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.


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