Below is a list of frequently asked questions. Click the question to reveal the answer.
The Seneca Lake Wine Trail recently received an official Certificate of Excellence from the renowned site TripAdvisor assuring us that with our consistently excellent ratings, we've "earned a place among the very best." Of course what this really reminds potential visitors is that our member wineries are collectively committed to provide superb customer service, and an excellent experience to all their shared customers. If you've visited our member wineries recently, or perhaps attended one of our many wine and food pairing weekend events, we encourage you to submit your feedback by clicking here.
Wineries are many things- laboratory, social hub, gallery, tasting room and more- but for most of our member wineries they're first and foremost farms. A highly specialized farm, granted, but one led by a farmer who typically has a very keen personal and professional interest in the health of the environment. Whenever possible, wineries will always strive to make smart business choices that help protect our delicate environment, knowing that if their winery's terroir changes radically, it could dramatically impact their business. Many of our member wineries maintain a sizeable mulch pile, the product of which is used to naturally keep weeds at bay in the vineyards, while helping recharge the soil, for example. The following wineries are some of the first in our region to take additional steps beyond the many basic, best practices used by virtually all our member wineries. If one of our member wineries listed on this site has deployed new hardware or behavior that should be added to this list, please email the Trail's executive director here. This list was initially compiled in the second half of 2012.
White Springs Winery - Tend to use laminated tasting notes that can be re-used, thereby wasting far less paper. For those wanting to take notes, who left their notebook at home, the winery will certainly furnish note paper on request.
Fox Run Vineyards - Many decisions made at the winery revolve around the fundamental question of whether a given practice or technology being considered will even potentially harm the nearby lake. Some of their pomace is used in Finger Lakes Grape Seed Oil.
Seneca Shore Wine Cellars - CFC lights are used throughout both the production facility and attached tasting room. A high efficiency, commercial grade wood stove was installed, largely powered by fallen wood recovered from the vineyard, and enabling the winery to use instant-on super hot water in place of potentially harsh cleaning chemicals.
Anthony Road Wine Company - Uses only biodegradable tasting cups at all outside tasting events. Some of their pomace is used in Finger Lakes Grape Seed Oil. The Vineyard Manager follows the official NYS VineBalance Program. Lastly, this winery strives to use eco-friendly glass for bottling as many of their wines as possible.
Miles Wine Cellars - Their warehouse is temperature controlled completely with geothermal energy. Concrete piers were installed 4 feet deep into the ground with a poured concrete floor to cover them. The walls/ceiling have also been super insulated, and the result is a wine warehouse that is 40 degrees year round with no enery costs or resulting pollution added to the environment. It is one of the reasons this winery is able to sucessfully bottle age their reds. Also, their grapes are sustainably grown with as few chemicals as possible.
Villa Bellangelo - CO2 recapture during fermentation.
Fruit Yard Winery - Blown soy insulation was used to insulate the walls of this tasting room, with a portion exposed through plexiglass in the wall nearest the parking lot. Highly efficient radiant heat system deployed in the floor.
Glenora Wine Cellars - "Green" labels, with no trees chopped down to create all their labels.
Fulkerson Winery - Participate in New York State Electric & Gas programs to help use less energy, including deployment of CFT lights in all thekir facilities.
Lakewood Vineyards - Aside from their aggressive composting and recycling programs, Lakewood also recently deployed a massive (almost 4,000 square feet, maxing out at 47 kw) solar array on the roof of their production facility. Some of their pomace is used in Finger Lakes Grape Seed Oil.
Castel Grisch Winery - Thorough recycling program including bottle shipping cartons made from recycled cardboard, with recycled glass used in wine bottles and glass stemware for tasting room sampling. Their Deck the Halls Weekend ornaments are all made from used corks, with the office using recycled toners in their printers. All wines are vegan and are made as organically as possible.
J.R. Dill Winery - Wine bottled in eco-friendly bottles.
Atwater Estate Vineyards - This progressive winery has begun planting more winter crops, opting to avoid using paper label by silkscreening their labels onto each bottle using eco-friendly inks and consistently recycling all paper used in both the tasting room and offices.
Penguin Bay Winery - One of the first sizeable solar panels on our Trail, 13.5 kw, was installed on this winery's roof. THey utilize the Cornell University Workbook for Sustainable Winegrowing. They use lightweight eco-glass in many of their bottles, meaning less material used, and less energy required to move the bottles. Much of their pomace is used in Finger Lakes Grape Seed Oil.
Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars - This winery has such an extensive, ever improving program, it is best to read about their environmental philosophy and tactics on their site; http://www.lamoreauxwine.com/site/view/188
Zugibe Vineyards - Utilizes a newer sprayer that more efficiently distributes the product, thereby enabling less to be used.
Three Brothers Wineries & Estates - About 80% of their facility is both heated and cooled using a geothermal system, with coils in Bagg Dare Pond. Utilize more etched labeling on some of their wines thus eliminating paper labels. Much of their pomace is used in Finger Lakes Grape Seed Oil. Have changed over all of their lighting to high-efficiency bulbs, decreasing their energy output in all of their buildings immensely. Utilize recyclable mini-bottles made from recycled materials. Provide customers the opportunity to taste wine from a take-home wine glass, thereby diminishing their use of plastics.
Ventosa Vineyards - Some of their pomace is used in Finger Lakes Grape Seed Oil.
Recently a customer, coordinating a bachelorette party, called on behalf of the bride-to-be, who has an allergy to gluten, asking if there is gluten in wine. The short answer is that wine is gluten free. Gluten is a protein composite typically found in foods processed from wheat or related grain species, including barley, rye and probably others, but not found in grapes. Beer, for example, would not be a good beverage for somebody with this allergy to consume. Gluten could be used for wine fining (a process whereby a protein- typically egg whites- are allowed to drift through the wine, clings to unwanted particles which then settle to the bottom and are left behind) but gluten is virtually never used in our regional industry for that process. Furthermore there are instances where a flour-based paste could be used to help seal barrels shut, but this process is also virtually unheard of in our regional industry.
As is the case with any serious allergy condition, it is always best to query the manufacturer (winemaker) directly before consuming a given product. However, you can confidently visit our wineries without significant fear of our fine wines having enough parts per million (ppm) to be dangerous.
The Seneca Lake Wine Trail has partnered with the online ticketing agency Eventbrite, and henceforth all ticket purchasing will take place through their website. This Frequently Asked Questions section will hopefully help identify how our ticketing system now works and how things are different than before.
This FAQ only applies to weekend wine and food pairing events managed by the Seneca Lake Wine Trail. Our Riesling to Visit Passport and Polar Passport products are handled differently, as are our event packages and large groups. Events managed by individual member wineries maintain different policies.
Your starting winery is now literally the winery where you must begin the event.In the past when purchasing a ticket for a Seneca Lake Wine Trail event it was necessary for you to select a starting winery from the list of available starting wineries. The closer we were to an event selling out, the fewer starting winery options were available, and usually it was the wineries in the middle of the lake that sold out last. Conversely, it was the wineries at the northern and southern ends, those that are closest to the major highways that sold out first. Starting wineries are important because they help distribute event attendees evenly around the Trail, minimizing instances of large crowds clogging up a given winery, making the event more enjoyable for everybody. In the past attendees would sometimes ignore their starting winery, and opt instead to start wherever they felt was convenient for them. Unfortunately this inevitably resulted in large crowds jamming up certain wineries more often, and was not ideal for anybody. With Eventbrite, our new e-commerce partner, you are purchasing a ticket(s), and a PDF of your ticket/voucher will be emailed to you after you’ve made your purchas. However, despite what that document says, it is not your actual ticket. Your actual ticket will be waiting for you at your starting winery. Take the printout with you, and a state-issued ID (drivers license) to the starting winery, they will check you in, and give you your actual event tickets.
Tickets are not exchangeable, refundable, transferable or changeableOnce you’ve purchased your tickets it is a done deal. We do not exchange tickets, we do not refund ticket purchases, you cannot transfer your tickets to another person, nor will we change any attributes (like the starting winery) of your tickets. Fortunately our event tickets, unlike tickets for a popular Broadway play or professional sporting event, are very affordable, so in the rare instance you end up not being able to attend the event, it will not be overly grievous.
Events are not cancelled for any reason, ever.Some of our weekend wine and food pairings, like our Pasta & Wine Weekend, take place in the midst of winter. And with winter, of course, there is snow, ice and adverse driving conditions. Regardless of the driving conditions either where you live, or here in the Finger Lakes Region, we do not cancel events. Furthermore, we do not refund, exchange, transfer or change tickets during an event weekend where the weather is adverse.
We do not mail tickets anymore.In the past we mailed customers their wine and food pairing weekend event tickets via USPS. That is no longer the case. Now you will pick up your event ticket(s) at your starting winery anytime during the event itself.
There is a service fee associated with purchasing Eventbrite tickets.Eventbrite charges a modest fee for each ticket purchased through their secure site.
