A Fun Surprise in Our Backyard: JD Wine Cellars

Whenever I think of Long Acre Farms, I think of their Amazing Maize Maze. It was one of those rituals you had to do in high school- driving out with your friends (no parents) to the maze, trying to finish it as fast as possible, giggling as you cut through the walls of the maze to get out faster. Needless to say, it isn’t a place I thought about for wine… until now!

We were invited by the ROC/FLX Craft Beverage Trail to explore a few of their wineries and breweries, and I jumped at the chance to visit Long Acre Farms once again, the home of JD Wine Cellars. Not only is it just 15 minutes from our house, they have a canned wine I’d been itching to try.

So we packed up the kid, popped in the car, and drove just a few miles down the road to JD Wine Cellars.

About JD Wine Cellars

JD Wine Cellars is part of Long Acre Farms, a 4th generation family farm that started in the 1920s. The first two generations of the family focused solely on farming and milk production; but the third decided to diversify by opening up a small road side stand to sell their produce locally. The farm stand did so well, they expanded it to be a full market, built first ina 1993. Now, when you visit the farm you can do tours, explore the playground, shop for gifts, eat homemade pizza from their wood fired oven, and explore the maze. They also have various events throughout the summer and fall featuring food, entertainment, and fun. Now, the 4th generation is helping to expand the farm’s offerings and improve the experience.

In 2010, they established JD Wine Cellars, with family at the helm producing and selling the wine. The winery uses primarily vinifera grapes from the Finger Lakes, although a few of their wines are made with local fruit and their estate grown Marquette grapes.

Oh, did I mention they do an adult scavenger hunts where you get to find wine?! Yeah, I’ll be back for that.

Tasting at JD Wine Cellars

We were lucky enough to have fourth generation family member Sarah giving us a tasting, so we were able to get the scoop on all the wines and what’s happening at the winery. Since the winery has limited hours, we made sure to have an appointment to do a tasting. For $5 you can sample five of their wines, so we decided to mix it up and each do different tastings so we could try almost everything.

I had to start with their 2017 Cabernet Franc. It has bright notes of tart cherry, wild raspberry, leather and black pepper, with a fun herbaceousness. On the palate it has loads of cherry acidity and peppery tannin that makes it a great red (especially for the price!)

Next we had their 2017 Dry Riesling that exploded with tangerine and peach notes, but was balanced by a bright citrusy acid. I was left with a fun peachy mouthfeel.

We were super curious about their canned wines, so we tried the aptly labeled White Wine, a semi-dry blend of Traminette and Cayuga White. The nose is full of yellow apple, tangerine, peach, as well as hints of grape and herbs. All of these fruit notes continue on the palate, but take on a more candied type of taste that is balanced by a green apple Jolly Rancher sweetness and acidity. This is going to be an amazing wine to drink in the hot summer sun on a boat.

We had to try their only estate grown wine, the 2016 Rambling Rose made from Marquette grapes. The nose is a fascinating mix of strawberry leaf, raspberry, and fresh green herbs, that is balanced by a creaminess that continues on the palate. When you sip it, there are surprising notes of lime and citrus. This fascinating wine is also available in cans.

We decided to end with some fruit wines, and did a side by side comparison of 2016 Blue Note, their oaked dry blueberry wine, and the 2016 Rhythm & Bluesberry, the semi-sweet blueberry wine. Wow. You’d never know they came from the same fruit. The oaked blueberry smells like a Merlot, with notes of blueberry chocolate scones with its hints of vanilla and baking spice. The unoaked blueberry? It tastes like jam.

Visiting JD Wine Cellars

Hours:  Hours are variable by season and you can always book an appointment if you don’t see availability, but in general:

  • In April, September and October they are open Sunday through Thursday 12 to 5 p.m., and Friday and Saturday 12 to 7 p.m.
  • From May through August they are open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • From November through December they are open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Tasting Fees: $5 for 5 wines

Group Tastings: They don’t have a group policy (though if you’re a group of 8 or more I would probably call ahead), but they do offer custom tastings for larger groups if you’re looking to host a party!

Wine Prices: Prices range from $8 for their cans of wine to $18.95 for their Trilogy red blend, and most are around the $10-15 range.

We bought one of each of the canned wines and a Cab Franc.

Amenities: During the summer they have tons of amenities because they are part of the farm; pizza, beer, activities for the kids, music, ice cream and more! During the winter it is a little more limited, but it’s a great time to go if you want a more one on one experience.

Tips for Visiting:

  • A can of wine is a half bottle: Maybe I should repeat that. One can = one half bottle of wine. So don’t drink the can like it’s beer.
  • Visit in different seasons: we love visiting in the summer when you can run around and enjoy the activities and we’ll definitely be back next summer for the pizza and music; but it was also fun going in the winter when we could get one on one attention at the winery and enjoy the quiet.
  • Try the fruit wine: Fruit wine gets a bad rap as being just totally sweet, like liquid jam. That isn’t true here- yes, they are a little sweeter, but they are well-balanced and the oaked blueberry wine is totally dry and so much fun.

Not sure you can make it out to the winery? They’ll be at the ROC/FLX Craft Beverage Festival on March 29! See you there!

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