The Finger Lakes Region of New York

Most charge a small fee of $1 or $2 to taste thru a line-up of 5 or 6 wines.  Each taster gets a very small pour of each wine, perhaps ¾ of an ounce.  While that is an adequate amount especially considering how many people seem to stop at every winery and swallow every drop, I found it a bit difficult to really get a good grasp on any particular wine.  I should note that while I spit out the majority of wines I tasted, I seemed to be the only one doing so and received more than few odd glances.  All that said the area makes for some fun touring.  Unfortunately, the abundant choices make it hard to weed through the plonk.  Most of which, I had never heard of.  Luckily on our tour, I took some time and planned ahead using the Internet and word of mouth to determine where the best wines might be found. 

My wife and I had been to the area before.  When we were single, which is really how we refer to the brief time in our life we were married, but without children, we spent a few nights at a B&B along Canandaigua Lake.  That was during October and with the autumn leaves at peak, it might have been one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen.  That was about 15 years ago and the wines we tried then were less than stellar.  We did, however, take a tour of the Manichewitz Winery.  While not producing great wines, it was worth touring a kosher winery to see the extra obstacles they must overcome in making wine. 

Our home base this time was Ithaca, the home of Cornell University and Moosewood Restaurant (one of the legends of vegetarian cooking), which worked out well.  The wineries of Cayuga Lake and Seneca Lake are within a short driving distance.  The later being home to some of the wineries with the best reputations in the area.  In fact, the southeaster corner of Seneca Lake is referred to as the “banana belt” because of the moderating effect the lake has on the temps and the wealth of good wine produced in the area.  Being a Wednesday, I was surprised how much traffic the wineries actually had.  I would imagine the weekends get quite crowded.
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For more than 25 years, The California Wine Club founders Bruce and Pam Boring have explored all corners of California’s wine country to find award-winning, handcrafted wine to share with the world. Each month, the club features a different small family winery and hand selects two of their best wines for members.
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