Only the person whose name is associated with the ticket can retrieve their actual event ticket at their starting winery.This is especially important to know when you’re purchasing multiple tickets for you and your friends/family. If you use your name for all the tickets, that will mean only you can retrieve your actual event tickets from the starting winery.
Groups should purchase their tickets on one order, or at least choose a starting winery that has many tickets still remaining.It is common for people to enjoy the event with a small group of their friends and family. Because it is necessary that you now literally start the event at your starting winery, it is especially important that everybody in your group select the same starting winery. The only way to guarantee that you will all have the same starting winery, is if you purchase all the tickets on one order. If that is not feasible, then we strongly recommend you select a starting winery that has a maximum number of tickets left (usually a winery near the middle of the lake) and then tell the other people in your party to hurry up and buy their tickets. Because once a starting winery has sold out, no more tickets can be sold for that starting winery. If your group is fragmented, with 2 or more starting wineries in your party, it will make things very, very clumsy as you commence the event because you will have to first stop at each starting winery to retrieve the actual event tickets.
Your actual starting winery is not that important.The only important thing about your starting winery, when you’re traveling in a group of people, is that you all have the same starting winery (see above). Otherwise, where you actually start the event is generally not that relevant. Oftentimes people insist that they get a starting winery closest to their base (either home or hotel), because they believe it will minimize their drive time. The reality is that you’re usually going to have a little extra driving, either at the beginning of your day, or at the end of the day. Therefore we generally recommend that you select a starting winery that is further away from where you want to end up at the end of the day, so you can do the extra driving in the morning, and then end your day of tasting closest to your destination for that evening. Bear in mind, the starting winery is where you get your actual tickets, and your gift item, but is otherwise just one of dozens of wineries you’ll be visiting throughout the weekend.
If you still think your starting winery choice is critical…Then our advice is that you purchase your tickets immediately upon them going on sale. That is the best way for you to have a good chance of getting exactly the starting winery that you want. Tickets for our events in the first half of 2012, for example, will be on sale as early as November 1, 2011. Tickets for our November 2012 Deck The Halls Weekend will go on sale on or near December 6, 2011.
Please drink responsibly.One important difference between our event weekends, and a weekend of traditional tasting, is that with our event weekends each winery is only obligated to present one, 1 ounce sample of wine, paired with a sample of the dish they’ve prepared. As opposed to traditional tasting, where the winery is typically offering a flight of wine samples, that can consist of six or more 1 ounce samples of different wines. The Seneca Lake Wine Trail and its member wineries want you to have a fantastically memorable weekend that is both safe and responsible. If you end up not sampling wine at a few wineries, that is ok. If you end up spitting out your wine sample you’re tasting, that is ok too. We want you to safely have an excellent time at our wineries, so you’ll be enthusiastically able to come visit our Trail again sometime.
Some of our Trail events are held during the winter months, and with so many terrific out of state fans attending these events, we're often asked about the topic of weather, specifically adverse weather, typically snow and ice. Here are a few general answers to commonly asked questions:
Q: "Buffalo, NY got three feet of snow last night, did you guys get any?"A: Sometimes when Buffalo, or other more northern towns, get dumped upon, we also get quite a bit of snow. Rarely do we get as much as those other towns, and in general have considerable less precipitation on average than many cities in the state. New York State, as some aren't aware, is a fairly large state, and one part of the state could be blanketed in snow, while another is totally free of snow. Check www.weather.com for information, our two main zip codes to use are 14891 and 14456.
Q: "I know your area got 6 inches of snow, is that event still going on this weekend?"A: Yes, the Seneca Lake Wine Trail event, is still taking place. We have never cancelled an event. Please review the policies associated with our events, and event tickets, when you purchase your tickets.
Q: "I'm driving up through Pennsylvania, which got inches of freezing rain last night, can I get a refund on my tickets?"A: Regrettably our tickets are all non-refundable and cannot be exchanged by the office. Fortunately, unlike an NFL game who have similar policies regarding weather, our tickets are very affordable. And we hope that those very, very rare instances where you are uncomfortable traveling to one of our events, will not outweigh all the fun and terrific wine you'll enjoy 99% of the rest of the time.
Q: "Heard it snowed a lot up there last night. Do your roads get cleared?"A: The people and towns/counties that collectively keep our roads safe and free of snow are excellent. Having driven year round on these roads, for several years, with a lightweight, rear wheel drive pickup truck (that is lame in the snow compared to most modern vehicles) without an accident, is definitive and objective proof that the hard working people that keep our roads clear do a great job. Granted, there can be times when the roads can be challenging, but they are few and far between.
