- Announcing The First Finger Lakes Weekend Wino Blog Contest-
I'm giving away one of my new Finger Lakes T-shirts (See link at left) and a Pre-Release CD copy of my new Finger Lakes CD titled "Sparkling Diamonds - Songs of the Finger Lakes" to one lucky winner. All you have to do is write the name of the 11 Finger Lakes (I know some people will debate how many there are, but most sources are in agreement that there are 11) in the form at the bottom of the page. Only one entry per email address. The contest will end next Wednesday, August 16 at midnight. I will print all of the emails with correct answers out, fold them real small, put them in a bucket, and have the neighbor kid pull one out randomly. Very Scientific. My decision is final. I hope I don't have to include a lot of legalese. Good Luck and start sending those entries!

- Jim Trezise of NYWGF reports the following from the Indy International Wine Competition:
INDY INTERNATIONAL wine competition celebrated its 15th anniversary last week by becoming the largest wine competition in the country, with 3,859 entries. New York wineries came away with a total of 118 medals including 4 “Concordance Gold” (requiring unanimity), 8 Gold, 44 Silver, and 62 Bronze. The Concordance Gold winners included Chiappone Cellars Winery 2005 Ives, and three 2005 Finger Lakes Rieslings from Chateau LaFayette Reneau, Hosmer Winery, and Thirsty Owl Wine Company. Gold medals went to Chateau LaFayette Reneau 2003 Chardonnay, Chiappone 2005 Diamond, Earle Estates Apple Enchantment, Hazlitt 2005 Pinot Gris, Hosmer 2005 Cayuga, Honeymoon Trail 2005 Pink Catawba, Lakewood 2005 Delaware and 2005 Abby Rose. These and other recent competition results or other forms of recognition will soon be posted under “New York Gold” at

- The Finger Lakes Weekend Wino will be on the other side of the tasting room bar this Saturday as I help pour wine for tastings at Seneca Shore Winery on the northwest side of Seneca Lake. Stop by and say Hi. But you'll have to help sing the Seneca Shore song if you want to taste!

- I had a great time last weekend at the Italian-American festival by the lake in Watkins Glen (awesome pierogies) and also at the Garlic Festival at Fox Run Vineyards (I never knew there were so many different types of garlic and now I know what scapes are). There's always something happening in the Finger Lakes. This weekend is no exception with a ton of things happening:
Keuka East Side Wineries- Summer, Sip, & Savor event
Keuka Overlook Wine Cellars- A Touch of Venice & Sicily
McGregor Vineyard Winery- Blues and Blueberries event
Barrington Cellars- Cold Pastabilities
Keuka Spring Vineyards- Merlot and Mignon
Swedish Hill Vineyard- Limited Release Tasting event
Ravines Wine Cellars- Cab Franc with Argentine Beef
Catch the last month of the Ansel Adams exhibit at The Rockwell Museum of Western Art in Corning
The Skaneateles Festival features top Classical performers
And I hope to see you at The Glen for NASCAR on Sunday.
It's going to be a BUSY weekend!!!
For more info on what's happening in the Finger Lakes, The Visit Finger Lakes website has a nice calendar feature.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Finger Lakes News & Notes

- New Ethanol plant to be located at former Seneca Army Depot

- A few fun things to do in August

- Another tragic warning to be very careful when swimming in the lakes

- A reminder not to release fish or bait from one lake into another lake

- According to this article, millions of pounds of eels used to be harvested from the Finger Lakes

- Dundee proposes new codes for the village such as banning open fire pits

- Owasco Lake in the worst shape environmentally due to high levels of phosphorous

- Finger Lakes wineries using worms to fertilize vines

- A writer contemplates the many moods of Keuka Lake

- 10 pieces of Geneva history

- If you are interested in the history of New York wine, as well as just about anything else you'd want to know, this New York wine course produced by super-knowledgable and well-traveled president of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation Jim Trezise has all the info for you. The NYWGF's Uncork New York website is the ultimate source for info about New York wine.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

More Finger Lakes Winery Visit Summaries

- I had not been to Catherine Valley Winery (east side of Seneca Lake) since right after they first opened. The Texans are still trying to get on their feet after a couple of hard winters, but are moving ahead with plantings of new grape varieties. Charlie, the winery dog, greeted us cordially as all winery dogs should do and we enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of their tasting room. Highlights were their unique blend of Riesling and Vidal called "The Blue Goose"($12.00), named after a local Prohibition-era watering hole, and "The Lost Irishman" ($9.00), a sweet refreshing Catawba wine perfect for summer picnics.

