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“Some of the best fun i've had”

Seneca Lake Wine Trail
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 28 October 2010

Doing the wine trail was something my wife and i decided to do on our way home from Niagra Falls. It was great fun. My only problem was we only had about 5 hours to drive down the trail before most of the wineries closed for the day. If you like wine...this is a must do. My wife and I plan to go back for a long weekend and drive up and down the wine country in the finger lakes next fall. We got to visit 6 of the wineries, so there are plenty more to get to

3  Thank Thetraveler0924
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 7 September 2010

After debating on different vacation areas like Forida, my wife and I decided to take a short trip from New York City to the Seneca Wine Trail for the Labor Day weekend, and had a lot of fun with a reasonable budget.

For accomodations, we stayed in Horseheads for two nights and then Geneva for the third. We found Horseheads, which is 4 hours away from New York City and 30 minutes south of the Seneca Lake, because it is a convenient location to reach both sides of Seneca Lake and it was available when most of the closer hotels, like those in Watkins Glen, were booked. Out of the many hotel options in the area, we chose Hilton Garden Inn. For the third night, we stayed at Geneva on the Lake at the northern tip of the lake. We were able to book a "studio" for about $150 through Orbitz. To be honest, we were a bit surprised by the pull-out bed setup despite the relatively low price. We were lucky that our AC was broken and ended up being upgraded to a suite that was probably worth $300+ a night. The buildings and the surroundings were gorgeous, however. If not a stay, it certainly worthed a visit.

On Saturday morning, we started out on the right side of the lake at about 10am. It took about 40 minutes to get to Lamoreaux Landing. From there, we gradually worked our way down south through different wineries for wine-tasting. Our next place was Wagner, where we attended at 15-minutes tour at 11:30am. The tour was short and informative about the wine making process. We then stopped at Standing Stone before having lunch at Dano's Heuriger. It was an Austrian restaurant with great food and atmosphere. The lunch box was generous enough to share for both of us. We particularly enjoyed sausages there. After lunch, we continued to work down the trail through Silver Thread, Hazlitt 1852, Red Newt, and Atwater. When the wineries were closed, we had an awesome dinner at Stonecat at 5:30pm.

On Sunday, we started our morning at the Corning Museum of Glass, which was about 15 minutes from Horseheads. It was a good small break from all the wine-tasting we had been doing. We were able to see some interesting glass-making demonstrations and join a flamework class there to create our own glass pendants. If we were to do it again though, we would probably reserve a couple spots in a class earlier. After spending the morning in Corning, we then went up the west side of the lake. We started with Glenora, which was one of the most popular and crowded places we saw. Then, we stopped by Fruit Yard Wineries, which was the only place that did not charge a tasting fee and served up some distinctive wine made with varieties of fruits. We slowly worked our way through Earle Estate, Anthony Road, Fox Run, and Belhurst. At Fox Run, we had a very educational tour of the vineyard and winery. It took much longer than the one in Wagner's but it was more detailed and covered growing grapes as well. Belhurst had the most beautiful setting at a castle. We were able to walk around the site and took some pictures after wine tasting. At night, we checked in at Geneva on the Lake. As much as we were intrigued by the dinning hall there, we did not prepare any formal clothes. We settled with Cobblestone Restaurant in town. It had decent Italian food with a reasonable price.

On on the last day, we started with Ventosa at the north-east side of the lake. For a late "breakfast", we had some pretty darn good pizza at the cafe after wine-tasting. We planned on going to 3 Brothers afterwards, but we unfortunately missed the turn. We then crossed over to Cayuga Lake, stopping by Swedish Hill, Knapp, and Groose Watch. We stopped by Ithaca for late lunch and walked around Cornell University and its area, before taking the 4 hour drive back to New York City.

Overall, we had a blast on our trip without burning a hole in our budget. Though, with the money we saved from flying to other vacation destinations, we did purchase 27 bottles of wine for just about $300, as we were particuarly in love with the Reisling and Niagara in the region.