Q: "Why are the wineries even open in the winter? Besides, I thought they were only open in the summer?"That latter question is a common, outdated misconception. Years, maybe decades, ago tasting rooms in the region tended to be more seasonal. Today, however, an overwhelming majority of our Trail's members wineries are open all year, with some choosing to only open their tasting rooms in the deepest winter months during the weekends. While the summer and fall months without a doubt enjoy terrific temperature, weather, and a visually stellar environment, they also tend to be the busier months for our region enjoyed by visitors here from around the country. The cooler, winter months on the other hand, tend to be quieter, and herein lies one of our regional industry's best kept secrets: for people who are focused on the wine, learning about the wine, meeting the people that have made wine or grown grapes most of their life, the quietude of winter is the best time to visit.
Q: "Buffalo, NY got three feet of snow last night, did you guys get any?" A: Sometimes when Buffalo, or other more northern towns, get dumped upon, we also get quite a bit of snow. Rarely do we get as much as those other towns, and in general have considerable less precipitation on average than many cities in the state. New York State, as some aren't aware, is a fairly large state, and one part of the state could be blanketed in snow, while another is totally free of snow. Check www.weather.com for information, our two main zip codes to use are 14891 and 14456.
Q: "Heard it snowed a lot up there last night. Do your roads get cleared?" A: The people and towns/counties that collectively keep our roads safe and free of snow are excellent. Having driven year round on these roads, for several years, with a lightweight, rear wheel drive pickup truck (that is lame in the snow compared to most modern vehicles) without an accident, is definitive and objective proof that the hard working people that keep our roads clear do a great job. Granted, there can be times when the roads can be challenging, but they are few and far between.
This section will one day be populated with a wide variety of recipes drawn from our hundreds of events over the decades.
In the meantime, here is one unique recipe that we've been assured by culinary experts is delicious AND fairly unique:
Seneca Lake Grape Bread Ingredients: 3 large eggs, beaten 2 cups sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup vegetable oil 2 cups flour 3/4 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon cinnamon 3/4 - 1 cup chopped walnuts 3 cups Concord grape skins Instructions: In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, except grape skins. When well-blended, gently fold into grape skins. Pour batter into 2 well-oiled, 5x9in loaf pans. Bake 1 hour at 325 degrees or until tester comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes before removing from pans. Makes 2 loaves of delicious, moist bread.
Borrowed from our important industry peer, the New York Wine and Grape Foundation (http://uncorknewyork.com).
Since 6000 B.C., wine has inspired poets, philosophers, and politicians with its elegant simplicity as fermented grape juice contrasted by its fascinating complexity as a beverage, a food, and a social lubricant enhancing the quality of life. But wine is not just one of the greatest pleasures of life, it is also an economic engine and the ultimate value-added product. The "What's in a Bottle of Wine" PDF depicts all that it takes to make wine and helps convey the positive economic impact our industry has on New York State.
Just an interesting analysis of the different conversions between grapes and wine courtesy of Ferrari-Carano Winery. Of course these are round numbers and can fluctuate depending on a variety of factors. Still, interesting to see how everything matches up.
1 grape cluster = 1 glass 75 grapes = 1 cluster 4 clusters = 1 bottle 40 clusters = 1 vine 1200 clusters = 1 barrel 1 barrel = 60 gallons 60 gallons = 25 cases 1 vine = 10 bottles 1.2 vines = 1 case 30 vines = 1 barrel 400 vines = 1 acre 1 acre = 5 tons 5 tons = 332 cases 76.5 vines = 1 ton 1 ton = 126 cases
Many of the excellent restaurants listed both on this site, and in our brochure, proudly serve a diversity of wines made by Seneca Lake Wineries. Below is a list created in August 2008 identifying the wines available at these restaurants. Of course, wine lists change often, so if you want to make sure a given restaurant serves a certain wine, you should give them a call before heading out. We can objectively say that if a diverse selection of locally crafted wines are required, the three restaurants with the most consistently extensive lists are the Red Newt Bistro, Edgar's Restaurant, and Suzanne's Fine Regional Cuisine .
Belhurst Winery features wines from Chateau LaFayette Reneau, Fox Run Vineyards, Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars, Atwater Estate Vineyards, Prejean Winey, Fulkerson Winery, Wagner Vineyards, Red Newt Cellars, Miles Wine Cellars, Anthony Road Wine Company, Lakewood Vineyards, and Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards in Edgar's Restaurant . Fox Run Vineyards features all Fox Run wines at their café . Glenora Wine Cellars features most Glenora Wine Cellar Wines at Veraisons Restaurant ; few Glenora Wines are not featured at the restaurant. Castel Grisch Winery features all Castel Grisch Winery wines at their restaurant .
