If you are looking for an unforgettable getaway, then look no further than the Seneca Lake wine trail! A wine tour along the pristine Seneca Lake is the perfect way to relax and unwind with your travel partner. Whether you’re a wine aficionado or simply looking to enjoy a fun day out, there’s something special about touring the Finger Lakes region and visiting some of its many wineries. Let’s dive into why you should plan your next vacation around this stunning area of New York.
In this travel guide, we’ll take you to some beautiful and unique stops along the Seneca Lake Wine trail to eat, drink, explore and be swept away by the beauty and bounty of this region!
The Finger Lakes region is renowned for its natural beauty. With lush rolling hills, sparkling lakes, and charming villages, it’s no wonder that this area has become such a popular destination for couples who want to escape from their everyday lives. The best way to take in all of this gorgeous scenery is by taking a tour along Seneca Lake—the largest and deepest of all 11 of the Finger Lakes. This spectacular body of water is surrounded by vineyards and wineries – meaning that a tour of Seneca Lake can easily be combined with a trip through several incredible wineries in just one day!
One of the best parts about visiting the Finger Lakes region is that there are so many incredible wineries to explore. From small independent producers to larger corporate operations, each winery offers its own unique experience and selection of amazing wines. Many wineries offer guided tours so you can learn more about how their wines are made as well as their unique histories. Plus, most wineries also have tasting rooms where you can sample some iconic Finger Lakes wines like Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Gewürztraminer, and Chardonnay!
Finger Lake Wine Region
This area is set apart by the “lake effect” : meso-climates found along Seneca Lake, the “air drainage” of sloping hillsides, and glacial soils make this area primed and perfect for grape growing while the cool climate provides the perfect conditions for NY Vintners and growers to craft higher acidity, lower alcohol wines, that are naturally food-friendly and approachable.
The region specializes in Riesling, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, as well as sparkling wines and ice wines. Over the years, French-American and Native American varietals are being grown in the area as well and every grower and Vintner that we encountered was committed to innovation and evolution in growing and producing and so very proud to say that their wines are Grown Here. Made Here in New York State.
Although the finger lakes are known for their award winning Rieslings, WE were surprised to find over 600 varieties of wines grown and produced in the region. So whether you like reds or whites, still or sparkling or even if you prefer beer to wine…there’s something delicious just waiting to be discovered by you, right here in New York!
Wagner Vineyards Estate
Wagner Vineyards Estate Winery is one of the oldest and most recognized wineries in the Finger Lakes and a great first stop on the Seneca wine trail. Centrally located on the eastern shore, Wagner Vineyards has been one of the region’s most popular wine tasting destinations since 1979.
Their on-property Cafe Ginny Lee, named for Bill Wagner’s granddaughter provides a breathtakingly beautiful spot to enjoy lunch and begin tasting what Wagner has to offer. Fifth Generation grape growers with more than 100 years of grape growing experience keep Wagner wines 100% Estate grown, meaning they grow every grape they use right here on site.
We love the different ways visitors can choose to enjoy their tasting and the property at Wagner. From laid back gathering spaces for visitors to taste and celebrate at their own pace to guided tours and library wine tastings geared towards those who want to learn the ins and outs of what makes Wagner wines special. We were also excited about the brewery side of Wagner with over a dozen tap lines and rotating beers in a variety of different styles. We were particularly blown away by the smoked lager which came home with us in crowler.
J.R. DILL Winery
JR is a collaborator and innovator with deep roots to wine making and growing-up in the finger lakes. Fueling the wine production here is a strong passion for both Viticulture and Seneca Lake, since J.R. Dill lived here his whole life and first discovered the joy of winemaking 20 years ago in his parents basement.
The bar in the tasting room is lined with sea glass that his mother collected from the finger lakes. JR approaches wine making with a healthy mix of science and art. The science of viticulture, farming, yeast and fermentation lead the entrepreneurial side of the process and keeps JR and his team busy shepherding the grapes through the wine making process and we loved nerding out as we walked through the process from punch down to fermentation.