- I made my yearly (or as often as I can get there) pilgrimmage to visit my wine tasting mentor Dave Whiting at his Red Newt Cellars and, alas, he was not there. But we had fun tasting his wines and having lunch on the deck. I enjoyed the Cabernet Franc ($19.50), Medium tannins with cranberry and smoky berry flavors; Cabernet Sauvignon ($19.50), hints of smoke and tobacco, but very smooth; My summer favorite Red Newt White, (9.99) perfectly balanced with citrus highlights into a dry finish; and the excellent Syrah Reserve $28.50), one of the few Finger Lakes Syrah that I know of and it bodes well for this grape's future in the Finger Lakes if the winters cooperate.

- Leidenfrost Vineyards- I think they sort of like to stay under the radar and they don't get the publicity that some of the other wineries do, but I am always impressed by the quality of their wines. 2002 Pinot Noir ($15) smoky cherry aromas and smooth cherry flavor with light tannins and a great value; 2005 Riesling ($12) citrus and mineral in a very light semi-dry style; and Sonata ($8) a unique blend of 3 of my favorites Gewurztraminer, Cayuga, and Vignoles, honey and pineapple with a spicy finish... Heaven!, And the artwork on exhibit is wonderful.

- Bloomer Creek Vineyard- We visited their temporary tasting room in the cellar of the still-being-constructed new tasting room located beside my favorite pulled pork bar b q at The Stonecat Cafe. Highlights for me were 2003 Cabernet Franc ($14) grass and berry aromas with lots of raspberry and cherry fuit and just a touch of smoke; Arabella ($10) a blend of Riesling & Cayuga (but I would swear there was some Gewurz in there) Grapefruit, spice and nice acidity; Half Moon Rose ($10) a blend of Cabernet Franc & Chardonnay that finishes dry, but soft... like Rodney Dangerfield hooking up with Marilyn Monroe. I know, probably not the best image to conjure up, but the wine is good; Cayuga White ($8) Oh the many faces of Cayuga, this one presents a semi-dry citrussy facade with a unique spicy bite at the end. Wino Like.

- Chateau Lafayette Reneau- It's like coming home to the Castle Royale. They do take their wine serious here, and for good reason. I still reminisce about our anniversary weekend at The Inn. The Wine,The Breakfast, The View, The Vineyards, The Deck, The Hot Tub. They treat you like royalty. The awards speak for themselves. 2002 Pinot Noir (19.99) smoke, cherries, and tobacco dressed in smooth silky tannins, delightful; 2003 Reserve Chardonnay ($19.99) Vanilla, butter, and the perfect amount of smooth oak; 2005 Dry Riesling ($14.99) Amazing amounts of peach with citrus and mineral; 2005 Johannisberg Riesling ($14.99) Peach and pear flavors perfectly balanced on a backbone of citrus; 2003 Late Harvest Riesling (14.99) Honey, peach , and pineapple, but NOT sickingly sweet, just right.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Finger Lakes News & Notes

- More Black Bears being spotted in the Finger Lakes

- A nice article about Sheldrake Point

- Storm runoff is deteriorating the quality of Seneca Lake water

- The New York Culinary Center cooks up some good eats

- Water Park to be built in Farmington now

- Nature Conservancy obtains land near Hemlock and Canadice Lakes

- I recently saw June Szabo's exhibit of wood and wire sculptures on display at Leidenfrost Vineyards and the works are truly spectacular

- New Seneca Lake winery opening next month and just down the road. Welcome neighbor!!!