Red Newt Bistro features over 200 Finger Lakes Wines from wineries including Red Newt Cellars, Belhurst Winery, Fox Run Vineyards, Anthony Road Wine Company, Prejean Winery, Atwater Estate Vineyards, Lakewood Vineyards, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, Chateau LaFayette Reneau, Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars, Fulkerson Winery, Leidenfrost Vineyards, and Bloomer Creek Vineyard. The Ginny Lee at Wagner Vineyards features all Wagner Vineyards wines. Ventosa Vineyards features all Ventosa Vineyards wines at their café by the glass or bottle. Montage Italian Grill features wines from Chateau LaFayette Reneau, Lakewood Vineyards, Fulkerson Winery, and Castel Grisch Winery. Seneca Lodge Restaurant features wines from Prejean Winery, Hickory Hallow Wine Cellars, Glenora Wine Cellars, Fulkerson Winery, Lakewood Vineyards, Castel Grisch Winery, Chateau LaFayette Reneau, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, Penguin Bay Winery, and Wagner Vineyards. Holiday Inn Waterloo/ Seneca Falls features wines from Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, Fox Run Vineyards, and Nagy?s New Land Vineyard and Winery. The Crow's Nest features chardonnay from Fox Run Vineyards and Red Cat, cream sherry or port from Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards. Dano's Heuriger on Seneca features wines from Leidenfrost Vineyards, Bloomer Creek Vineyard, Chateau LaFayette Reneau, and Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars. Dano?s also features Wagner Valley Brewing Company Beer Selection. Suzanne Fine Regional Cuisine features wines from Atwater Estate Vineyard, Bloomer Creek Vineyard, Chateau LaFayette Reneau, Fox Run Vineyards, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, Lakewood Vineyards, Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars, Seneca Shore Wine Cellars, and Wagner Winery. Suzanne?s also features beers from Wagner Valley Brewing Company. Cobblestone Restaurant features wine from Fox Run Vineyards and Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars.
The Holiday Inn Elmira-Riverview features Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards Red Cat and White Cat and also serves Wagner Vineyard's Semi-Dry Riesling and Prejean Riesling in their restaurant on location.
While excessive consumption of virtually anything, including wine, is never adviseable, many studies continue to indicate that responsible consumption of wine can provide a wide range of health benefits. Below are noted a few, many of which were originally pointed out by our friends at the New York Wine & Grape Foundation.
LIVER DISEASE is often cited as one of the prevalent risks of alcohol consumption, but a new government-funded study published in Hepatology suggests that moderate red wine consumption may significantly reduce that risk. Conducted by researchers at California?s San Diego School of Medicine, the study showed that people who drank one glass of red wine a day cut in half their risk of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), the most common type affecting some 40 million U.S. adults. This suggests that the benefits may be due to the non-alcohol components of red wine such as resveratrol, a naturally occurring fungicide on the skins of grapes which also appears to have major health benefits for humans. The presence of resveratrol in red wine is due to the extended contact of the juice with the grape skins, which contain both the pigment for color and resveratrol. White wine has negligible amounts of resveratrol due to the intended absence of skin contact during processing, though a technical institute in Israel may have developed a process that will include resveratrol in white wine without changing the flavors. By contrast, people who consumed modest amounts of beer or spirits had over four times the odds of having NAFLD.
ALZHEIMER?S DISEASE risk may be reduced by the polyphenolic compounds found in purple grape juice as well as red wine, according to new research from New York?s Mt. Sinai Hospital published in the Journal of Neuroscience. Dr. Giulio Maria Pasinetti and his colleagues found that the polyphenolics in grape seed extract (which makes its way into wine and juice) fights a type of plaque which causes brain deterioration, and could reduce the risk of Alzheimer?s by 30% to 50% with normal (moderate) consumption.
AGING AND OBESITY may be fought by regular, moderate consumption of red wine, according to some recent studies. The key ingredient seems to be resveratrol, the naturally occurring fungicide produced by grapes to ward off plant disease which seems to do the same for humans. Red wines (but not white) contain resveratrol because of the prolonged skin contact during processing, which transfers both the pigment (color) and resveratrol into the wine. While a previous study suggested you?d have to drink 35 bottles a day to get the benefit (we don?t recommend that), a more recent study concluded that moderate daily consumption is beneficial in slowing the aging process. Meanwhile, a German study showed that resveratrol inhibits pre-fat cells from increasing in size and becoming mature fat cells, while also hindering fat storage. Resveratrol also reduced substances linked to the development of obesity-related disorders such as diabetes and clogged arteries.
