Finger Lakes: Wine Tasting in the Snow (Keuka Lake)

When I woke up and saw that there was snow in the forecast, I smiled.

Not only would I be visiting one of the top tasting rooms in the world along the Keuka Wine Trail in the Finger Lakes Region (Heron Hill), I would probably experience another first: Gripping my wine glass with gloves on.

Heron Hill Winery (Photo courtesy Heron Hill)

I’ve been spoiled by California – from the Central Coast (Santa Ynez, Paso Robles) to NorCal (Napa and Sonoma). I’m used to afternoons in the sun at vineyards, relaxing and hanging out, enjoying the scenery.

We might not have had the weather on that day in the Finger Lakes, but the bright colors of the fall leaves along Keuka Lake provided more than enough of a view.

Those colors probably have something to do with Heron Hill’s tasting room being honored as one of the world’s most spectacular. Walking in and posting up at the tasting bar, it was easy to see what the buzz was about – most obvious were the views of the lake.

The atmosphere was relaxed and it wasn’t stuffy – there was plenty of chatter going on – and I felt very comfortable having a conversation and tasting the wine – perhaps treating it more as a bar than a tasting room. When the snow started to fall there was an instant feeling of camaraderie amongst the room full of guests – a point of discussion, if you will. Seeing the snow fall in front of the harvest colors was a treat, I must say.

The only thing ironic surrounding the situation is that the Finger Lakes region is all about Riesling, and the cold day had me in the mood for reds. The whites were better than the reds at Heron Hill, and I’d say that’s a pretty safe assumption for the entire region.

Driving the Keuka Wine Trail.

It was true at Dr. Konstantin Frank’s, another stop along the Keuka Trail, widely known for its Rieslings. Another great tasting room – lots of energy and views of the lake. Here I sampled the whole range of Rieslings – and I’d encourage you to do the same. I think the 2010 Semi Dry was my favorite that day.

I was feeling rather good towards the end of the tastings and I looked out at the snow in pleasant disbelief. We had spent our morning blowing glass at the Corning Museum of Glass (check out the pumpkin I made), and extended stays at Heron and Dr. Frank’s took us to the end of the day. I made friends, chatted with the wine pourers (all were very social at both places), and the locals told me how beautiful the area is during the summer, or early in the fall before the weather starts to turn.

Snow or shine – those views of the lake and the changing leaves stole the show on that late-October weekend. It’s a solid weekend getaway –  here are some photos:

View of lake before the snow rolled in at Dr. Frank
Heron Hill Winery (Photo courtesy Heron Hill)
Heron Hill Winery
Heron Hill Tasting Room.
View from Heron Hill as the snow begins to fall.
Heron Hill Tasting Room.
Driving the Keuka Wine Trail.
Dr. Frank's.
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