- A good article on organic wine (or the lack of it) in The Finger Lakes

- Lots of old fashioned fun at the Hector fair this weekend

- Send little Alyssa a birthday card and a penny for her birthday... and your prayers

- The first ever Finger Lakes International Dragon Boat Festival

- Finger Lakes Wine Festival Goers come from all over

- Wal-Mart versus The Finger Lakes

- Keuka Lake group receives half million from California charity for park honoring Glenn Curtiss

- Pinotblogger summarizes each day as he is attending the OIV Wine course with good info for wineries

Friday, July 21, 2006

My New Finger Lakes Tshirt For Charity

- One good thing about being unemployed for the last few months is that I have had time to work on some creative projects that I'm going to donate proceeds to charities in The Finger Lakes region. I am working on a CD titled Songs of the Finger Lakes featuring my original songs inspired by The Finger Lakes and that should be completed within a month. I have been working on a humorous illustrated book about The Finger Lakes which I hope to have finished by Fall and I have designed a Finger Lakes Tshirt, which is now finished and available for sale at Tee Shirts 4 Fun. The artwork was done by my friend Annette Myers, who I thank for her beautiful rendering of the idea that appeared in my mind. I will be donating proceeds to Ontario-Yates Hospice and
Southern Tier Hospice because Hospice has helped my family and friends deal with terminal illness. Hospice is a very special organization with special caregivers to help the sick and their families deal with the many physical, mental, and emotional issues that arise when dealing with terminal illness. See the finished design below. The hand portrays the earth and labor from which the grapevines spring forth, the lakes represent the water and climate that provide the conditions needed for the growth of the vines, and the wine glass is the final product of that world-class Finger Lakes wine. The phrase "Wrap Your Fingers Around Our Fingers" is an invitation to all to come and experience the beauty and wine of The Finger Lakes.

In the coming weeks, this design will also be available on other items available at
Tee Shirts 4 Fun such as coffee mugs, hats, posters, bumper stickers, etc. I think it's a wonderful gift idea for any Finger Lakes wine lover on your gift list and you'll be helping out the Hospice organizations with your purchase and all purchases are guaranteed with the Cafe Press 30 day money back guarantee. I have purchased many items through the Cafe Press network and they have top-notch customer service. I hope you like it and I would love to hear your comments.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Q&A with Virginia Wine Blogger Dezel

I'm always interested to hear how people from other states and regions perceive the Finger Lakes. Dezel, who writes a Virginia Wine Blog called My Virginia Wine Spot
had emailed me for some recommendations for his trip to The Finger Lakes and we got to know each other through our emails and we just missed meeting each other while he was in The Finger Lakes a few weeks ago. I took the opportunity to do a Q&A with Dezel on his trip.

WW: What got you interested in visiting the Finger Lakes?
D: One of my co-workers who was aware that I had an interest in wine told me some really positive things about the Finger Lake area. He and his wife have been frequenting the Finger Lakes since the 70’s, and brought in some literature for me to review. A few weeks later I attended an International Wine and Food festival in Washington DC. The Finger Lakes had several booths set up and I conversed with all of the wineries and sampled a lot of good Riesling, thus confirming my decision to visit the Finger Lakes.

WW: What were your overall impressions of your visit
to the Finger Lakes?
D: The Finger Lakes totally exceeded my expectations. What a wonderful place to work, live and play. There are not too many places where you are smack dab in the middle of great restaurants, quality wine producers, and those picturesque and romantic lake views. I’m itching to return sometime soon and take in some of what I missed.

WW: How did your preconceived expectations of the Finger Lakes differ from what you actually experienced?
D: I had pictured tall buildings, traffic, haste and it was the exact opposite. What I found was friendly people, a relaxed and charming atmosphere, vineyards, trees, green fields and those wonderful lakes.

WW: What are the main differences between the wineries in Virginia and the Finger Lakes?
D: The Finger Lakes produce a number of Native American varietals and delicious true ice wines that you do not find here in Virginia (the ice wines for obvious reasons). Due to friendly competition and a plethora of wineries, the Finger Lakes has the ideal set-up for tourism and high volume, which is good news for the consumer resulting in lower ($1) or no tasting fees, and a lower price on the bottled product. Tasting fees in Virginia range from $3 to $5, and sometimes more for a ‘Reserve’ tasting. To Virginia’s defense the wineries are a bit more scattered and not as accessible in a days travel, so that level of friendly competition and everyday volume is not present like in the Finger Lakes.

