Spring has arrived in Finger Lakes Wine Country and many exciting events are starting to pop up in the region that you certainly want to add to your calendar. Although wine is a staple here, the region is home to many notable microbreweries and distilleries that use the freshest, highest quality ingredients in their products.
A microbrewery you must not miss along the eastern shore of Seneca Lake is Wagner Valley Brewing Company. The brewery, established in 1997, is part of Wagner Vineyards, one of the oldest wineries in the Finger Lakes region. Wagner Valley Brewing Company currently produces six standard brews and several specialty brews, most available by draft or bottle. In addition to their wide selection of award-winning beers, the brewery tasting room boasts an incredible view of the lake combined with a friendly and knowledgeable staff. With this combination, your craft beer experience will be unforgettable indeed.
At the brewery, a must-attend event is quickly approaching. A release party is taking place on Wednesday, April 10th from 5:30 to 10:00 pm. Wagner Valley Brewing Company’s Head Brewer, Brent Wojnowski, and Director of Marketing and Public Relations, Katie Roller, are pleased to announce the release of a new and exciting beer; a small batch of bourbon barrel aged Doppel Bock called “Fassen Bock.” What makes this beer so enticing is that it was aged for just less than 3 months in McKenzie Bourbon Barrels from Finger Lakes Distilling, right down the road.
We are fortunate to receive the inside scoop from Brent and Katie themselves. Both Brent and Katie are ecstatic over the collaborative creation of Fassen Bock. With enthusiasm, Katie stated “that’s what is so great about our community here in the Finger Lakes; we love collaborating!” She describes Brent as a very creative brewer with a plethora of ideas for more barrel-aged craft brews. Though they will not disclose any future projects, you can’t help but be intrigued. Brent revealed that his spirit of choice is bourbon or scotch, making the creation of the beer very fitting. He spoke of a visit to Finger Lakes Distilling where he asked the owners, Brian and Thomas, about purchasing some of their used bourbon barrels as barrels are traditionally used only once when aging bourbon. Back at the brewery with the his “new” used barrels in tow, Brent had an idea to fill them with Doppelbock. For him, it was a perfect way “to make something unique using essentially a byproduct of our neighbors” and did not forget to add this simple detail, “Bourbon aged beer is awesome!”
The reason for throwing the release party is simply to reach out and reconnect with neighbors and fellow industry members and to share in this new, intriguing product. There is no cost to attend the event on the 10th. Each person in attendance will receive a complimentary sample of Fassen Bock and a sample of McKenzie Bourbon. Wagner Valley Brews will be available for purchase by the flight, pint, pitcher, or growler. A variety of delicious snacks will be offered for guests to enjoy; delicious BBQ Pork Sliders on Spent Grain Rolls, made by Village Bakery, an array of cheddar cheeses from Sunset View Creamery, and some other finger foods.
Now, let’s delve into the most important component of the evening: Fassen Bock. “Fassen” is a German brewing term literally meaning “to fill a barrel”. Brent describes the bourbon barrels as adding some sweet caramel notes, a really nice toasted coconut characteristic, with a bit of a smoky finish to the Doppelbock during the 3 month aging period. The barrels, where the McKenzie Bourbon spent 5 years, are American Oak. The ABV (Alcohol by Volume) is currently being tested, but the brewery’s Sled Dog Doppelbock has an ABV of 8.5%. Brent can assume that the ABV for the Fassen Bock will be a bit higher. As it is a specialty item with higher alcohol content, it is only available in 10 oz. glasses. Katie and Brent only anticipate this small batch being available for a very limited time, so come and taste it while you can! It will be available at the brewery, also at Ithaca Coffee Co., and possibly a few other local bars that serve specialty beers, details are not yet specified.
Katie and Brent offered their recommendations for the perfect foods to enjoy with a nice, cold draft of Fassen Bock. Katie recommends pairing it with a nice aged cheddar cheese, like the 7-year aged Diamond Cheddar from Sunset View Creamery, while Brent suggests a classic, rich and smoky barbeque to accompany the beer. At the party, you will be able to taste these flavors for yourself alongside the Fassen Bock. The Fassen Bock Release Party is not one to be missed! Come and enjoy the company of your friends and neighbors while sipping the highly anticipated Fassen Bock, sampling delectable treats, and taking in the glorious landscape of Seneca Lake. It is shaping up to be a great kick-off to spring!
