The Finger Lakes, eleven pristine lakes spread like fingers across central New York , encompasses 9,000 plus square miles of outdoor adventures and bucolic scenery with a nice mix of urban hot spots to boot.
The region offers world class vineyards, farm to table culinary delights and internationally acclaimed annual festivals. With more than 100 wineries spread between 14 counties, the Finger Lakes region is known to produce the best Rieslings and Gewurztraminers outside of Germany.
Cayuga County is located in the heart of the Finger Lakes and offers travelers an array of delectable culinary and wine-infused experiences from vintner training to cheese trail hopping.
Here are some are some travel suggestions from the Cayuga County Tourism Office.
Where to Wine Taste:
$$$ - Heart & Hands Wine Co. - Heart & Hands Wine Company offers a unique, hands-on winemaking opportunity during the harvest season. Participants discover winemaking activities including picking fruit, sorting grapes, daily punchdowns, lab analysis, pressing grapes and equipment cleaning. Their limited production, currently under 1500 cases, allows for an intense focus on quality. Committed to producing cool climate wines which authentically express the character of the Finger Lakes, Heart & Hands Wine Company is located in a serene setting overlooking the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake . www.heartandhandswine.com
$$$ - Bet the Farm - Bet the Farm features a farm winery, regional wine shop and gourmet market. Their hand-crafted wines are sold alongside a premier selection of other Finger Lakes wines at their shop in the village of Aurora . In addition to wine, they offer gourmet foods produced throughout New York State .www.betthefarmny.com
$$ - King Ferry Winery - King Ferry Winery focuses on Chardonnay and Riesling varieties. The winery offers a world-class estate “Taste the Artistry" of Treleaven wine series and invites guests to enjoy works by local artists in the Tasting Room gallery and gift shop. www.treleavenwines.com
$$ - Long Point Winery - Winemaker Gary Barletta focuses his attention on dry red wines such as Merlot and Syrah while his wife Rosemary serves up her specialty sandwiches in Amelia's Deli. Located just off scenic State Route 90 the winery features a breathtaking view overlooking Cayuga Lake . www.longpointwinery.com.
Insider Winery Tips:
· Most wineries have a small tasting fee which is often refunded with a purchase of wine so the cost to taste is virtually free.
· Cheese can be nibbled between wine tastings along the Cayuga Scenic Byway with the Finger Lakes Cheese Trail. Visit http://flcheesetrail.com for a full listing of cheese-infused stops.
· Escorted wine tours are the ideal way to indulge while letting someone else do the driving.
o Big D's Limo Service (www.bigdslimos.com): 5 Depew Street • Auburn , NY 13021
o Experience! The Finger Lakes, LLC (www.ExperienceFingerLakes.com): P.O. Box 3787 • Ithaca , NY 14850
o Quality Wine Tours (www.qualitywinetours.com): P.O. Box 435 • Pittsford , NY 14534
Next week we’ll provide tips on where to eat and where to stay while in Cayuga County.