13  Thank ys298
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 September 2010

This trip is an annual "girls weekend" every summer for us. Seneca Lake is one of the Finger Lakes of central NYS-a beautiful area of vineyards sloping toward the lake, farms, boating, swimming, restaurants, shopping, history, other attractions like Watkins Glen State Park with its stunning gorge & waterfalls, Corning Museum of Glass. But we go for the wineries to taste, and buy for holidays and general pleasure. Seneca Lake has the most wineries, though Keuka, Cayuga & Canandaigua Lakes have wonderful wineries within easy drive as well as some other wineries dispersed among the other lakes.. Several Seneca Lake wineries have a long history, though the "Seneca Lake Wine Trail" came in to existence about 25 years ago with 30+ wineries now in operation. We have several favorite wineries that have not disappointed in the 10 years we've visited.Anthony Road (my personal favorite) Fox Run, Lakewood, Prejean, Red Newt, White Springs & Wagner always have a delicious variety of wines for every taste at reasonable prices. 3 Brothers, which is actually 3 wineries & a microbrewery is an outgrowth of Nagy's New Land Vineyards. 3 Brothers boasts a range of fine wines (Stony Lonesome) to sexy fun wines (Passion Feet) to goofy sweet wines of Bagg Dere & beer varieties (WarHorse Brewery). Wagner, 3 Brothers, Glenora & Hazlitt are large, popular with bus/limo tours so beware the large crowds on a weekend. Parking can be a challenge but all are worth a visit. Seneca Lake boasts many small wineries. At least 1 or 2 new wineries open each year. This year, King's Garden & J.R Dill were terrific finds. We bought several wines & will visit again. The Seneca Lake Wine Trail offers a "Passport" package that allows you complimentary tastings at participating wineries. The Passports are $12- a great buy considering the wineries charge $1-2 per flight of 5-6 wines but you have to order early in the summer season to get the Passport-they sell out. Most of the wineries reimburse the $ if you make a purchase. But if you don't get a passport (we didn't this year), the tasting fees are still a bargain-except- Chateau Lafayette Renau Winery-the most expensive tasting fee for what you get. $5 if you don't want the wine glass, $6 if you do. This winery offers tasting of at least 15 different wines. In my opinion, one cannot appreciate the different wines when so many are offered in 1 flight. We observed a group of tasters pretty well lit, a server most annoyed to serve drunken customers & treated us not intoxicated customers poorly as if we were with them. This is a disappointment since Chateau is one of the oldest Senca Lake wineries & has really gone down hill in recent years. My advice is visit the wineries that appeal to you, avoid a couple of the large wineries & visit the small ones-you will not be disappointed.
Aside from the wineries, there are plenty of accomodations to choose from, from campgrounds to 3 star motels & hotels, B&Bs. All depends on what you prefer.

16  Thank vineyardchick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 December 2008

Just got back from my second visit to the wine trail. My first was using the "Polar Pass" about 8 months ago, and this time we did the big "Deck the Halls" event. It was a blast! Excellent wine, some great food pairings, and so many places to visit and explore.

We stayed in Watkins Glen (see separate review of Echoes of the Glen B&B) both times, and we love the place.

We are looking forward to returning. Our only regret is that we haven't visited in the warmer weather!

(Photos are on another computer, but I'll definitely put some up soon!)

4  Thank Steve G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 30 July 2007

The Seneca Lake wine trail is beautiful, warm, friendly and an amazing bargain (you can do a tasting at most wineries for $1 - 4). At most places the staff is knowledgable, inviting and make you feel right at home. I am a huge, huge, HUGE fan of Damiani, Shalestone, and the Red Newt. The reds at Damiani and Shalestone are not to be missed, and the bistro at the Red Newt provided a lovely atmosphere and delicious food. The highlight of our trip was a dinner at Dano's Heuriger. The structure was gorgeous, the food was unique AND delicious and the staff was incredibly helpful, service oriented and friendly. Overall I would recommend the region to anyone looking for a great way to discover excellent wines in a romantic setting. What an experience!

13  Thank enb18
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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