Wine Travels — Finger Lakes

The Finger Lakes are full of wineries — some good and some not so.

A highlight was visiting Dr. Frank’s – which was a real treat. Dr. Frank was the pioneer (immigrant from Eastern Europe) who introduced European grape vines to the region in the 1880s. He overcame lots of skeptics and truly launched the wine industry in the Finger Lakes.

He and his winery have won many awards –including Gold Medals and the Wine Spectators Hall of Fame — you must experience this tasting! It is outstanding! His third generation family sustains his commitments.

When you arrive at the Dr. Frank’s winery (Hammondsport, NY) which overlooks the lake in a beautiful setting, you are greeted with signs that ask you to wait outside and line up – and then you are greeted by a winery host who handles your tasting from start to finish. This was well managed – instead of staged and farcical (Bully Hill) or assembly line (Wagner). This was informative and fun. We learned about Dr. Frank – and we also learned that Dr. Frank’s wines sell much better relabeled under the Salmon Hill brand. It’s the marketing not the wine. We brought home a whole box of Dr. Frank’s wine – including a dry rose and a Ratatsiteli — sounds like “cat on the tele” an eastern European (Ukraine and Armenian) grape that was an interesting experience!

There’s lots to see and do in the Finger Lakes — including Seneca Falls (known for the history of the Women’s Suffrage movement and the inspiration for the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” which is recreated each Christmas) and Skaneateles – a quaint town located at the top of Lake Skaneateles – full of interesting shops and a great place for shopping and a walk on the pier.

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