Wine Tour Like a Pro

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. If you’re visiting the Canandaigua Lake Wine Trail, here’s how it’s done.

Pro Tip #1: Do Your Research

First, get familiar with the wineries on the trail. Finger Lakes wineries are known for amazing Riesling, but in recent years we’ve seen tremendous success with more classic European style wines. In fact, some wineries specialize in dry wines that can be much different than a 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.


Pro Tip #2: Think About Your Whole Group

Not everyone loves wine, and that’s fine by us. A wine trail tour is just as much about the experience, and spending time with friends and family, as it is about the high quality wines that you can taste. 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.

Pro Tip #3: Size Matters

It’s important to consider the size of each winery. Some wineries have very large tasting rooms, capable of accommodating large groups on a moments notice while 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, do the right thing and call ahead. 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 to do so.


Pro Tip #4: Map Your Route

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 Lake 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.

Pro Tip #5: Be Smart

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 getting a bite to eat along the way.

Pro Tip #6: Find Your Money Person

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.

Pro Tip #7: Start With Everything

Not sure where to start? Or what wines you might like? Consider visiting a wine center or including it on your itinerary! 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.

Pro Tip #7: Buy a Passport

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.

Andrew Knoblauch