Cayuga Lake Wine Trail – Take One

In Reviews, Wineries by smilingvinesLeave a Comment


My good friend Judy had a birthday this weekend, and asked if TR and I would be interested in joining her, along with her very patient husband David (also our driver) for a wine tour and dinner to celebrate. I had to think about it for a minute (or less) …. OK, we’re in! We packed some snacks and headed out for Cayuga Lake to visit some tried & true wineries, along with a few new ones. In her usual fashion, Judy composed a list of “must go to” and “would like to go to” wineries, and we ended up tasting at a total of six wineries, one brewery, one distillery, and one combination winery/distillery. Needless to say, it was a very long day, but we stepped up to the challenge with no complaints!

Since there are too many places on this list to review fairly, I decided that I would dedicate this post to the new places that we visited. We will definitely return to the others a couple at a time, so that we have time to spend talking to the servers and getting a better sense of each place.

First on the list is Shepherdess Cellars, which is in Interlaken, on the west side of Cayuga Lake. They have a beautiful bar area, where we were greeted by one of the owners, Mark, along with their mascots, Maggie and Sam. For a $5 fee, we were treated to a tasty list of 6 wines, all of which we enjoyed. My favorites were the 2014 Gewurztraminer (there is also a 2015 on the list), and the 2014 Cab Franc. Listening to Mark talk about each wine as well as the winery’s history, it was easy to see the pride he had for all they’ve accomplished in the last few years. We will definitely revisit this one!

Our next “new to us” stop was Ports of New York in Ithaca. It’s a small winery/museum, where the owner/winemaker speaks about the history of The Bouché family’s winemaking business while he pours samples for the group gathered around a wine barrel/table. There are many interesting artifacts, including a “smuggling belt”, which can hold a gallon of wine. Frédéric speaks with an obvious love of his craft, which has been in his family since the early 1900s. I haven’t even mentioned that the wines were all delicious! If you’re in the Ithaca area, this is a must-see for anyone who enjoys the history behind the wine, as well as fine wine. Very friendly and fun.

Our last stop of the day was Chateau Dusseau Winery in Locke, NY. We arrived at this off-the-beaten-path winery about an hour before closing, to find the owners and customers laughing, drinking and enjoying live entertainment. Everyone was so welcoming, as if we were long-lost friends stopping by. We were greeted with smiles and a description of the winery and what they offered. I enjoyed their Cab Franc and their Seyval Blanc, but I truly think that their atmosphere and friendly spirit is what makes this place. We will definitely return and spend a little more time tasting and enjoying each wine.

We were so lucky to visit each of these new places on such a beautiful winter day. Hope you enjoy the photos. Let me know if you’ve visited any of these places yet and what your thoughts are. Keep smiling!

Learn more about:

Shepherdess Cellars

Chateau Dusseau

Ports of New York

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