ALCOHOL USE DISORDER (AUD), which essentially means drinking too much, may be significantly reduced when wine is more than 35% of total alcohol consumption, according to a recent Danish study. The research found that wine consumers were less likely to develop AUD than consumers of beer or spirits, which could be related to lifestyle differences or non-alcoholic substances in wine like polyphenols that may have some effect. Reacting to the study?s results, one prominent scientist suggested that the acids in wine, and especially tannins in red wine, make it difficult to consume a lot of wine by itself; and also make it more pleasant to have wine with food. When any alcoholic beverage is consumed with food, the blood alcohol level is much lower than without food, often by half. In other words, the inherent nature of wine does not lend itself to abuse.
LUNG CANCER RISK may be reduced by moderate red wine consumption, especially among current or former smokers, according to a new California study published in the journal, Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention. The study by Kaiser Permanente Southern California involved more than 80,000 men aged 45 to 69. Current and former smokers who drank red wine were 60% less likely to develop lung cancer than abstainers, with the reduction in risk even greater among heavy smokers in particular. White wine, beer and spirits had no effect, suggesting that the unique compounds in red wine such as resveratrol and flavanoids are responsible for the beneficial effects. (Note: Many are also present in Concord grape juice, though this study did not examine that. A recent UCLA study rated Concord grape juice #3 after only pomegranate juice and red wine in a listing of the top 10 healthy drinks.) In a separate study, the resveratrol in red wine seems to have some benefits for the prevention and treatment of multiple sclerosis.
How To Plan a Tour of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail
Responsibly and safely visiting the wineries, with a little homework and effort, can be a remarkably rewarding and enjoyable experience. Here are a few tips on how to make sure you have the best time possible.
- Having a designated driver is never a bad idea. While the wineries can be toured, their wines enjoyed, safely and responsibly even if you lack a designated driver, certainly having one on board removes one potential difficulty.
- Spitting is good. Of course we've all been taught from a young age to never spit. It's rude, unseemly, etc. However, when sampling wine, spitting is never a bad thing. It enables to enjoy the wine, confirm if you like it or not, but of course doesn't increase your blood alcohol levels, enabling to sample more wines and still be safe and responsible, especially if you're driving. All wineries provide spit buckets at their tasting bars though if you happen to not see one, just ask, and they'll gladly provide one for you.
- Take your time. Oftentimes people contact the offices of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail and ask "How many wineries can we visit in a day?" The real question is, how many wineries can we enjoyably visit in a day. Visiting wineries is definitely not about seeing how many samples you can wolf down in an 8 hour period. There are boxes of characterless wine from Australia, California and other large wine producing regions that can be enjoyed in your own backyard to satisfy that craving. Visiting the wineries themselves is intended to help you experience, and truly appreciate, the wines they labor to make, helping you evolve your personal palette, and enabling you to buy the best wine. Because, of course, the best wine is literally the wine you personally like the most! It isn't a race, it's a journey, to cite that tired old maxim.
- Drive responsibly. This probably seems like a foregone conclusion, but here in bucolic western New York State, many wineries are still on small two-lane roads, with lots of curves and driveways peppering the roadsides. And with a sizeable population of Mennonites in the area, it is not uncommon to see horse-drawn carriages or kids on bikes, riding alongside the roads. Remember, with only less than 10 miles between one winery and the next, driving over the speed limit really isn't going to do you any good. Just take your time, enjoy the scenery and savor the experience.
- Eat food! Food is good. Not just because you need a balanced diet to maintain a healthy body, but also because by having a belly full of good food you're less likely to get radically tipsy quickly. Make sure you start your touring day out with a solid breakfast, and definitely make sure you visit one of our region?s many excellent restaurants for lunch. Or, if you want to save your hard earned cash so you have more money to buy cases of wine with, bring a picnic lunch! There are many excellent parks in the area, and even wineries themselves, with picnic locations.
- Don't drink alcoholic beverages between wineries. It never ceases to amaze us when we hear stories of, usually younger groups of people that opt to slam beers or shots between visits to wineries. When you drink excessively your palate becomes numb to flavor, and pretty soon ALL the wine tastes great! This isn't an entirely bad thing for the wineries, per se, but they definitely don't want you to go home, crack open a case of wine you bought in the late after a day of slamming drinks, and find out "Yowza, that doesn't taste so good to me!"
