Best Finger Lakes Wineries to Visit

Wagner Vineyards
Photo: © Brian Roller Photography

The best Finger Lakes wineries to visit feature homey inns, terrific restaurants and spectacular landscape views—as well as ambitious winemakers producing some of America's best whites. Cool climate grapes do well here, especially Riesling, which produces racy bottlings with vivid stone fruit flavors. Here, a guide to the essential tasting rooms of the Finger Lakes.—Richard Nalley

01 of 22

Americana

Americana
© Americana Vineyards

A destination winery on Cayuga Lake, its tasting room and gift shop—in a relocated 1820s barn—offers an array of hybrid and European-style wines, plus 20 varieties of homemade fudge. The winery's Crystal Lake Café is open year-round, and there is live music on Fridays and Sundays. americanavineyards.com

02 of 22

Anthony Road

Anthony Road
Courtesy of Anthony Road

The Martini family produced the first wines from their Seneca Lake acreage in 1990, and this is still a family affair. A $4 fee allows you a choice of five wines to sample, including their well-regarded dry and semi-sweet Rieslings. The tasting room, open year-round, also features revolving exhibits by local artists. anthonyroadwine.com

03 of 22

Bloomer Creek

Bloomer Creek
© Olivier Vincent

Kim Engle is one of the Finger Lakes' most ambitious winemakers, practicing a close-to-the-earth, unmanipulated style that has drawn connoisseurs' attention to his small production Rieslings, Cabernet Francs and Pinot Noirs. Check the website to see when his Seneca Lake tasting room is open, or call for an appointment. bloomercreek.com

04 of 22

Fox Run

Fox Run
Courtesy of Fox Run Vineyards

A familiar stop on the Seneca Lake wine-tourist circuit, Fox Run's lake-view tasting room charges $5 for sampling or $8 for tasting and a vineyard tour. To delve deeper, sign up for a Tasting Blocks dinner ($60 per person), with winemaker Peter Bell guiding a six-course, six-wine feast. The August Garlic Festival attracts thousands of fans. foxrunvineyards.com

05 of 22

Konstantin Frank

Konstantin Frank
© Dr. Konstantin Frank Wine Cellars

A pilgrimage spot for northeastern wine buffs, this was the winery that helped pioneer the planting of European vinifera grapes in the region back in the 1960s. The winery's famous Rieslings, along with traditionally made sparkling wines and some worthy curiosities like Rkatsiteli can be enjoyed at the cozy Keuka Lake tasting room. drfrankwines.com

06 of 22

Fulkerson

Fulkerson
© Stu Gallagher Photography

Fulkerson's rainbow array of vinifera and hybrid wines are available at its year-round Seneca Lake tasting room, but it is also a magnet for those seeking a more interactive experience: Home winemakers and home brewers come here for juice—30 grape varieties are on offer—equipment, classes and expertise. In season, there are also U-Pick fruits and produce. fulkersonwinery.com

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Glenora

Glenora
© Stu Gallagher Photography

One of the Finger Lakes' best-known destinations, Glenora's Seneca Lake tasting room draws wine fans for its well-regarded Pinot Blancs, sparkling wines and other cool climate whites, and offers a roster of guided tasting experiences. Many area wine tourists use its 30-room inn as home base, and its Veraisons restaurant as a reward at the end of the day. glenora.com

08 of 22

Hazlitt 1852 Cellars

Hazlitt 1852 Cellars
© Brad Phillips

Jerry and Elaine Hazlitt run two tasting rooms. The first is on the family's 1852 farmland in Hector (and the Seneca Lake Wine Trail), with its big, horseshoe-shaped bar and weekend Oasis party pavilion—with live music Friday nights—in good weather. The family's native-grape-based Red Cat Cellars brand has its own facility, in the old Widmer Wine Complex, in the wine capital of Naples. hazlitt1852.com

09 of 22

Heart & Hands

Heart & Hands
© Tom Higgins

Founded in 2007, Tom and Susan Higgins's boutique winery has ascended to the top of Finger Lakes producers in short order. Visitors to the tasting room—open weekends or by appointment—on the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake are drawn by the opportunity to taste the small lot Pinot Noirs and Rieslings that put the place on the map (consult the website to see what's being poured). heartandhandswine.com

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Herman J. Wiemer

Herman J. Wiemer
© Jim Westphalen Photography

Arguably the Finger Lakes producer best known to wine lovers outside the region and among America's premier Riesling producers, you visit this Seneca Lake Winery and its architecturally notable winery to focus on the wines themselves. One intriguing sidelight: Wiemer's nursery offers a plethora of grapevines for gardeners and home vintners. wiemer.com

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Heron Hill

Heron Hill
Courtesy of Heron Hill Winery

Heron Hill operates three tasting rooms: one in Bristol, one on Seneca Lake, and one at the mothership on Keuka Lake. All pour the winery's full portfolio of wines, but the Keuka Lake facility also offers an extensive gift shop of local products, the Blue Heron Cafe (May through October) and a singular guided tasting experience in the winery's panoramic-view Tower. heronhill.com

