New York State, Wine From The Cold North
Grapevines can only take so much cold, and upstate New York really pushes them to the limit. There was a time when only hybrid grapes could survive here, but now, thanks to passionate winemakers and grape growers, we’re seeing world-class wines being made with some of the most famous grapes, and the wine is good! Here’s all you need to know about this chilly vinous heaven.
The Story of Brave Men and They’re Dream
Dutch and French immigrants in the 17th century already explored New York’s winemaking potential with little success. It was not until the 19th century that commercial endeavors really got it going, but the 20th century greeted these entrepreneurs with World Wars, the Great Depression and Prohibition.
The American dream, though, dies last, and a Ukrainian immigrant, now called the father of New York State’s wine scene, Dr. Konstantin Frank, devoted his life to producing wine with European grapes. He found the right spot around the Finger Lakes.
Today there are 400 wineries in New York and over 1,500 family vineyards. After California and Washington, New York holds third place in wine production, with 3.5% of the country’s output. Of course, sometimes less is more.
All That Effort for Some Fantastic Grapes
Vineyards in Long Island, the Niagara Escarpment, Lake Erie, and especially in the Finger Lakes region grow both white and red grapes. Riesling is king here, and it’s not only the most lusciously decadent sweet wine; dry wine is superb too and is up there with the best in the world.
There are lots of Concord and Vidal grapes, too, the hybrid grapes that started it all, but Cabernet and Merlot have more massive fan bases and are taking control of the market.
Either way, winemaking in New York is about family enterprises, which means up-north hospitality, great food and chic lodging — talking about a romantic getaway!
What to Do In The Finger Lakes?
You can’t get enough of enjoying wine in the region’s tasting rooms, but the Finger Lakes are much more than verdant vineyards.
Winter might be too cold for walking the vineyards through the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, but it’s skiing season, and that’s not so bad, is it? Both downhill and cross-country skiers flock from the city to the white postcard. Some love Bristol Mountain’s charm; others are loyal to Greek Peek. Skiing, snowboarding, or snow tubing, there’s something for everyone.
During the warm season, the Robert Treman State Park or the Taughannock Falls State Park are lovely outdoorsy options. Expect trekking, sightseeing, and just enjoying the fresh air. Who knew New York was so diverse?
New York, That’s Quite a Back Yard
New York has quite an impressive backyard. Wine and food are some of the most exclusive on the East Coast, but as always, it’s the people behind each wine label and every dish that makes the trip up-north worthwhile.
New York’s Wine is awesome, sure, but it’s just an excuse for everything to see and do up here. A cold paradise worth of cruising the country. Perhaps it’s time for a road trip!
If you’ve ever gone wine tasting and heard all these different wine terms, words and phrases, but had no idea what any of it meant, don’t worry about it,