Finger Lakes wineries paired with the many recreational opportunities and a lovely scenic backdrop creates the most popular tourist region within New York. There are countless ways to enjoy vacations when visiting Finger Lakes, but when going for the vineyards, Finger Lakes winery tours prevail. Especially popular is visiting in seasons when scores of food and wine festivals premier at selected wineries. Rochester Winos September Wine Tour is a popular event involving Finger Lakes wine tours at Cayuga wineries. Purple Foot Festival includes Finger Lakes wine tasting, grape stomping, live music, and more. Add together all the regional wineries and that makes for one exciting year after another.
There are scores of ways to experience Finger Lakes winery tours. They take place near the four major lakes of Seneca, Cayuga, Keuka, and Canandaigua. Tours are available through a host of private companies. Geneva on Seneca Lake is a great place to arrange tours any day of the week. With guided tours, hit on any wine trails with your own designated drive. They can be private or public tours carried out in limos, buses, mini buses, sedans, and trolleys whisking through spectacular valleys with impressive backdrops. Self-guided tours are also easy and designated drivers receive large discounts at most wineries. Or, for active wine-lovers, take to the trails with a rented bicycle. Special discount passes, called Polar Passport, are available for the Seneca wine trail.
Options for Finger Lakes wine tours include 35 wineries on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, 8 wineries on the Keuka Lake Wine Trail, 16 wineries on the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail, and 7 wineries and wine centers along Canandaigua Wine Trail. If a wine tour seems too exhaustive, visiting a few different vineyards is a good way to get a glimpse at what’s available. Though there are certainly leading Finger Lakes wineries, keep an eye out for fledgling operations in Owasco and Skaneateles. Most of these wineries offer a daily Finger Lakes wine tasting and often have special gourmet cafes and small eateries, picnic areas, and more to offer. Vineyard tours are another popular way to see how the grape begins in the vineyard, goes to a winery barrel, and ends in a bottle. In addition, there all types of gift shops, wine shops, and other retail outfits offering souvenirs and wine-related goods.
Another way to experience Finger Lakes wine tasting events is to visit when important festivals and events are on. If you’re either lucky enough to just be there, or make prior arrangements to visit one of the top wineries during an anniversary celebration, the atmosphere is charged, there’s a line-up of culinary delights, entertainment is in place, and the best wines are put forth. Many wineries partake in wine and food pairing events, which can be a terrific way to taste choice wines and experience professional food pairings. Yet the most important and lauded season for Finger Lakes wine tours is in early fall which is harvest season. Food and wine events, live entertainment, art premiers, Finger Lakes wine tasting events, and virtually anything that goes well with wine goes on.
For the ultimate wine vacations, stay directly on one of the wine trails. Inns, bed and breakfasts, renovated mansions, and cabin-style lodging are available. There are even Finger Lakes rentals available on select wine trails. Some of the Finger Lakes wineries themselves offer small cabins and cottages for rent. An array of attractions teams with wineries on the trail to make one incredible getaway. On the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail attractions include the Corning Museum of Glass, the Ithaca Beer Company, Hangar Theater, several art studios, and two excellent farmer’s markets.