Wondering how to visit a winery? Maybe you’re curious how to travel the wine trail, or visit wine country in general? If that’s the case, you’ve come to the right place!
Every wine region, wine trail, and winery is a little different, so it’s important to do a bit of planning before you take your trip (of course, something spontaneous can be just as fun!) If you’re thinking of visiting the Canandaigua Wine Trail, here’s how it’s done:
First, get familiar with the wineries on the trail. While the Finger Lakes wineries are known for amazing Riesling wines, in recent years Finger Lakes wineries have seen tremendous success with more classic European style wines as well. In fact, some wineries specialize in dry wines that can be much different than a classic, sweet Riesling. It’s important to get a feel for the wineries you’re thinking about visiting to know what kinds of wines they offer.
Tip! Some wineries also offer hard cider, or craft beer. If you’re traveling with someone who isn’t the biggest wine fan, or just wants some variety, consider those locations as good stops for you.
It’s also very important to consider the size of each winery. Some wineries have very large tasting rooms, capable of accommodating large groups on a moments notice, others have smaller tasting rooms that may not be able to fit a large group all at once. For that reason, if you are traveling with a group of 10 or more people most wineries ask that you call ahead of time to schedule a time for your group to be there. That means you’ll need to plan out how much time will be spent at each stop before moving along to the next one. If you have fewer than 10 people, while it’s always a good idea to call ahead so the tasting room staff is prepared to offer the best experience possible, but it’s not required that you do so.
Now, you’ve decided where you’ll go and, if need be, you’ve scheduled with the wineries. The next most important thing to consider is how to get there! The Canandaigua Wine Trail, like most wine trails, is a self guided wine trail. That means you are responsible for your own transportation. Perhaps someone in your travel party is kind enough to volunteer to play chauffeur for the day (you can thank them by purchasing some wine for them to enjoy safely later on!). Or, if no one wants to do the driving, consider hiring a ride for the afternoon. Check out our transportation page for some suggestions!
Once you’ve decided where to go, and how to get there, you’re pretty much ready to taste some great wines! But, before we wrap things up, here are some more Wine Tour Tips to make your visit the best it can be:
- Do your alcohol consumption math! The average “taste” of each wine is 1.5 ounces. A typical tasting consists of five to six wines on average, so you’ll consume 7.5 to 9 ounces of wine at each stop. One alcoholic beverage worth of wine is 5 ounces. That means you’re having almost two drinks worth of alcohol per winery! Be sure to pack water and snacks, or consider stopping at some of these locations for a bite to eat. It’s a great idea to schedule a lunch break sometime between wineries.
- If you’re traveling with a large group, have one person collect money from everyone to pay for a tasting before you get to the winery. Having one person pay for the whole group saves everyone a lot of time and energy.
- Not sure where to start? Or what wines you might like? Consider visiting a Wine Center, or including it on your itinerary! We have two conveniently located in Canandaigua, NY. The New York Wine and Culinary Center tasting room features wines from all over New York State, they also do beer, cider, and spirits tastings as well. The Finger Lakes Wine Center is located in Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion State Historic Site. Though open seasonally, you can find a wide variety of wines from across the Finger Lakes Region to sample here and help determine what your tastes are.
- Traveling with less than 8 people? Consider purchasing a Wine Trail Passport! The passport is a great way to save on tasting fees and to get additional discounts on any wine you purchase.