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  • With the longest spring ever hopefully about to make its way to the rear view mirror, we are taking more calls and emails inquiring about our availability to host upcoming wine and beer tours. Local vineyards and breweries have suffered through the same last few months as the rest of us, and are ready to host thirsty visitors. We are blessed to have so many world class wineries in our near vicinity. There are over 200 wineries within a 2 hour drive of Rochester, NY, with the vast majority being located along and around the Finger Lakes. Before planning your wine tour you may want to learn what makes our climate ideal for the production of wine.

    The primary ingredient in wine is grapes, of course. But, what makes different wines look and taste different? If you guessed “grapes,” you are correct! If you’ve ever wondered why vineyards tend to be pretty regional, it is because grape cultivation requires a very specific climate, temperature, humidity, and rainfall amount. These climates hospitable to wine production can be seen on the map:

    While many people would consider the 2 main types of wine as red, or white, most connoisseurs break them down by the grapes used to produce that color and taste. To take this a step further, it is common to classify wines as either cold climate or warm climate wines. Each wine is made with different grapes with characteristics that make them easy to identify. Cold climate grapes tend to produce a wine that is more crisp and tart, while wine containing warm weather grapes taste more sweet and “ripe.” As you may have guessed, the wines made in the Finger Lakes region are cold climate wines. Rochester is in the same geographic and climate zone as

    Germany, so many of the wines have similar characteristics and tastes. Whether you are a true wine lover, or just enjoy sampling, a Finger Lakes wine tour will let you experience and taste some of the best wines made anywhere in the world.

    So, now that you know a little bit about why the Finger Lakes wineries are such a destination, let’s find out what you need to make your next, or first wine tasting trip a success.

    The best ability is availability- Because different grape varieties ripen at different times, or are picked during different stages of ripening, figure out what wineries are open, and what varieties are available to taste.

    Pick an occasion- Maybe it is your spouse or significant other’s birthday party, a friend’s bachelor party, or just a Saturday! Have a plan, and make a day of it.

    Find the right people to go with you- Depending upon how many wineries you’d like to visit, and what else you have planned for the outing, it could be a long day. Make sure that you invite friends and family who have a similar expectation in terms of time frame. You don’t want to have to stop halfway through your trip because someone needs to go home. Make sure that you are with a group that can have fun.

    Arrange for safe transportation- This may be the most important tip of all. Whether you plan on drinking, drinking heavily, or not at all, make sure that transportation is lined up. Many people go on a wine tour with no intention of having more than a few sips, but they find a wine that they love, and are having such a great time with friends, that they have a few more than they had anticipated. Most repeat visitors have either learned this lesson the hard way, or heeded warnings from their friends, and arrange door to door transportation from their homes to the wine tour, and back. Look for reputable, local businesses that specialize in wine tour transportation to assure a safe and happy outing.

    Now that businesses are starting to reopen, and the weather is making it’s turn towards the summer, you deserve to treat yourself. You know why Finger Lakes wineries are among the best in the nation, and what you will need to have a great time, so what are you waiting for?