12 of 22

Hosmer

Hosmer
© Katie Roisen

Hosmer has traded up from the family garage that was its first tasting room back in 1986, but this small producer on the west side of Cayuga Lake still prides itself on offering a laid-back, personal-scale tasting experience in its intimate renovated barn. Highlights of the lineup include the Rieslings and the Lemberger, the Finger Lakes' up-and-coming red. hosmerwinery.com

13 of 22

Keuka Lake Vineyards

Keuka Lake Vineyards
© Mike Radigan

The estate vineyards are the focus at this small-lot producer on the southern shore of Keuka Lake. Though the winery specializes in dry Riesling (including the much-praised Falling Man Vineyard bottling) and Vignoles, it also offers estimable reds like the Cabernet Franc and Leon Millot, a regional specialty with its own following. klvineyards.com

14 of 22

Keuka Spring Vineyards

Keuka Spring Vineyards
Courtesy of Keuka Spring Vineyards

The Wilberger family runs this hands-on, boutique winery on the shore of Keuka Lake—one or another family member will likely be around when you visit. The tasting room offers a range of hybrid and vinifera wines at gentle prices. The Rieslings and Gewurztraminers have brought home the medals, but look also for the popular Lemberger red. keukaspringwinery.com

15 of 22

Lamoreaux Landing

Lamoreaux Landing
Courtesy of Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars

One of the region's most striking winery buildings, Lamoreaux Landing's Post-Modern/Greek revival edifice is perched over Seneca Lake, with a year-round tasting room and schedule of events. The wines on offer from this much-awarded producer are similarly stylish. Look not only for the Chardonnays and Rieslings, but for the distinctive, unoaked T23 Cabernet Franc. lamoreauxwine.com

16 of 22

McGregor

McGregor
© Will Strawser

One of the pioneers of European-style grapes in New York and devoted to meticulous, low-yield farming, fans have long visited McGregor for their Rieslings, but in recent years the winery is drawing visitors for their unique Eastern European grapes. Take the vineyard tour, then repair for a relaxed, seated tasting overlooking Keuka Lake. mcgregorwinery.com

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Ravines Wine Cellars

Ravines Wine Cellars
Courtesy of Ravines Wine Cellars

Morten Hallgren was trained at France's prestigious wine school at Montpelier; his wife Lisa is a chef. Together they offer one of the Finger Lakes' premier stops for wine and food lovers. Ravines offers two tasting rooms—one on Seneca lake, one on Keuka Lake—to sample their esteemed Rieslings, Cabernet Francs, Meritage red and other wines together with small plates of food. The farm-to-table eatery, Ravinous Kitchen, is open weekends at both locations. ravineswine.com

18 of 22

Red Newt

Red Newt
Courtesy of Red Newt Cellars

One of the Finger Lake's most highly regarded wine producers—particularly for its single vineyard Rieslings, its Gewurztraminers and Pinot Gris—Seneca Lake's Red Newt also offers the casual restaurant Red Newt Bistro, a fine spot to combine locally sourced food with these top-notch wines. See the website for live music events. rednewt.com

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Sheldrake Point

Sheldrake Point
© Jan Regan Photography

Tie up at the dock of this Cayuga lakeside winery (you can drive, too) and proceed to the easy-going tasting room, where $5 gets you samples of five of this winery's well-regarded vinifera wines, in a range of styles. Sheldrake offers a slate of wine education programs—check the website—but its top-end ice wines are an eye-opener in themselves. sheldrakepoint.com

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Standing Stone Vineyards

Standing Stone Vineyards
© Michael Barlett / Standing Stone Vineyards

Seneca Lake's Standing Stone puts some spin on the usual tasting room visit, first by providing gourmet bread and dipping sauces with each $5, six-wine flight, but also by offering from-the-barrel cellar tastings and guided vineyard tours—the kinds of experiences usually reserved for VIPs. Don't miss the red Saperavi. standingstonewines.com

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Swedish Hill

Swedish Hill
Courtesy of Swedish Hill

Swedish Hill is the flagship of a mini-empire that includes the Goose Watch and Penguin Hill brands and six tasting room locations, including a sleek outpost in Saratoga Springs. At the main winery near Cayuga Lake, the casual, barn-style tasting bar offers an array of affordable wines from European-style bottlings to the Svenska line from native American grapes, plus guided winery tours from Memorial Day through October. swedishhill.com

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Wagner Vineyards

Wagner Vineyards
© Brian Roller Photography

Have a beer lover in your group? Wagner has got you covered—it's the only Finger Lakes winery with its own craft brewery. The all-estate-produced winery itself benefits from its 250 acres of vineyards planted to 20 grape varieties, from European to native American. Its striking octagonal tasting building, designed by founder Bill Wagner himself, is one of the region's most familiar landmarks. wagnervineyards.com

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