Thursday, August 30, 2007

Tips for Planning Your Trip to the Finger Lakes

I get a lot of emails from people that are planning trips to the Finger Lakes for the first time asking advice about what to see, where to stay, and what wineries to visit, and I enjoy getting emails and giving advice, so keep them coming. However, common themes arise as I exchange email replies. My first reply usually asks questions like how long are you staying, at which lake do you want to make your base, what are your wine preferences, and what is your budget

Most folks are trying to do too much with too little time and do not realize how big The Finger Lakes area is (over 7500 square miles) and how many wineries (over 90) are here. So once I get them to zero in on a specific lake to explore and make their base at, and I get an idea of their wine palate, their interests, and their budget, then I can offer them my recommendations.

When visiting the Finger Lakes for the first time, especially if it's just for a long weekend, you really must do some planning if you want to get the most out of your visit. What are you most interested in doing? Wine Tasting, Hiking, Boating, Fishing, Visiting historical and/or touristy sites, Dinner cruises on a lake, Nightlife, or Relaxing (I always recommend SCHEDULING time for relaxing on a vacation because we get so caught up in trying to do everything that we end up exhausted when we get back home). Once you prioritize your interests, then research. and the other major search engines are a huge help. Just do searches for such keywords as "Finger Lakes", "Finger Lakes Lodging", "Finger Lakes Wine", "Finger Lakes Attractions", "Finger Lakes Tourism", "Finger Lakes Travel", "Finger Lakes Event Calendar", "Finger Lakes Dining", "Finger Lakes Fishing", etc. You get the idea.

Also, you can order (and also download some) free Finger Lakes Tourist Guides from,,

(or you can download this tourist guide at,

(or download this travel guide at,

(or download this guide in color at or in black and white for speedier download and using less ink if you want to print it out at,,,

For researching Finger Lakes wineries, visit or or or search through my archives.
or visit the Finger Lakes Wine Trail websites at or or

And above all, Have Fun!!! The Finger Lakes is a very special place with amazingly beautiful scenic treasures and world-class wines. A little bit of research will make your trip more enjoyable and relaxing. And if you have any questions about planning your trip, feel free to email me by filling out the form at the bottom of this page.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Finger Lakes News & Notes

- Lots of good features on including the current winery profile by Sheila Livadas, a very interesting Question and Answer feature with 10 Finger Lakes winemakers, and a great Interactive Map of The Finger Lakes.

- I came across this well-written article from 2006 by Pennsylvania state viticulturist Mark Chien "In Praise of Grape Varietal Diversity" that echoes my thoughts completely.

- If you want to do something to help our troops, this Beer Website has a list of websites where you can help.

- I've talked to some Finger Lakes winemakers in the last week who tell me the Finger Lakes grape crop is doing very well this year heading into the final months before harvest. The weather during these last weeks will be critical.

- Opici acquisition means broader distribution for some Finger Lakes wineries.

- Winery Tourism growing in less known local wine regions.

- Apple Farm is doing well

- Farm worker summit searches for answers.

- Finger Lakes Dairy treats are listed

- How about some Finger Lakes vodka?

- The second round of New York winery website improvement grants is announced. I've already noticed a huge improvement at a lot of Finger Lakes winery websites with colorful graphics, informative copy, pulldown menus, and ecommerce!

- State and local officials differ over Cayuga Indian land agreement

- Lake Trout fishing in the Finger Lakes

- Casa Larga ready for champagne shortage

- Iowa winery makes wine from Finger Lakes grapes

- A week of tranquility on Keuka Lake

- Keuka Lake travelogue

- Jason Feulner's latest post at LennDevour focuses on Bully Hill

- Ken & Theresa from Ken's Wine Guide post some reviews from their recent visit to the Finger Lakes.

- See Kathleen Lisson's informative webcast of Fred Frank giving a primer on how weather affects the grapes in the Finger Lakes. I visited Dr. Frank's new tasting room last weekend and it is fantastic; spacious with simple elegance and, of course, a fantastic view of Keuka Lake. Dr. Frank's 45th Anniversary Celebration is this Sunday (sold out).
Also, I will be performing again at Dr. Franks's on Sept. 8 & 9. Come on out!!!

- News from my neighbors to the south, Fulkerson Winery. New Releases:
*Cabernet Franc 2005, Residual Sugar: 0%, Alcohol: 12%, Bottling: 135 cases
Price: $14.00, I tasted this last weekend and it is excellent, ripe cherries and sweet vanilla with a touch of petrol on the finish.
* Dornfelder 2006, Residual Sugar: 0%, Alcohol: 12%, Bottling: 191 cases, Price: $16.00. A German red hybrid showing great promise. It is a cross between Helfensteiner and Heroldrebe grapes. Dornfelder is the 3rd most planted red wine grape in Germany . In the Finger Lakes region it is very scarce, only two wineries grow Dornfelder and Fulkerson is the only varietal wine producer.Tasting NotesOur innovative cult wine. Take a break from the ordinary with this hybrid grape variety from Germany . The Currant and spicy nose draws you into the medium bodied fruity taste with a long finish. Fulkerson Winery is the only producer of a Dornfelder varietal in the Finger Lakes with this Limited Quanity wine aged 8 months in 2 year old French Oak.
* Reserve Red 2005, Residual Sugar: 0%, Alcohol: 12%, Bottling: 323 cases, Price: $9.00
Comprised of Baco Noir and Corot Noir (NY 70.0809.10), a newly named numbered variety from the NYS Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva NY . Aged 10 months in 2/3 French Oak and 1/3 American Oak barrels.
* Ratings from Wine Enthusiast Magazine: October 2007 issue
87 Fulkerson 2006 Traminette $12.00 * Best Buy
84 Fulkerson 2005 Gewurztraminer $16.00
83 Fulkerson 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon $16.00

