Canandaigua’s Wine and Cider Trails

Is there any more heavenly idea for a cold winter day than curling up in front of a blazing fireplace, wrapped in a blanket, with a hot cup of spiced – and spiked – cider?

That’s how we spent part of our recent weekend in New York’s Finger Lakes – curled up in front of the amazing fireplace at the Chalet of Canandaigua, reading, sipping yummy things, and indulging in a little bit of time where we could just forget the world existed. It was truly an amazing getaway!

We ended up bringing the tastes of Canandaigua and the Finger Lakes back home with us as well, just for those moments when we want to be spirited away to those great memories through taste and smell.

And whether you’re looking for some great tastes in the Finger Lakes or just to have a little culinary getaway at home, here are some of our favorite options from the region. We hope you enjoy!

Our 4 Favorite Cider Tastings

1. Worthog Cidery & Meadery

This was by far our favorite, and we walked out of Worthog with a couple large bottles of different flavored ciders. It’s tasty without being overwhelmingly fruity, and the enormous tasting room offers you pretty generous samples for a low price. They’re also right next to a winery for tasting, and offer lots of local products in their store.

2. Blackduck Cidery

Blackduck Cidery lies between Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake, so it’s a little off the beaten path, but worth the trip. They predominantly offer apple cider and hard apple cider in different apple varieties, but they’re proud of adding minimal ingredients and no sugar, so you get a robust flavor without the sweet.

3. Bellwether Hard Cider and Wine Cellars

Bellwether offers a wide selection of ciders with distinctive tastes, but we recommend them almost solely on the basis of their Black Magic cider, a mixture of apple and black currant, served sparkling. It’s a perfect cider to serve hot or cold, and the flavors just speak of winter.

4. 1911 Tasting Room.

1911 offers a great sampling of cider – apple, raspberry, ginger, blueberry, and even grapefruit along with various apples – along with multiple other distillery products. They also offer an apple wine, and we’re trying to learn how that’s different from cider. The tasting room was a favorite both due to the barn ambiance and due to the great food their chef offered up!

If we’re missing any cideries around the Finger Lakes you think should be on this list, please let us know!

Our 6 Favorite Wine Tastings

1. Ravines Wine Cellars

The perfect place to start your Seneca Wine Trail adventures if you’re going that route. It’s just off the main road, Route 5/20, in Geneva, and interestingly enough specializes in white wines, though they have some great reds. Their kitchen is also worth investigating – we enjoyed a light lunch lunch along with our tasting there!

2. Glenora Wine Cellars

We paused at Glenora to both taste wines and grab lunch, both of which were delicious. They offered a variety of different local cheeses to taste along with and complement the wine, and we ended up walking out with a couple of those to take home with us as well – including a delicious strawberry gouda!

3. Serenity Vineyards

Another favorite on the Seneca Wine Trail, you might almost miss their tasting room off Route 14. They’ve been family owned and farming for their entire existence, and you’ll get that homey vibe as soon as you walk in. They serve a peppery and smoky Cabernet Franc that is definitely worth a taste.

4. Heron Hill Tasting Room

The tasting room overlooking Keuka Lake {they also have locations on Seneca and Canandaigua} offers a gorgeous view of the lake, a delicious assortment of wines, and a cafe that’s worth a stop. They’re a little pricier than the surrounding offerings, but you’re paying for beautiful ambiance along with your tasting.

5. Torrey Ridge Winery

Torrey Ridge offers another beautiful tasting room off Seneca Lake and a wide variety of wines along with meads, hard ciders, and blends, so you’re definitely going to find something you like. Along that line, their servers were the most helpful, getting an idea for your flavor profile and then helping you choose things you’d like.

6. Hazlitt’s Red Cat Cellars

Red Cat is both a fun tasting room and a fun wine with a story that thumbs its nose at the more staid and traditional winery community surrounding them. Let’s just say they pride themselves on crafting the original “hot tub wine.” But we’re more fans of their port and sherry, which we paired up with dessert at the end of our tasting trek.

Again, if we’re missing any wine recommendations you think should be on here, let us know and we’ll update our list!

Where do different tastes and smells spirit you away? Any favorite memories that you revisit in the kitchen?


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