In 1860 the Pleasant Valley Wine Company, located on Keuka Lake, became the first bonded winery in America. They went on to create one of the most successful wines in American history, dubbed ‘The Great Western Champagne’. Today you’ll find over 100 wineries dotting the lakeside landscape, all focusing their attention on making ‘the best white wine in the world’: Riesling. It’s obvious why Wine Enthusiast magazine named it “Wine Region of the Year” last year. The funny thing is… no one seems to know about it still! So come adventure, indulge, and unwind in one of the most beautiful American landscapes (before everyone else finds out)!
After a brief tasting at their winery, we’ll enjoy a picnic in their vineyards overlooking Seneca Lake, while they help us understand the intricacies of growing grapes sustainably and organically. We’ll follow this vineyard session up with a special Blending Session right down the road at Damiani Wine Cellars. Damiani is highly regarded for their reds within the mostly white wine Finger Lakes region. The staff will walk us through the steps in creating a well-made Bordeaux-style blend (or as we label it here in the States – ‘Meritage’). Make sure to pay attention because then it’s your turn to try your hands at blending, and if your Meritage wins the group blind tasting you’ll take home a bottle of your choosing!
After checking in to your new home for the next three nights, Magnolia Place B&B, enjoy the rest of the evening with your significant other or friends. Ithaca is close by and full of great food and nightlife, and your guides would be pleased to set up dinner reservations or hail a cab. Later on you can find your guides relaxing at a local pub, which has the best sunsets in the northeast (seriously). We’ll let you in on the secret.
With local charcuterie in hand for lunch and the lake down and off to your left, it will be a soothing afternoon of sun and wine. We’ll meet later in the afternoon at the famous Hermann J Wiemer winery where agronomist, part-owner, part-happiest-man-alive, Oskar Bynke, will show us his vine nursery operation and explain its origin and purpose. We’ll finish our time at HJ Wiemer with an outstanding vertical tasting of their portfolio.
After relaxing back at the B&B, you’ll stroll a quarter mile down the road to our dinner spot this evening, Stonecat Café. Here, wine director Joshua Carlsen will join forces with Forge Cellars to put on a local food and wine sampling for us. The food and wine are very good, so try not to be distracted by the characteristically gorgeous sunset over the lake.