A year ago I was shameless being seduced by sensual Spanish DJ’s in underground clubs in Tribunal (the Brooklyn of Madrid x 10 if you will). Needless to say I was having a sizzling summer. Fast-forward to today with summer classes and a part-time job eating away at my soul, I’ll be damned if I don’t seize the weekend. Central New York has plenty to offer and I’m making it my To Do list to get cultured on the top quintessential CNY experiences before Fall semester starts. Festivals, farms, lakes, mountains and wineries are a handful of the activities one can find on a day trip away from the 315 bounds.
Ernest Hemingway called it one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural. A purely sensory thing. Wine is a creation of pure perfection, needless to say I’m a die hard wino. So much in fact that if the girl scouts had a badges for wine tours, I’d be the honorary chair.
With over 100 wineries centered along the Finger Lakes , this trail’s not only the first organized in the country but the longest. Take that Martha’s Vineyard ! Seneca Lake hosts the most wineries and is a mere hour and half drive away from home-base.
So here’s a breakdown on how to have the sloshiest day ever with your summer crew.
First, taking care of business before hitting the road. Have enough friends that are interested in hitting the trail ? Rent a van and caravan around the Finger Lakes with a designated driver whose fee for staying sober on the vino escapades is a bottle from each winery on trail. Roughly a group of 15 should expect to pay 20 per person rental and gas. Feeling fancy and want to hit the trail with style ? Hire a limo service and have the transportation be part of the experience.Rates start about 400 per car which fits 10 people for 4 hours rental. Its the pricier option but no one has to stay sober this way.
Technicalities aside now comes the sampling part.
- Wagner Vineyards is a two in one combo- winery and brewery. Its outdoor deck offers stunning views of the sparkling lake. Must try is the Riesling which is award winning. Not enough of a connoisseur to know what that means ? Riesling is a white grape variety that makes dry semi sweet and sparkling wines. Its also CNY trademark wine.
- Ventosa tries its best to make you forget that your in CNY and whisk you away to Tuscany. Gold star for their admirable efforts. Its cafe also offers tasty treats inspirited by a Mediterranean palate. Boozed up tummies will appreciate a snack by this point in the trail.
- 3 Brothers Wineries is the optimum deal for scoring the most booze for your buck. Buy a passport and drink up at two wineries and two breweries. Each tasting room comes with its own personality but Bagg Dare with its back woods swamp vibe leaves an impression. The dirt road which follows allures visitors with its rustic voodoo charm and endless Instragram photo opps.
- Silver Springs while lacking in atmosphere makes up for it with a kooky bartender and sweet berry wine combos that will overindulge taste buds. My unquenchable desire for sweets found its match, needless to say this winery gets my highest recommendation.
Excited, ready to go? Want to book a tour ? Word of warning most places advise to call ahead of time for large groups but our rowdy group never did get turned away.
Don’t forget the van wine which should always be the cheapest bottle they sell. Why ? Because what’s better than sipping on more wine on route to the next winery.
End the tasting with a siesta on one of the patios overlooking the lake and remember a day spent drinking the ancient gods gift to humanity is a day well spent for the soul.
The Finger Lakes Wine trail is a lush summer excursion away from the Euclid block.