Finger Lakes Help

I’ll be in Syracuse and think I might have time to visit one spot but know zero about the area. I have wanted to learn more and now this opportunity has arisen.

Help with wines to look for and the best winery to visit if you only have time for one.



My favorites:

Hermann J Wiemer
Keuka Lake Vineyards
Heart and Hands
Anthony Road’s ice wines

These are all pretty far from 'Cuse, though. 60-90 minutes. Is that something you’d be willing to do?

I think 60-90 is doable. I didn’t know I’d have free time and this is a very rare trip where I didn’t get a car so I wrote it off. But then I got a text asking if I wanted to hit Middle Ages brewery or Anyela vineyard? They said we’d have time to make it to the region or at least Anyela winery. I told them I’d do some research. They are not really wine folks. At least not geeks [wow.gif]

Thanks for the tips.


Middle Ages is meh. I’ve heard good things about Eastwood Brewing from friends but haven’t been yet. Go to Clark’s Ale House for good beer and a great roast beef sandwich. Like Tom said, most of the better wineries aren’t too close.

If you stick to the lower end of Seneca lake (above Watkins Glen), I would wholeheartedly agree with the above Herrmann J Wiemer recommendation as the wines are some of the better wines you will find up there (at least for my palate), and while there, you can also swing by and have lunch at FLX Wienery (owned by Christopher Bates, Master Sommelier and also winemaker/founder of Element Winery) where the wine list is great and reasonably priced to boot.

Just as an aside, depending on what time of year you’ll be there Watkins Glen State Park is a beautiful park.

If you go to Keuka Lake be sure to stop at Keuka Lake Coffee Roasters.
Great coffee and coffee products, and they have a bistro with wine service I think.

I think they just closed (again) a few months back. There’s always Blue Tusk and Empire for brews (Armory Sq).

+1 H. Weimer. Lamoreaux Landing has good bubbles, at least they did when I interviewed there in 05.

On Seneca Lake, I’d go to:
Hector Wine Company (they carry Forge Wines which are fantastic)
Damiani (good reds)
Finger Lakes Distilling (really nice Rye)
Boundary Breaks
Hermann Weimer

Totally forgot Hector. It’s not a winery but more of a sales room…but Forge Riesling might be my overall favorite wine in the FL.

Anyela is in Skaneateles, which is much closer than most everything else. And if you’re going in winter (up to, and possibly including, April) weather can definitely make drive times much longer.

Hermann J Wiemer - The best wines we tasted while in the finger lakes. Do not miss.
Favorite wines: Magdalena Vineyard Cabernet Franc & their basic Brut
Dr. Konstantin Frank - The most memorable tasting and some of the most obscure wines.
Favorite wines: Saperavi & ice wine.

I think these two are worth visiting from my personal experience. We couldn’t make it into Ravines (it was just after Xmas) and roads were not helping us make the time we wanted for a 3rd winery. I’d expect that they are worth it though.

This is a good list. Angela’s is a nice spot overlooking Skaneateles Lake and has some pretty good Rieslings. Skaneateles is a lot closer and has some terrific restaurants

Another vote for Hermann J Wiemer. Very nice tasting room and location, high quality wines (IMO they have a claim to being the best Rieslings made in the US), and a terrific selection available for tasting and purchase. Including lots of well aged library wines, which a lot of places in the area don’t have. Really can’t miss.

Have not been to Konstantin Frank but intend to go sometime…they were the pioneer in the area and would be a great visit just for historical reasons.

The lake is gorgeous, winter is not the ideal time to visit of course but you’ll still enjoy it.

What he said.

What they both said…tasting HJW’s single vineyards is fun. FLX is a funky gourmet hot dog shack with great food. Have some Element while you’re there or bring your own, no corkage unless you want to use nice glasses.

Reiterating that many of the wineries listed are NOT close to Syracuse or the SYR airport. Anyelas is okay with a nice view (in summer) but wines pale in quality to HJW, Frank, and others mentioned. Staying in Skaneateles at the Sherwood is nice - a good, warm pub overlooking Skaneateles Lake.

If you have time and the weather is good, hit the wineries mentioned. If not, just pick up some of the wines from a local shop and give them a try. Most of the rieslings range from only $15-20 and are pretty nice. There are some single vineyard wines but you cannot find them in shops - only at the wineries themselves.

Have fun!

North Cayuga to keep you close to SYR this is the best quality producer …

Swedish Hill is underpriced for 95 point rieslings that wine double gold…

have fun … it’s not a wealthy region as far as opulence vrs NAPA … nature is the Queen in the FLX …

Shalom and Salute !!!

My favs

Boundary Breaks (appt only)
Forge Cellars - Tasting room at Hector wines
Ravines, and
Keuka Lake Vineyards - Really fun older wines, but expensive.

and its a bit commercial, but Glenora Wine Cellars has a bunch of the same wine vinified in different types: cement, barrel, stainless, which I found interesting. The sparkler is quite good.

Honestly, I wasnt impressed with Hearts and Hands pinot.

Foodwise, Try Jerlando’s in Watkins Glen for the garlic knots. The rest of the food is just “ok”.