- Ask questions. Wineries work very hard to employ and train knowledgeable tasting room staff. What separates the average tasting room server, from a bartender at your average tavern, is that they know much, much more about the wines, how they were made, what distinguishes them, etc. Take advantage of their knowledge and ask them any questions you may have. Knowing more about wine, and the wines you're buying, not only makes you cooler at a party, but does seriously help you appreciate and even enjoy the wine even more.
- Research the wineries. Rest assured, we're no advocating you spend countless hours in your local library to generate a dissertation on which wineries you want to visit. However, many wineries specialize in certain types of wines, types of grapes and possess various, unique features which will make one winery more appealing to you personally, and others not as much. Of course, provided you're not traveling in a large group, you can always pop into a winery that looks interesting, that maybe you know nothing about (which itself is sometimes a fun way to find new wineries and wines you otherwise would have never experienced) but by doing a little research before you start on your tour, you'll be assured of enjoying the most number of wines you're most likely to appreciate. Our website at www.senecalakewine.com not only contains vast stores of information on the wineries themselves, but also keeps updated lists of awards won by wineries, which is another good indicator of which wineries specialize in, and excel at producing, certain types of wines.
- Ask friends and family members. Over the years many of your friends and family have undoubtedly visited the winery region you'll be visiting. And, as is true with any experience like this, sometimes they can provide you with some good insight on which wineries to make sure you visit. There are also many good blogs out there, like the fingerlakesweekendwino.com, that can provide detailed, objective, worthy feedback on various wineries.
- If you're interested in learning even more about wine than what it tastes like, several wineries on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail offer behind the scenes tours of their facility. Participating in one of these, often at an additional cost, will enable you to have a guided tour of the complex hardware and techniques that together result in wine.
- Empty out your car's trunk. Most of the wines you'll be sampling can only be readily purchased at the winery itself. And how much of a bummer would it be if you sampled some wine that really knocks your socks off, that can't be purchased at your neighborhood liquor store, only to discover the case you purchased won't fit in your cluttered trunk!
- Get a brochure. Most wine trails print a detailed, easy to use brochure containing maps, descriptions of wineries and other helpful information. These brochures can usually be mailed to by a wine trail office, or can be picked up at a local chamber of commerce, information center, or at one of the first wineries you visit. Online maps are fine, but sometimes a printed version of the information is most helpful.
- Don't forget the off season. Most wineries these days are open 52 weekends a year, and a majority of the wineries are open almost 365 days per year. Few wineries are "seasonal" and close down for the winter. But of course summer is so beautiful, people will remind you! The fall foliage is so gorgeous! Those facts are true, and certainly visiting the wineries those times of the year is fine too. However, if you're passionate about learning about the wines, the off season (generally between Thanksgiving and Memorial Day) is truly the best time of the year to tour wineries, when there are fewer customers vying for tasting room staff attention, and an increased likelihood of an owner or manager being at the tasting bar who are incredibly knowledgeable.
- Groups should make appointments. If you're traveling in a group of 8 or more people, many wineries require an appointment be made. Why? Because they try very hard to make sure that when your group arrives, they'll be greeted and served promptly and capably, so they will literally plan their staff levels to accommodate groups. If they know when your group is coming, but they already have a full tasting room, then they'll, for example, bring a vineyard manager out of the vines, and have him or her serve your group.
- Have fun. Granted, most people don't need to be encouraged to have fun, but many people mistakenly think that wine is a deadly serious business. It isn't. It's a complicated art and science, certainly, and some people like to pretend its incredibly serious, but it isn't. Wine is a delicious beverage, the enjoyment and exploring of which should above all else be fun.
- And if you have more questions beyond those listed here, feel free to call the offices of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail toll-free at 877-536-2717 weekdays during regular business hours and our expert staff will assist you.
HOW TO GET THE MOST FROM YOUR SENECA LAKE WINE TRAIL EVENT
Tickets are not refundable, exchangeable or changeable, and the winery you chose to start at cannot be altered. Seneca Lake Wine Trail events are never cancelled. You can give them away or sell them at face value. Event information is printed on each ticket, which includes a list of wineries participating for that event. You can find this information online under the Trail Events, General Information page.
Sometimes our events sell out, so you should purchase your tickets well in advance of the event itself. For those events that do not sell out, we stop selling tickets in advance by 1:00 p.m. EST the Wednesday before the event weekend. After that, for events that are not sold out, tickets will be available to purchase at a few designated wineries, with an additional charge of $5 per ticket.