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

2007 New York Wine & Food Classic Winners Announced

Thanks to Jim Trezise at NYWGF for providing the results.
The Finger Lakes wineries winning top honors this year were:

2007 New York Wine & Food Classic
COPIA: The American Center for Wine, Food & the Arts
Napa, CA
August 7 & 8, 2007

Governor’s Cup
Thirsty Owl Wine Company 2006 Dry Riesling

Winery of the Year
Red Barn Winery

Best Sparkling Wine
Swedish Hill Vineyards NV Spumante Blush

Best White Wine
Thirsty Owl Wine Company 2006 Dry Riesling

Best Blush Wine
Barrington Cellars 2006 Buzzard’s Blush (Weekend Wino Favorite)

Best Specialty Wine
Red Barn Winery 2006 Raspberry Wine

Best of Class

Best Other Sparkling
Swedish Hill Vineyards NV Spumante Blush

Best Dry Riesling
Thirsty Owl Wine Company 2006 Dry Riesling

Best Unoaked Chardonnay
Cayuga Ridge Estate Winery 2006 Chardonnay

Best Pinot Gris
Hunt Country Vineyards 2006 Pinot Gris

Best Pinot Blanc
Glenora Wine Cellars 2006 Pinot Blanc

Best Gew├╝rztraminer
Standing Stone Vineyard 2006 Gew├╝rztraminer

Best Hybrid White Blend
Bloomer Creek Vineyards 2006 Reserve White

Best Vignoles
Anthony Road Wine Company 2006 Vignoles (Weekend Wino Favorite)

Best Vidal Blanc
Long Point Winery 2006 Vidal Blanc (Weekend Wino Value Pick)

Best Cayuga White
McGregor Vineyard Winery 2006 Cayuga White (Weekend Wino Favorite)

Best Other Blush
Barrington Cellars 2006 Buzzard’s Blush

Best Catawba
Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards Cabin Fever

Best Pinot Noir
Six Mile Creek Vineyard 2005 Pinot Noir

Best Native Red Blend
Fox Run Vineyards NV Fox Trot Red

Best Late Harvest
Swedish Hill Vineyards 2005 Late Harvest Vignoles

Best Port
Red Barn Winery 2005 Pauley’s Port

Best Mead
Torrey Ridge Scarlet Red (Weekend Wino Favorite)

Best Fruit Wine
Red Barn Winery 2006 Raspberry Wine

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Finger Lakes News & Notes

- (Shameless Plug) My new CD "Sparkling Diamonds - Songs of The Finger Lakes" is now for sale at the following locations:
* Dr. Frank Wine Cellars, Stop by Dr. Franks for their 45th Anniversary Celebration this month and see the brand new Tasting Room (and purchase a copy of my CD!).
* Arbor Hill Winery (in Naples NY and the CD will soon be available for sale online at Arbor Hill's website )
* Artizanns, Gifts from the Finger Lakes (in Naples NY)
* Barrington Cellars, east side of Keuka Lak
* Lakewood Vineyards, west side of Seneca Lak
* And the CD is coming soon to Fulkerson Winery. Check out Fulkerson's new very cool website.

* Or you can order the CD by mail by filling out the form at the bottom of this page
This CD makes a great gift for any fan of the Finger Lakes!!! Hear song clips by clicking here

- Fellow Golden Nose Graduate Kathleen Lisson is webcasting about Finger Lakes wine

- Lenndevours Finger Lakes' correspondent Jason Feulner posts about the growth of the Finger Lakes wine industry.

- Check out Glenora Winery's latest news, including a 20% off special!

- Check out the August Finger Lakes Event Calendar here

- Orchestra of The Southern Finger Lakes announces performance schedule

- The New York State Fair Wine Competition winners are announced with Atwater, Chateau Frank, Fox Run, Goose Watch, Knapp, Penguin Bay, & Torrey Rdige winning Best Of Category honors.

- The Indy International Wine Competition awards are announced with Torrey Ridge getting 3 Best Of Class Awards. Congratulations to The Earle's! Torrey Ridge & Earle Estates are kicking some serious butt in wine competitions this year. What I really like about Torrey Ridge is that its wines, even the sweet wines, are very balanced and full-flavored. And I always enjoy visiting the beautiful tasting room.

- This is a great story about Bob & Terry at Keuka Overlook and well-written by Barbara Cunningham at The Star-Gazette. I just have one thing to say to Bob- Make more Chardonnay, Everytime I go there, they are out of it, and Bob makes a helluva Chardonnay.

- Michael Leavy debuts new Finger Lakes book

- Seneca White Deer tours could become a reality

- Another great story, this one about Sam Argetsinger, and well-written as usual by the Star-Gazzette's Wine Guy, Jeff Richards.

- Got document water damage- this Finger Lakes company can help.

- New Canalway Trail segment opens

- Artists support Organic Farming

- Finger Lakes real estate prices are skyrocketing

- Fish Virus is spreading in Finger Lakes

- Finger Lakes Wine Festival recap

- The Grape Guy reviews Finger Lakes wine

- Folks give their opinion on Finger Lakes restaurants

- Retirees travelogue of Watkins Glen

- Student Pilot flies over The Finger Lakes

- Finger Lakes wineries did well at the Long Beach Grand Cru Wine Competition:

Best of Class:
Earle Estates, Niagara, & Red Raspberry Honey Wine.
Glenora Winery, 2006 Pinot Blanc.
Hazlitt 1852 Winery, 2006 Riesling, Reserve. (This wine is winning award after award)
Lamoreaux Landing, 2006 Riesling, Ice
Swedish Hill, NV Riesling Blue Waters & American 2005 Vignoles, Late Harvest
Torrey Ridge, NV Peach

See the complete results here