This blog post was updated on August 4, 2014.

Uncork in Upstate New York, Flickr: visitfingerlakes

Soak up the Ambience in a Finger Lakes Winery!


Looking for something different this holiday season? Want to enjoy the sweet, fresh country air and savor some fine wines? Look to the Finger Lakes region in central Upstate New York. Cut by glaciers ages ago, the Finger Lakes—11 parallel lakes running north and south—have become a wine lover’s paradise. The area is home to more than 100 wineries, making it among one of the top producers of wine in the United States after Napa Valley and Columbia Valley. Keuka and Seneca Lake wine trails are immensely popular and offer holiday-themed tastings and events throughout the season. And what goes better with wine than cheese? Upstate New York is dairy country, after all. When you’re done sipping Rieslings and merlots, settle in at one the area’s many fine bed & breakfasts, warm your feet by the fire and enjoy regional artisanal cheeses from the Finger Lakes Cheese Trail, including cheeses with names like “Across the Pond” and “Red Buddy.”

Holiday Tradition: Seneca Lake Wine Trail’s offers the popular countdown to the 12 Days of Christmas with specific wineries selling limited edition bottles of wine. You get the 12th bottle by visiting The Christmas House in nearby Elmira, New York. The participating wineries include:

“Twelve bottles filling- Ventosa Vineyards,

Eleven corks a popping- Zugibe Vineyards,

Ten skins a crushing- Kings Garden Vineyards,

Nine barrels rolling- Wagner Vineyards,

Eight presses pressing- Penguin Bay Winery,

Seven casks a filling- JR Dill Winery,

Six Staffers Stomping- Lakewood Vineyards,

Five green vines- Fulkerson Winery,

Four coopers building- Glenora Wine Cellars,

Three tractors trimming- Seneca Shore Wine Cellars,

Two pourers pouring- White Springs Winery,

And a vintner in a vineyard- The Christmas House”

Main Attractions: Ithaca, New York, on Cayuga Lake offers wineries, a lively farmers’ market, and Moosewood Café, a nationally renowned vegetarian restaurant. Keuka and Seneca Lakes are also home to countless wineries, restaurants, and cozy bed & breakfasts. The Inn at Glenora Wine Cellars provides both lovely accommodations and fantastic wine. There are countless parks, trails, gorges, waterfalls and forests in the area. Winter hiking is available in some areas, such as the Keuka Outlet Trail, a seven-mile stretch of converted rail bed, where you will see waterfalls.

Where to Eat: The award-winning Village Tavern Restaurant & Inn in Hammondsport, New York, right on Keuka Lake, may look simple and unassuming on the outside, but offers up some of the best food around inside. Voted one of the coolest small towns in America, Hammondsport dishes up the holiday charm while its most popular restaurant dishes up classic, fresh regional cuisine.

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photo: visitfingerlakes

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