Yet another of the wine tasting stops on the winery trail around Keuka Lake.
This one is a small family-owned and operated (the Barretts) vineyard. They have a few of their local wines for tasting (Chardonnay, Reisling, Cabernet, Merlot) and some wines from imported grapes (Chambourcin, Vidal, and Rougeon).
The host/hostess for the tasting are family members who will tour the property with you and show you their great view of Keuka Lake. They also have taken an old Victorian home and rennovated it into a nice bed-and-breakfast that they will show to you too.
The whole trip is about 40 minutes to an hour (depending if your wife is as talkative as mine is) and it is a change from the commercial wine tasting spots on the winery trail.
This is a lovely chateau environment on the vineyard hills above Seneca Lake.
From May to November the tasting room is open to the public (see website below for times).
Some of the wines that are served are: Brut Sparkling, Cayuga, Chardonnay, Cabernet, Merlot, Riesling, Sauvignon, Syrah, Seyval.
The tasting room is large and opens out to a view over Seneca Lake. They tell you the things to look for in a wine (color, blush, sediment) and what it should taste and smell like; they show the techniques for tasting, then start pouring. You fill out a little questionaire on how you like each of the wines.
(be sure to only swallow small amounts of each wine or you won't last through the dozen different samples).
When you are done sampling, the door leads to the gift shop where you can get whole bottles of what you like as well as teeshirts and souveniers and wine-oriented gifts.
This place is very busy during the wine tour season in the fall, so you may want to call ahead to see if there are any restrictions to your visit.
Seneca Lake is known locally as being quite moody and it has the ability to almost appear angry at times. It sometimes has whitecaps and other times it can be clear as glass. During the winter months a strange phenomenon occurs known as lake fog. A fog bank 100 or so feet high towers over the lake in the mornings a sight not to be missed. You can rent boats jet skis and canoes at the Marina in Watkins Glen and there are numerous parks with fishing and swimming access. Due to its depth and unpredictability we would personally only recommend swimming where there are lifeguards. Clute park in Watkins Glen and Seneca Lake Park are a few favorite spots. Also Watkins Glen is the home of Captain Bills Seneca Lake Cruises which runs a tourboat and larger dinner boat cruises all summer long.