The art form comes in with JR’s philosophy to let the grapes be what they want to be and show up in their full flavor with as little tampering as possible. The end result is award winning wines that can be sipped and savored with a birds eye view of Seneca Lake and some pretty famous wine pickles that are kind of a big dill.
At Lakewood Vineyard tradition and technology come together to produce fruitful vineyards and delicious wines.
Lakewood Farm is located on the west side of Seneca Lake, with east-facing slopes curving down to the shore. You can take your tasting through the vineyards and hike to the edge of the property or take in the beauty of the estate from the indoor and outdoor tasting areas with an expert steward as your guide through the legacy and variety that Lakewood Wines has to offer.
From their effervescent bubbly candeo to their perfect port, Lakewood offers unique styles as well as familiar favorites in the region. Look out for the roses around the property and ask someone on the team to tell you all about the Lakewood connection to Lady Bird Johnson.
Three Brothers Winery and Estates
With three completely different wineries, a microbrewery, vineyard and cafe all on one exquisite estate, Three Brothers winery and estates is a destination in and of itself.
WE love the expansive but walkable property and how each section offers visitors a completely new experience. They’ve got Stony Lonesome, Passion Feet, Bagg Dare, WarHorse Beer and Bombshell hard cider. Each area has its own vibe and flavor. With an expansive selection of hand-crafted Wines, Beers, Hard Ciders, and even Craft Sodas there’s quite literally something for every taste.
Unwind & Relax
The Finger Lakes region is known for being an incredibly relaxing place – even more so when paired with some delicious wine tasting!
After spending a day exploring Seneca Lake and its many wineries, cap off your trip with dinner at one of the area’s fine restaurants before turning in for the night at one of its cozy bed & breakfasts or boutique hotels. There’s nothing quite like waking up in idyllic upstate New York surrounded by nature
If you’ve ever wanted to wake up in the middle of a vineyard dream (because who hasn’t) the cottage for rent on the 3 Brothers Winery and Estate is the dreamiest place to make those vineyard destination dreams come true with sprawling views of the vineyards and the lake, stunning sunset and sunrises, you’ll feel like you’re worlds away but still be just steps from all the action.
One of the first things you will notice when you arrive in the Finger Lakes region is that it is truly breathtaking. With its rolling hills, crystal clear lakes, and lush green forests, there is beauty everywhere you turn. Whether you’re exploring local trails or hopping on a boat to take in views from the water, you won’t be disappointed. Even better, many of these stunning vistas can be experienced without leaving your car—just make sure to keep your eyes peeled!
With more than 1,000 waterfalls and gorges in the Fingerlakes region, it’s not just wine and vineyards leaving visitors wonderstruck, the area is a treasure trove of beautiful views, trails and scenic walks, drives and overlooks.
We visited the expansive Hector Falls and marveled at the expanse of water tumbling and dancing over limestone and shale cliffs and into Seneca Lake. Its definitely worth a stop and fun to drone! Here’s how to find it: From the village of Watkins Glen, take Rt 414 north along the east side of Seneca Lake for 2.5 miles. You will pass over a bridge, look to the right for the falls. Keep in mind that people on this road are going at 45-65 mph. Slowing or stopping unexpectedly is dangerous. If you are looking for the falls, slow down and put on your flashers.
Park on the shoulder of Rt 414 either before or after the falls. Room for about 5 cars. Be careful as cars and trucks whiz by on this highway spot.
In addition to the beautiful landscapes, the Finger Lakes region provides some incredible wildlife-viewing opportunities.
From deer and foxes to bald eagles and osprey, there is always something interesting to see. This area also has some unique species like bobcats and river otters that you won’t find anywhere else—so bring along your binoculars and camera! Plus, if you’re lucky enough to visit during migration season (fall or spring), then prepare yourself for a real treat as hundreds of birds soar overhead.