WW: What were your favorite 3 wineries and why?
D: First off let me say that none of the wineries were less than satisfactory that we visited. There is certainly some very good wine being made in the Finger Lakes today. Based on our total experience at these places, including quality, atmosphere, staff, etc, if pressed I would select the following in no particular order.

Dr. Franks on Keuka Lake was a wonderful time. Both of us found the red and whites to be of equally good quality. Their Riesling was some of the best I had on our trip. The staff was very personable and knowledgeable and we found the grounds attractive.

Heron Hill on Keuka Lake was a favorite as well. Outside of the stunning views and beautiful and spacious tasting area, Heron Hill has some really good wines overall, and a Riesling Icewine to die for. The staff was also very friendly and knowledgeable about the wines produced there. If that is not enough, the sandwiches at the Café in my humble opinion are awesome! I feel totally cheated when I visit Subway now.

Fox Run on the West Side of Seneca Lake does a good job of balancing everything out. There we found very good wines, and enjoyed the collected effort that went into the 2004 Tierce Riesling. We had great conversation here with the tasting associate and enjoyd our time spent. More bonuses would be the Café, and Wine merchandise store and tours.

WW: Was the Finger Lakes visitor-friendly (signs, people,lodging, etc.)?
Not much to add here, everything was exceptional.

WW: What ways could the visitor experience be improved?
D: My visit to the Finger Lakes was specifically geared towards wine tasting. Surprisingly I could not find too much consumer information or reviews on the wineries in the area. That is when I came across your blog and said awesome! It was exactly what we were looking for in terms of information, and your Finger Lakes tasting tips were golden. Thank You very much and we will pass your page on to anyone curious or thinking about visiting the Finger Lake area.

WW: Will you return to the Finger Lakes?
D: Of course we will return, much sooner than later.

WW: Any other comments about the Finger Lakes?
D: We are happy to have found a wonderful vacation spot in driving reach, and to have met nice people as you. Keep up the great work with your Finger Lake blog and music. We love it !

I have to agree with Dezel that, when my wife and I first thought about visiting The Finger Lakes many years ago, our preconceived notion was that New York state is all like New York City; big and bustling with traffic and angry commuters. But New York state is so much more than just New York City. It's got one of the most beautiful State Park systems of any state and The Finger Lakes, in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful areas in the U.S. My thanks to Dezel for answering my questions and for becoming another blogger friend of mine. I've never personally met a lot of them, but I feel know some of my blogger friends better than some people that I've been around all my life. That has been one of the unexpected blessings of writing this blog. Make sure to visit Dezel's wine blog at My Virginia Wine Spot.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

News & Notes

- A big Thank You to fellow New York wine blogger Lenn at LennDevours for helping me to access the Wine Advocate issue of June 30 that profiled New York wineries. In that issue, David Schildknecht profiled and rated wines from 11 Finger Lakes wineries: Anthony Road, Atwater, Dr. Frank, Heron Hill, Chateau Lafayette Reneau, Lamoreaux Landing, Shalestone, Sheldrake Point, Silver Thread, Standing Stone, & Hermann Wiemer. The wines he chose to put in this issue were what he felt were "wines of special distinction". Here are the wines and his ratings:
(80-89 is Above Average to Very Good & 90-95 is Outstanding)

Anthony Road- 2005 Pinot Gris (87-89), 2005 Pinot Noir (87-89), 2005 Riesling Semi-Dry (86)
Atwater Estate- 2005 Vidal Blanc (88)
Dr. Frank- 2005 Dry Riesling (90), 2005 Riesling Reserve (89+)
Heron Hill- 2002 Riesling Reserve (86), 2005 Riesling Reserve (86-88), 2003 Ingle Riesling (86), 2004 Ingle Riesling ( 87), 2005 Ingle Riesling (87-89), 2004 Late Harvest Riesling (90), 2003 Riesling Ice Wine (89)
Chateau Lafayette Reneau- 2005 dry Riesling (86)
Lamoreaux Landing- 2005 Gewurztraminer (88), 2002 Cabernet Franc (89), 2002 Cabernet Franc T23 (89)
Shalestone- 2003 Cabernet Franc (88)
Sheldrake Point- 2004 Riesling Ice Wine (90)
Silver Thread- 2002 Blackbird (87), 2002 Pinot Noir (86), 2002 Riesling (88)
Standing Stone- 2005 Riesling (88), 2004 Vidal Ice (87)
Hermann Wiemer- 2003 Blanc De Noirs (86+), 2003 Dry Gewurztraminer (89), 2005 Dry Gewurztraminer (87-89)
And in his comments, he also mentioned "....several others whose 2005 reds looked to set new standards include...Fox Run and Red Newt.

