New York is a major U.S. wine producer yet why is it so difficult to find their wines in my local wine stores? I live in Massachusetts, which borders New York, so you would expect you could find plenty of New York wines here. Yet I am lucky if I can find one or two of their wines in the stores I frequent. That is a shame because New York has some delicious wines which many people would enjoy, if only they could find them here.
Their general lack of availability is one reason why I chose to concentrate some of my efforts at the Boston Wine Expo on tasting wines from the Finger Lakes region of New York. They are wines of which I are largely unfamiliar but which I really wanted to check out. Why not support local wineries, especially if they produce a good product? I wanted to know whether they did have some worthy wines or not.
The Finger Lakes are a group of lakes in the west-central section of New York. Though there are eleven lakes in this area only the seven largest are usually identified as the Finger Lakes. This region is an important agricultural area with many vineyards, dairy farms, and other types of farms. It has also become a major tourist destination, all year round, with a wide variety of available activities, lodging, restaurants and more. The region is only about six hours from Boston so you could drive there for a long weekend or extended vacation.
There are over 100 wineries in the Finger Lakes area and they produce approximately 40 million bottles a year. The fact they make so much wine, and so little is available in Massachusetts, is a puzzler. The wine region is commonly divided into three different trails: the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail, Keuka Lake Wine Trail, and Seneca Lake Wine Trail. The grapes they grow include Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Lemberger, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, and Riesling. They also grow some native and hybrid varietals such as Cayuga White, Seyval Blanc, Traminette, and Vidal Blanc. This local region provides much to interest a wine tourist. I have not visited this area yet but will try to rectify that in the near future.
At the Expo, I tasted wines from three different wineries, including: Ravines Wine Cellars, Dr. Frank’s Vinifera Wine Cellars, and Wagner Vineyards. I found good wines from all three wineries and will post my tasting notes over the next few days. Overall, I found evidence that the Finger Lakes region can produce some excellent wine and deserves a closer look.
What also pleased me is that most of their wines seem to be very reasonably priced. One of my complaints about some Long Island wineries is that they seem to charge too much for their wines, making it difficult to find value wines. Yet the Finger Lakes wineries I checked out seem to be much more conservative in their pricing. Hopefully, their wines will start to become more readily available in local wine stores.
For more information about the Finger Lakes region, you can also check out:
Finger Lakes Tourism Aliance
Visit Finger Lakes
Corning & The Finger Lakes
Finger Lakes Wine Gazette
Finger Lakes Wine Guild