Dozens Of Activities To Enjoy
No matter what kind of activities make your heart sing, this place has got it all!
From hiking and biking to sailing and swimming—not to mention kayaking, fishing, bird watching, horseback riding—the possibilities are endless. And if you’d rather stay on dry land? There are plenty of museums and galleries where couples can explore together before enjoying a romantic meal at one of the many local restaurants.
Are you looking for a unique culinary experience in the Finger Lakes region? Whether you’re a foodie looking to try something new or a couple searching for the perfect romantic dinner spot, this blog post has got you covered! From classic restaurants serving up traditional dishes to innovative eateries with creative takes on local flavors, there’s something for everyone in the Finger Lakes. Read on to discover some of our favorite places to eat.
Elf in The Oak
The breakfast we can’t stop thinking about came from our visit to the Elf in The Oak.
If you didn’t know it was here, you might pass by but trust us when we tell you this enchanted spot is not to be missed! We love the beautiful views and the selection of teas and coffee but what really blew us away was the food. The menu changes but if you get the chance, don’t miss the homemade Pastrami biscuit and perfectly flaky cinnamon roll..there are no words…only swoons.
3812 Bistro is a pup-friendly, farm to table eatery located at the beautiful and scenic Lakeside Resort. Another gorgeous place to have coffee and a bite to eat while looking out onto the majesty of Seneca Lake. There are also cabins to rent and trails to hike and explore.
In Watkins Glen, Thai Elephants Offers modern takes on classic thai dishes and incredible, friendly service. We especially loved the jasmine tea, the fresh summer roll with its sweet and salty crunch, and the Pad Thai was fork twirling perfection! For a little show at the end of your dinner, go for the fried ice cream!
Tucked along the twinkling Linden street in downtown Geneva is a local favorite: the Rusty Pig.
WE loved their extensive craft beer selection, and slow smoked hickory and applewood meat. The Fun Guys and brisket appetizer is sweet and smoky perfection with tangy boursin on a meaty mushroom cap. The brisket and sides were delicious and so perfectly flavored that we took home some Rusty Pig barbeque sauce to hang onto the deliciousness a little bit longer. We definitely recommend saving some time to take in the shops and murals, views and vibe of Geneva while you’re there.
The Finger Lakes region is home to some amazing restaurants that are sure to please all kinds of diners. Whether you’re looking for fresh seafood or classic pub grub with a twist, there is something here for everyone! So get out there and explore all that the area has to offer – your taste buds won’t be disappointed! Happy eating!
Seneca Lake Wine Trail
The Seneca Lake wine trail has an abundance of wonders to see and explore – we are already daydreaming about coming back to see, taste and experience even more of what this stunning and welcoming region has to offer! If you haven’t been to this part of New York, there’s more than just great wine and food to draw you in. Small towns and beautiful lakes each bring their own culture, sights and experiences! Look for our next travel guide featuring Corning NY and Steuben County soon! We were surprised by how much the area has to offer including
- More than 80 art galleries
- More than 135 museums
- More than 400 registered historic sites & landmarks
- 14 professional theatre companies & 45 community theatre groups
- 1,063 waterfalls and gorges
- More than 100 wineries
- 20 tour boats
- 650 miles of shoreline
- More than 300 bed & breakfasts
- At least 100 restaurants with waterside views
- More than 50 farmers markets
- 100 U-pick locations
- Fairs & festivals every week
- 26 state parks
- A 16,036-acre national forest
- More than 128 species of fish
- 17-mile “Grand Canyon of the East”
- 100 miles of the historic Erie Canal
- More than 2,000 miles of hiking/biking trails
- 95 public campgrounds
- 40 nature centers
- 160 golf courses
Of course with just a couple of days, there’s a lot we didn’t get to see and do YET. What are some of your favorite wineries, stops, and shops in this area?
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