-Sheila Livadas features Wagner Vineyards in her latest profile

- A wine blogger from Virginia gives his thoughts on his recent trip to the Finger Lakes. I will post more about him soon.

- Wineries help contribute 2 billion dollars to Finger Lakes tourism

- The Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival features a unique combination of artists July 20-23

- The grape crop is looking good and has potential to be great!

- Have you heard of Noiret, Corot Noir, & Valvin Muscat... 3 new grapes created at Cornell University. More info here and here.

- If you are visiting the Finger Lakes, the boat tours are a great way to have fun and learn about the lakes

- Grape farmers give wish list to Schumer

- And I just have to give another shout out to Pennsylvania winery Clover Hill
and their amazing Vignoles (as I finish another glass of it)- Pineapple, Honey, Candied Lemon Drops, and Raisins in layer after layer of intense flavor.

- And I want to thank all of you who have given me support and encouragement over the past few months as I was laid off and looking for new employment! I am glad to report that I am employed again and it looks to be a fantastic opportunity for me. Thanks Again!!! I have met so many good people through this blog and I am so blessed to know you all.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

2006 Finger Lakes Photos

With 2006 over halfway over already, I wanted to share some of my photos this year so far of Finger Lakes life and wine. Here is the first of several posts of photos. Double click on photos for a larger view.

-This is my newly acquired prized posession - An actual Riesling baby vine from Hermann Wiemer Vineyards own nursery. They are selling them at the tasting room and I just had to have one from one from the Royalty of Riesling in the Finger Lakes. I have named my vine Reese Ling. My wife just shakes her head.

- Our friends standing under the 150 year old Willow at Miles Wine Cellars. Miles Wine Cellars is one of the few wineries that is actually down by the lake and it is just a beautiful place to visit.

- Lakeside View of Seneca Lake from the dock at Miles Wine Cellars where boaters can dock and walk up and get their favorite Miles wine.

-Looking at the back of Anthony Road's Tasting Room from their magnificent gardens. If you go to Anthony Road, you have to check out their gardens, as well as their wine.

-I had to take a picture at Anthony Road of this picture of the Tierce Amigos, my wine heroes Peter Bell of Fox Run, Johannes Reinhardt of Anthony Road, and my winetasting mentor David Whiting of Red Newt- the 3 co-creators of Tierce Riesling. If Seneca Lake had a Mt Rushmore, I think these guys should be on it. My wife just shakes her head.

-I'm finally learning how to take up close photos of grapes with my camera. I thought this one turned our pretty good. Double click on the photo for a larger view.

-This unique deer quilt caught my eye at Weaver View Farms. If you come to the Finger Lakes and want to find that unique gift, you'll find it here. Amish and Mennonite quilts and handmade products, homemade sauces and jellies, and lots of unique items on a real working Mennonite farm. We are addicted to their Apple Cinammon BarBQ sauce that you can not find anywhere else.

-I must have 100 pictures of this, but this view of Keuka Lake from the Bully Hill parking area always mesmerizes me.

-A Finger Lakes Full Moon rising over the trees.

-Looking out at Seneca Lake through these beautiful windows at the new Art Gallery Room at Leidenfrost Vineyards.

-The beautiful horses of The Buggy Rides with their owner at The Windmill. If you visit the Finger Lakes, you have to visit The Windmill Farm & Craft Market with almost 200 vendors selling everything from Fresh Produce to handcrafted gifts.

-Stay Tuned. More Photos to come.