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My perfect day in Finger Lakes

Harold G Goldberg plans his ideal day of wine travel in Finger Lakes, New York State...


Rise early to make the most of your day. Careful planning helps exploit this large-scale district because of longish distances to go for boat cruises and rentals, canoeing, fishing, swimming, hiking, camping, birding, picnicking in state parks, museum-going and stops at pick-your-own farms and farmers’ markets. While Seneca is the hub, Keuka and Cayuga are also crucial for Rieslings (which are assumed but not specified in recommendations below) and also showcase other varieties.

On Keuka’s west side, taste a range of wines from Dr Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars (www.drfrankwines.com), including the best-selling Rkatsiteli – a Georgian grape. The tasting room also pours sparkling wines from nearby Chateau Frank. At Heron Hill (www.heronhill.com) don’t miss the Chardonnay, Muscat, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and late-harvest Vidal Blanc.


Travellers who love discovering local foods will appreciate Edible Finger Lakes, a food magazine found at wineries, markets and stores. After a spot of lunch (see here for restaurants) try this winery tour on the east side of Cayuga, starting from Ithaca, Cornell University’s home. I’ve recommended the must-try wines from each: Heart & Hands (www.heartandhandswine.com) Pinot Noir; Goose Watch (www.goosewatch.com) Diamond, Lemberger, Rosé of Isabella; Thirsty Owl (www.thirstyowl.com) Chancellor, Gewürztraminer; Sheldrake Point (www.sheldrakepoint.com) Gewürztraminer.

Evening & overnight

You have tasted and spat out wine all day, alternating water with wine to ensure safe driving. Now, like winemakers everywhere, you have earned a cold beer. Try local brands Abandon, Ithaca Beer, Naked Dove and Wagner Valley, or enjoy drinking a bottle of Finger Lakes wine over dinner at one of the restaurants. But be warned, reservations may cease at 9pm.


Decanter travel guide: Finger Lakes, New York State

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