Today is National Wine Day, and while I’ll be trying to find new sparkling waters that satisfy my cravings for Champagne, you should go out and have a Finger Lakes wine! if you’re living in Rochester, this task can actually be a little daunting.
Sadly, many of the wine bars around here don’t carry local wine, and if they do it is usually a sweeter Riesling or dessert wine (reinforcing the incorrect assumption that the Finger Lakes doesn’t produce amazing dry wines…). To make matters worse, wine shops don’t always carry local wine, or don’t carry a diverse selection of them.
So… how do you find Finger Lakes wine to celebrate? Here’s some of the places I go for a Finger Lakes fix when I’m in Rochester. Do you know a great place? Share it in the comments!
Go to a Winery
Lucky for us, Colleen and Sebastian Hardy decided to create an urban winery right in downtown Rochester! Not only is it a cool location that serves local wine, they have cheese boards and chocolate flights if you want a little nibble. What better way to celebrate than drinking local wine in an actual winery! I suggest starting with their Chardonnay, either unoaked or barrel fermented depending on your taste (or maybe just do a flight and try them all).
Willing to drive a little further? Casa Larga is located in Fairport, and is about a 20 minute drive from Rochester.
Go to a Restaurant
This is probably the best restaurant in Rochester for Finger Lakes wine (though I’d love to hear if you’ve found one that serves more). Not only are they serving up wines from a number of different Finger Lakes wineries, they serve a range of white and red, dry and sweet. Some of my favorite wineries are served here, like Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard, Red Tail Ridge, Ravines, Dr. Konstantin Frank, Heart & Hands, and more! You can try them by the glass or by the bottle.
If you wander over to Fairport, Simply Crepes is serving up fabulous French food and features a local winery each month. In a fun coincidence, this month’s featured winery is Lamoreaux Landing, which I wrote about yesterday! They also do wine dinners with different local wineries that sound amazing.
If you’re willing to drive a little, you can also head out to the newly renamed New York Kitchen (previously the New York Wine and Culinary Center), Farmer’s Creekside, or Thai by Night, which are all about a 30-40 minute drive but have fantastic local wine.
Go to a Brewery
This is a little counter-intuitive, but local breweries don’t just promote the drinking of local beer, they also often serve local wine! Some have partnerships with specific wineries, whereas others serve a range of wine from the area. I’ve been known to be the odd one out drinking wine at a brewery simply because I was excited to drink local in Rochester!
Swiftwater Brewing serves Long Point Winery and Shalestone Vineyards.
Rohrbach Brewing serves Heron Hill Winery, Fox Run Vineyards, Inspire Moore, Sheldrake Point and Fulkerson Winery.
Go to a Wine Store
If you’re not up for a night out, you can always head to a wine store. For a great local selection, I’d suggest checking out Century Liquor and Wine in Pittsford. Check ahead on their website to see if they are doing any fun tastings. Sometimes, local winemakers will be on site to share their wine. They have over three full aisles dedicated to local wine, and if that seems overwhelming, their staff is very knowledgeable about the region and can help you pick something out.
If you’re willing to drive a little further, or if you happen to be out in that area, one of the best wine stores for local wine is Ryan’s Wine & Spirits in Canandaigua. Yeah, it is a bit of a hike to go to a wine store, but they have smaller producers and often get some rare bottles.
Where do you go in Rochester for local wine? Have I missed a hidden gem? Share in the comments!