Planning a weekend getaway to Finger Lakes Wine Country during the month of April? Spring in Wine Country is one of the most beautiful and exciting times to visit the region. The distinct Wine Trails of the three major lakes, Cayuga, Keuka, and Seneca are packed full of events to usher in this change of season. As the sun begins to shine and the landscape starts to come alive in the Finger Lakes, the timing is perfect to finally kick those winter blues and embrace the coming of summer.
Each wine trail is offering a unique and affordable wine and food pairing event during the month of April. With two spring-themed events featuring local cheeses and herb prepared creations, and another that brings you the flavors of Italy, all accompanied by the fine wines of the region; possibilities are endless when it comes to planning your weekend in the FLX.
Here is a breakdown of the happenings along the Wine Trails:
Keuka Lake Wine Trail | Viva Italia! | April 6 – 7, 2013
Escape to the Keuka Lake Wine Trail to experience the cuisine of Italy at the seven member wineries. Focusing on simple preparations and high quality ingredients, wineries along the trail will explore the rich, flavorful specialties of the different regions of Italy, further enhancing the flavors with wine pairings from their vineyards. You will receive a complimentary wine glass, taste twenty-eight wines and enjoy over twenty food creations. Advance tickets for the whole weekend are $25 and tickets for Sunday only are $19; special discounted rates apply to designated drivers. Prices increase at the door. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.
Cayuga Lake Wine Trail | 21st Annual Wine & Herb Festival | April 26 – 28, 2013
As the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail celebrates their 30th anniversary, join the festivities and delight in the arrival of spring by building your garden during the Trail’s Annual Wine & Herb Festival. Visit the sixteen members of the trail and receive a souvenir wineglass, potted herbs or vegetables from Schaefer Gardens at each winery, a plant carrier, as well as recipe cards. As you taste the wines along the trail paired with savory herb-inspired creations, you can look forward to recreating the experience at your home with the recipe cards you receive at each place. Also, participants will be eligible to enter to win a multitude of grand prizes throughout the event. Single tickets are $40 and couples tickets are $60 in advance; special discounted rates apply to designated drivers. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here. For Wine Trail packages that include accommodation, transportation, and tickets to the event, click here.
Seneca Lake Wine Trail | Spring Wine & Cheese Weekend | April 26 – 28, 2013
Indulge in the classic pairing of wine and cheese along the Seneca Lake Wine Trail during this popular wine trail event, co-sponsored by the Finger Lakes Cheese Trail. Taste the local cheeses of the region through cheese-themed dishes alongside the unique wines of the thirty participating wineries around Seneca Lake. This event offers an excellent opportunity to explore an incredible variety of wine and food combinations. Each attendee will receive a handmade cheese cutting board, crafted by Fish Woodworks from wood harvested in the Finger Lakes. Advance tickets are $35 per person; discounted rates apply to designated drivers. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.
If you are unable to attend any of these wine trail event weekends, don’t worry, there are more options in April! Each wine trail offers an on-going passport program that includes tasting discounts and other special features:
Keuka Lake Wine Trail Passport | Valid through December 31, 2013
Present your passport at each of the seven member wineries to receive a free standard tasting for two people. The passport includes discounts and coupons for the wineries and partner businesses. The passport is an affordable $12 plus tax per person. To purchase, click here.
Cayuga Lake Wine Trail Vino Visa Coupon Book | Valid through December 31, 2013
This Vino Visa, valued at over $300, allows you to visit the sixteen member wineries and receive special tasting and retail deals at each place. A number of accommodations, attractions, restaurants, and transportation services offer great deals as well. The Visa itself costs $15 plus tax per person. Purchase two and receive two free 30th anniversary wine glasses. For tickets and information on various deals, click here.
On the 30th of every month, furthering the 30th anniversary celebration of the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail, each winery along the trail is offering great tasting and retail deals for visitors. Details can be found here.
Seneca Lake Wine Trail Riesling to Visit Passport | Valid through July 31, 2013
The Rieslings of the Finger Lakes are increasingly gaining recognition on the world stage. The Riesling to Visit Passport celebrates the award winning Rieslings of the region. The passport allows wine enthusiasts to explore twenty-five participating wineries along Seneca Lake, enjoying a free flight of wine at each place along the way, most of which include samplings of Riesling. The cost is $18 plus tax per person. For more information or to purchase, click here.
