When you think about wine and the Finger Lakes, you may think of bright skies, blue lake waters, and beautiful lush vines. Although summertime is a wonderful time to visit local wineries, you should consider making a trip during the winter.

The wine trail peak season is from late August to November, and this is when visitors pack the wineries. This traffic times out with the harvest of grapes and when wineries give tours through their vines and show their wine-making process. 

What You Need To Know

  • Wintertime in the Finger Lakes is a great time to visit

  • Wineries notice less traffic in the winter, making for a unique experience

  • They produce ice wine in the winter

  • You can still enjoy all your favorite wines this time of year

Once the cold weather approaches and the vines start to fade, the wine-making process is very much underway. Wineries are still processing wine, bottling their product, and open to the public for tasting and buying.

The good news about winter in the Finger Lakes is the foot traffic slows. As a visitor, you have the opportunity to talk to the winemakers, learn more about their products, and experience the winery in a whole new way. 

Courtesy: AP/Heather Ainsworth

Ice wine is also in the works in the wintertime. The grapes on the vine freeze and are picked and pressed in that state to create ice wine.

Creating ice wine is a complex process, as very little fluid is extracted from the grape, so more grapes are needed to produce ice wine. When you press grapes in a frozen state, the residual sugar is higher, making a very sweet product.

You can buy this special wine but at a much higher price point. This ice wine is to be enjoyed as a dessert or added to pancakes or ice cream!  

Courtesy: AP/Darko Bandic

If you are starting to feel the winter blues and are looking for a fun day trip or a long weekend getaway, think about the Finger Lakes wine trails.

It is easy to overlook this time of the year as a great time to visit, but you can still find all of the wines you love, the same beautiful views, and an intimate experience at your favorite places!