Celebrating Wine and Family at Lakewood Vineyards

“This is the grape that made me fall in love with my husband. You have to try it… for love.” This quote from Erin McMurrough, marketing and sales manager at Lakewood and spouse of vineyard manager Dave Stamp, does an accurate job of summing up what I love about Lakewood Vineyards; they are passionate about their wine and dedicated to their family, and the two things are intimately intertwined.

This passion is clear when you try their wines- they are clean expressions of the grape and vintage. What I also love is that there is something for everyone, from dry tannic reds to sweet sparkling wine in cans! This makes it a great winery to bring friends to, you know everyone will be able to find something they enjoy.

About Lakewood Vineyards

In 1951 the Stamp Family began growing grapes on Seneca Lake, and since then they’ve been an important part of the region. Monty Stamp, the patriarch of the family, was one of the founding members of the New York State Wine Grape Growers, and he ensured that the vineyard was actively involved in New York Wine and Grape Foundation and the Seneca Lake Wine Trail from the beginning. The family carries on his legacy by being advocates not just for their winery, but for the region.

In 1989, when Lakewood Vineyards officially opened its tasting room, they were producing 5,000 gallons of wine and had 45 acres of grapes. Now, they produce 100,000 gallons and have 80 acres of wine, and the winery is constantly expanding to keep up with the demand. Despite this growth, they are still family-run, with three generations of the Stamp Family actively working at the winery, doing everything from managing the vineyard to making the wine and selling it.

If you’re interested in learning more about the winery and winemaker Chris Stamp, I suggest checking out the interview I did with him on The Vintner Project.

Tasting at Lakewood Vineyards

Before you even arrive at Lakewood Vineyards, you need to make a decision about what type of tasting you want to do: you can pick from their Guided Tour & Tasting, Cellar Tour, or the Signature (the latter is what you’ll receive if you just walk into the winery, whereas the other two require an appointment). I suggest the Guided Tour & Tasting!

We started our tasting with one of their top wines, the 2017 Chardonnay aged in New York oak barrels. It has a surprisingly tropical nose, with hints of coconut, melon, yellow apple, and pineapple. On the palate it has more bright notes of green apple with an acidic pop that balances out the buttery mouthfeel. It’s a lovely balanced Chardonnay that has enough oak for those who like it, but wouldn’t be overpowering for those who do not.

Another classic, and winemaker Chris’s favorite, is the 2017 Dry Riesling. It has a nose of nectarine, citrus rind, slate, and floral notes. When sipped it has a lovely acidic pop of lemon and lime curd, and a clean finish that leaves you wanting more.

Next is the wine that Erin asked me to try “for love”, the 2017
Gewürztraminer
. It started with restrained peach and apricot on the nose, with great spice and floral notes finishing it out. On the palate it is very floral and white peach, with a full body but balanced by a spicy white pepper finish and medium acidity.

We moved on to reds from there, and sampled my personal favorite, the 2017 Lemberger. The nose is full of jammy berries, plum, baking spices and a hint of meatiness. When sipped it has bright raspberry notes, a cherry acidity, and a chewy leathery finish that lingers. You should also try the 2017 Cabernet Franc with a nose of cherry, leather, and green pepper- it’s divine.

To finish, the Bubbly Candeo, a force carbonated sparkling wine made from native Cayuga White grapes. It has a lovely grape and apple nose, with citrusy acidity on the palate and fun delicate bubbles with a hint of sweetness.

Visiting Lakewood

Hours:  Monday through Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Sunday: 12:00pm to 5:00 p.m. However if you’re doing a special tasting there are more limited hours; see website for details.

Tasting Fees: $4 for the signature tasting, which is refunded if you buy two bottles of wine. For the guided tour it is $10, and the cellar tour it is $5.

Group Tastings: They definitely have the space for groups, and can handle those up to 12 without reservations for their signature tastings. Groups of 8 or less can do the guided tastings. 12 or more and you’ll want to book in advance or do the cellar tasting.

Wine Prices: Prices range from $9 for the Long Stem White or Abbey Rose wines to $30 for their Blanc de Noir.

We purchased a couple bottles of Chardonnay ($15), Lemberger ($18), Cabernet Franc ($18), and the Sparkling Candeo ($13). If you get a case, you get a 15% discount that makes these even more affordable and perfect for drinking at any occasion. A

Tips for Visiting:

  • Buy two bottles and you don’t pay a tasting fee: You’re probably going to want to buy something anyway, so this is just a bonus!
  • Make a reservation: If you want a unique experience, do the guided tour and tasting- they have an impressive winery and cellar, and it’s nice to have a one on one tasting.
  • Check the event calendar: Lakewood is actively involved in the wine trail events, so check the calendar to see if they are doing one- either go that weekend to enjoy the event, or skip it if you’re not into crowds.

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