Another event in April that offers a more intimate and educational, behind-the-scenes view into the world of Finger Lakes Wine is the Winemaker Wednesdays program sponsored by the Seneca Lake Wine Trail:
Winemaker Wednesdays | April 10
Targeting the most curious and passionate fans of wine, this custom winery experience is truly one of a kind. Each participating winery, fifteen total, has developed some kind of special event or activity that day. Some activities include cellar tours, tank samples, wine and food pairings, exclusive reserve wine tastings, and more, usually led by the owner, winemaker, or vineyard manager. Appointments are required. For more information on pricing and offerings at each winery, click here.
The earthiness and the medium body of a Cabernet Franc makes it a perfect pairing with a classic risotto with mushrooms. We recently enjoyed this 2010 from Heron Hill Winery on the west bank of Keuka Lake. The wine retails for $15 per bottle and you can purchase the ingredients for the dinner for less than $5 per serving. In our book, that is a perfect pairing!
The gourmet mushroom risotto recipe from AllRecipes.
6 cups chicken broth, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 pound white mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 shallots, diced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1. In a saucepan, warm the broth over low heat.
2. Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the mushrooms, and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Remove mushrooms and their liquid, and set aside.
3. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet, and stir in the shallots. Cook 1 minute. Add rice, stirring to coat with oil, about 2 minutes. When the rice has taken on a pale, golden color, pour in wine, stirring constantly until the wine is fully absorbed. Add 1/2 cup broth to the rice, and stir until the broth is absorbed. Continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring continuously, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente, about 15 to 20 minutes.
4. Remove from heat, and stir in mushrooms with their liquid, butter, chives, and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Did you know that the Finger Lakes is one of the premier Riesling producing regions in North America? Here is what James Molesworth, Senior Editor at Wine Spectator recently said about Rieslings from the Finger Lakes - “From dry to sweet versions, the Finger Lakes is slowly but steadily cementing its reputation as this country’s best source for Riesling.”
Are you a Riesling fan? Do you want to join Team Riesling? Simply post a tweet about Riesling using the hashtag #TeamRiesling and we will send you this cool little button.
Visiting Finger Lakes Wine Country in March? With any trip, there’s a lot to consider, especially around how to spend your time. Here’s a quick snap shot of March happenings to help you narrow down the list of possibilities – or perhaps add a few new ones.
March 8 | Cabin Fever (Wine & Beer Tasting) in Corning's Gaffer District
March 9 | 3rd Annual War Horse Brew Fest at Three Brothers Wineries & Estates
March 9,10,20,22,23,24,29 | Elmira Jackals Hockey at the First Arena
March 9-10 | Say Cheese! along the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail
March 12-13 | The Addams Family at the Clemens Center
March 13 | Winemaker Wednesdays along the Seneca Lake Wine Trail
March 16-17 | Cabin Fever Days at Swedish Hill
March 17 | FREE FunDay Sunday at Rockwell Museum of Western Art
March 21 | 2300° at The Corning Museum of Glass
March 22-24 | Cruisin’ The Tropics Weekend along the Seneca Lake Wine Trail
March 25 | Comedy Club 5 at the Clemens Center
March 30 | Preferred Pairings along the Seneca Lake Wine Trail
March 30 | “Spice it UP!” Wine Pairing Dinner at Glenora Wine Cellars
The Finger Lakes is a world-class wine producing region that specializes in aromatic white varieties like Riesling, Gewürztraminer… and Sparkling Wine!
|Bottles of Sparkling Wine aging in the cellars of Chateau Frank.
For the same reasons Rieslings thrive in the Finger Lakes – cool climate, limestone-chalk soil, and acidity balance – sparkling wines also flourish.
Winemaking techniques also play a role in the world-class taste of Finger Lakes sparkling wines. Many top producers make their sparkling wines from primarily Riesling, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir grapes. They also utilize the traditional methods of production, like méthode champenoise, where the carbon dioxide results from natural fermentation in a bottle. Some producers, like Chateau Frank, manually hand riddle each bottle – every day or two, the winemaker slightly shakes and turns each bottle, one at a time.
Enjoy shopping for sparkling wine from this sampling of producers:Glenora Wine Cellars Dr. Frank's Vinifera Wine Cellars Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars Swedish Hill Winery
Whisk your love away for a Valentine's Day retreat. Find romance-themed accommodation packages in Finger Lakes Wine Country. Rates start at $119. MORE >
Find recipes that use Sparkling Wine. MORE >
|Photo Credit: Bonnie Gustin|
Keuka Lake Wine Trail
The Keuka Lake Wine Trail may be small in numbers, but it offers a big, world-class experience. The seven member wineries surrounding the y-shaped lake are all award-winners with unique characteristics and personality. While in the tasting rooms, visitors will enjoy magnificent views paired with exquisite wines. Events such as Viva Italia!
in April, Keuka in Bloom
in May, and Harvest Celebration of Food and Wine
in September, celebrate the beauty and bounty of Finger Lakes Wine Country.
