We are back on the road again and on our way to Wagner Vineyards where they have a winery, brewery, restaurant and gift shop. I would like to take this opportunity to advise you to be careful when tasting and driving and also ask you to be sure that you act in a responsible manner to ensure public safety because if you don’t the police around the Finger Lakes will. Wagner is probably the most commercially developed winery around the lakes and should be on your must see list. They produce an extensive variety of wines and if you are fortunate enough to have Bill serve you in the tasting room you will get to experience every one that your heart desires. I asked him for a good red for making Sangria and he suggested the Sunset Red then he gave me his favorite Sangria recipe. I tasted all of their Chardonnay and chose the dry 2011 Barrel Fermented. I didn’t taste at the brewery this trip but I remember that the last time I did their portions were the same as the wine room samples and let’s just say they were more than generous. The Ginny Lee Cafe has a trendy menu and we have had lunch on the deck overlooking the vineyards on several occasions. If you do decide to stop for lunch try one of their wraps, my favorite is the Tuscan. Wagner Vineyards is located at 9322 State Route 414 Lodi, New York.
Finger Lakes Distilling sits on a hillside along the eastern shore of Seneca Lake so naturally that if not for its sign marking the entrance road you could easily miss it. After climbing the few steps that lead to the rear of the building you enter the tasting room with its view of the lake and the distillery’s impressive still. At the bar you can taste any of their 16 types of spirits and liqueurs. While perusing the tasting room and gift shop I noticed a friendly looking hound lying on the floor, as I approached him all he did was move his eyes to see who it was and then he went back to sleep. I would suggest that you stop at Finger Lakes Distilling even if it is only to take a look around. Finger Lakes Distilling is located at 4676 NYS Rte 414 Burdett, NY.
The Three Brothers Wineries and Estates are located at 623 Lerch Rd Geneva, NY. It is just a short distance off of NY Rte 96A South at the north end of Seneca Lake. This winery is a collection of three distinctly different wineries (Passion Feet, Stony Lonesome and Bagg Dare) and a brewery (War Horse). We arrived at the property just a day after the conclusion of Winestock, a wine and music festival that had run through the weekend. Three Brothers was the only winery that we visited twice and is a perfect example of the saying “What a difference a day makes”. The first day we visited we were served in the tasting room of the Stony Lonesome Winery by a very well versed young man named Alex. Alex poured our selections and recited the characteristics of each flawlessly and with a friendly ease. That day we would purchase two Riesling: Degree 1 Medium Dry 2010 and Degree 2 Medium Sweet 2010 along with a wine that I was unfamiliar with Estate Reserve Grüner Veltliner 2011. I could have easily have picked up their Barbera, the first to be produced in the Finger Lakes but the promise of the wines in my near future caused me to pass on it. The next afternoon we decided to return to Three Brothers to pick up a bottle of their Pinot Noir and that Barbera that I had passed on the day before. We entered the Stony Lonesome tasting room and stood around until we were finally approached by a small young woman. We asked her several questions about their Pinot Noir and other red wines which she struggled to answer with her limited knowledge of the products. Since the Pinot was to be a gift I asked if she could do me a favor and photo copy the wine list and its tasting notes. She went into the other room only to return and say no and that it could be found on the website (I looked but couldn’t find it there). I bought the 2009 Pinot Noir and forgot about the Barbera.
The wines at Three Brothers Wineries and Estates were probably the best I tasted on this trip but the tasting room experience was surly the most sub-standard that I encountered. The management of this business has to remember that making good wine is important but there is much more to a brand than just that.