Starting Winery: You must go to your start winery to be checked in and receive a real cardstock event ticket. The document emailed to you by Eventbrite does not qualify as your ticket and wineries will require that you have your actual cardstock ticket before you can begin enjoying the event. Starting wineries help keep traffic flowing smoothly around the lake, minimizing delays. This is also where you’ll pick up your gift item and have your first food and wine pairing; each participating winery is given a limited quantity of gift items based upon the starting winery points. Once you are all checked in, you may proceed at your own pace and in the direction most convenient for you and your party.
Important, Proof of I.D.: Please bring proof that you are 21 years of age or older. Each winery is individually responsible for checking the age of customers, to make sure they are at least 21 years old, so it is possible that you may be proofed at more than one winery.
As a designated driver you are a VIP and we thank you for making our events safer for your family and friends! You will be offered an alternative non-alcoholic beverage with your food sample. (If you have a DD couples ticket for Deck the Halls, only one person will only be served non-alcoholic beverage.)
Fill Out Your Ticket: Once you have your ticket, please take a moment to fill out the top and bottom of the ticket. Filling in at least your first name and cell phone at the top of the ticket is recommended, in case you misplace your ticket along the way, so the person finding it can contact you. Please also fill out the bottom and select if you'd like to receive future mailings and announcements. Your starting winery will also remove this bottom portion of your ticket in exchange for your gift item.
Remember that each ticket entitles the bearer to 3 modest wine samples paired with a food sample at each winery (for Deck the Halls couples ticket, each person will receive the samples). Additional samples are left to the discretion of each winery. Our events are meant to be samplers only. If you wish to taste more than what that winery provides for the event, there may be additional tasting fees.
Large Groups: There is a special trail-wide policy in place for these ticketed events. As long as you have tickets to the event travel in a group of 19 or less people, you are not considered a large group and will not need to make appointments at participating wineries. Important group size changes for 2015: However groups of 20 and up to 40 people will be accepted only if routed by the Trail office and are limited. All large groups must be booked 60 days prior to and event weekend. No large groups are permited during Deck the Halls. Few large groups are permitted and we reserve the right to limit the number of large groups and motor coaches purchasing tickets to our events to four. Please call or email Glenda Stermer-Simpson to inquire about large group event details.
As a large group, you may only attend an event together if the office prepares an itinerary for you. Please take special note that if you are traveling with a large group and are not routed through us and the winery is already at legal attendance capacity, you may be asked to visit the next winery then return and do your tasting, or simply be unable to visit a winery at all as some wineries have very limited capacity and cannot accommodate an unscheduled large group.
Transportation & Overnight Accommodations: Tickets do not include transportation or overnight accommodations. Visit our website under Visitors for listings of lodging, transportation companies and restaurants in the region. Plan overnight accommodations in advance as the weekends tend to book up quickly.
A list of wineries, a map of our Trail and a downloadable brochure are available on this website under the Wineries link in the upper left corner of the page. If you’d like a hard copy of our brochure mailed to you, please send us an email along with your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll mail one right out to you.
You can find decent bottles of wine in every price range. However, an inexpensive wine is not a good value if you don't like it. One way to measure value (the wine's price in relationship to how much you like it) is to choose a varietal you like, and try that varietal in different price ranges. The rule of thumb is that good wine is the wine you like best.
Two factors determine the color of a wine: the skin color of the grape, and the process the grapes go through when they are made into wine.
Although red grape varieties are generally used to make red wine, the wine's color would also be white if the grape skins were not soaked with the juice. Red wines are usually kept in vats with their skins and seeds for longer periods of time than their white counterparts; this is the process that imparts color, and also increases tannin levels.
White wines are typically de-stemmed and skinned immediately in the crushing process, thus removing any additional color found in the skins and seeds.
I keep hearing about how it is now legal to ship wine directly from a winery to a consumer across state lines. Is that true?
This is a very complex question, the answer to which is constantly changing as different states continue to modify their laws pertaining to direct wine shipping (directly from the winery to the consumer) both within a given state, and outside a given state. To see more detailed, updated information on this very complex matter, please visit the dedicated page at Wine America's excellent website here:
WineAmerica (formerly the American Vintners Association) was founded in 1978 as the Association of American Vintners, a trade association of wineries with membership based in the eastern U.S. Its early mission included fostering general communications within the developing wine industry, providing a unified voice for government relations issues and comprehensive, affordable insurance for its members.
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