The Keuka Lake Wine Trail also celebrates the holiday season with Keuka Holidays in November. The Keuka Lakes Wine Trail Passport offers complimentary tastings and deals along the trail for just $12 plus tax. More information on the Keuka Lake Wine Trail events and touring can be found at www.keukawinetrail.com
Cayuga Lake Wine Trail
The first organized and longest running wine trail in the United States, the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail celebrates 30 years in 2013. The 16 members include award-winning wineries, in addition to a meadery, a cidery, and distilleries. Traveling the idyllic shores of Cayuga Lake offers visitors a diverse and delicious taste of Finger Lakes Wine Country.
Popular events include Mardi Gras Weekend
and Wine & Herb Festival
. Mardi Gras Weekend takes place in February and offers ticket holders an opportunity to escape the winter blues and indulge in delicious food and wine pairings while collecting colorful beads. Wine & Herb Festival in April is a unique event in which attendees receive herb plants to start their garden as they visit the wineries along picturesque Cayuga Lake.
The Cayuga Lake Wine Trail also offers the Vino Visa Coupon Book for just $15 plus tax and includes complimentary tastings and discounts at the winery gift shops. To celebrate 30 successful years, the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail will be offering a commemorative 30th anniversary glass with the purchase of a Vino Visa Coupon Book. In addition, on the 30th day of every month, the wineries along the trail will feature specials to celebrate their 30th year milestone. More information on the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail including their events and their yearlong anniversary celebration can be found at www.CayugaWineTrail.com
Seneca Lake Wine Trail
The Seneca Lake Wine Trail is the largest wine trail in the east with over 30 member wineries. This trail offers a wide range of winery experiences for everyone including weekends that celebrate pairing wine with different types of food like pasta
, and even grilled foods
. New this year is the Preferred Pairing Event Series
, a partnership with the Finger Lakes Cheese Trail
. Events take place the last Saturday of January, February, and March in 2013. Event-goers will enjoy an intimate cheese and wine pairing experience while touring beautiful Seneca Lake.
In addition to special wine and food pairing events, the Seneca Lake Wine Trail offers two passport programs. The Polar Passport
is $12 plus tax per person and is valid now through March 31, 2013 and the Riesling to Visit Passport
is $18 plus tax per person and is valid April 1, 2013 through July 31, 2013. Each passport offers visitors complimentary tasting at all the participating wineries. More information on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail events and touring can be found at www.SenecaLakeWine.com
Event tickets for each wine trail are available for purchase at your local Wegmans store in addition to the trail websites. For further information about visiting Finger Lakes Wine Country, visit www.FingerLakesWineCountry.com
Looking for a Farmer's Market near you? We have compiled a list of markets and locations that will be offering up the best produce for the upcoming fall season! Take a look!
Keuka Lake/Hammondsport/Bath Region
September 12th, 19th, 26th, and October 3rd
Branchport Farmers Market- Branchport Fire Pavilion 4:00-6:30PM
September 18th, 25th, and October 2nd
Hornell Farmers Market- Broadway Mall 9:00-6:00PM
September 14th, 21st, 28th, and October 5th
Seneca Lake/Watkins Glen Region
September 14th, and October 5th
Big Flats Farmers Market- Big Flats Municipal Campus 10:30-2:30PM
September 18th, and 25th
September 14th, 21st, 28th, and October 5th
Horseheads Farmers Market- Teal Park 10:00-2:00PM
September 15th, 22nd, and 29th
September 13th, 20th, and 27th
From Jazz to Folk, there is a little bit of something from everyone. Take a look at the music events that Finger Lakes Wine Country has to offer during the Fall season!
Tunes on the Terrace at Thirsty Owl
September 15th, 16th, 22nd, and 29th Americana Vineyards Concert Series
September 14th, 16th , 21st, 23rd, and 28thMusic on the Terrace at Heron Hill Winery
September 16th, and 23rdMusic at Ventosa Vineyards
September 12th, 19th, and 26thSix Mile Creek Vineyards Sunset Concert Series
September 13th, 20th, and 27thKings Ferry Winery Concert Series
September 14th OSFL Opening Concert and Celebration
Drumline Live at Clemens Center