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June 19, 2007

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If visitors to the Finger lakes Region want to add a bit of physical activity to their wine tasting tours, they should check out Footprint Press Recreation Guidebooks at www.footprintpress.com. "200 Waterfalls in Central & Western NY" would lead them on a waterfall finding expedition. Or, "Cobblestone Quest" has driving tours to see unique cobblestone buildings in the region. Footprint Press specializes in the Finger Lakes Region with guidebooks on where to hike, bike, ski, backpack, find waterfalls, bird watch, paddle, etc.

Great info, thanks for the details. Any restaurant recommendations? Also, do you know of any books or resources on the history of the wine industry in the area...I understand that before prohibition NY produced more wine than any other state. I'm curious to what varietals were grown back then.

Thanks for a great profile of the Fingerlakes. I am looking forward to visiting Dr. Frank's this weekend, as I will be in the area visiting family.
If I could add two suggestions:

1. Be safe. Designate a driver and bring a cooler full of water and snacks. After you eat your snacks, you'll have room in the cooler to store your wines so they won't boil in the trunk.

2. If there are any aspiring photographers, please bring your camera! A vineyard with a Fingerlake in the background is a wonderful shot. Office supply stores carry blank notecards that can be personalized with photo reprints. What a creative gift for a family member or yourself!
Kathleen
Albany, NY

Wine and Stories from the Vineyard blog - http://www.myspace.com/gamay

DB,

I am not aware of a specific book, but I keep looking. A lot of what I have gathered is from local historical knowledge and smaller publications.

From what I do know, a lot of NY's earliest grape growing efforts were centered around Keuka Lake and the village of Hammondsport. From there, early sparklers were made out of Catawba, which is an American grape that seems to not have the sweet, muddled taste of the others. The Pleasant Valley Wine Company of Hammondsport actually made some Catawba in the 1860s that placed well in competitions in Paris!

Before prohibition, the slopes of Keuka Lake were teeming with family-owned vineyards. The photographs of these tilled slopes really are amazing. I'm not sure how the varietals broke down, but I imagine that in this age that wine based from American grapes were considered the only wine available to many.

The industry bascially died during the 1920s, kept barely alive by a few companies that made sacramental wine and juice. There are a couple of fun stories about self-proclaimed ministers in the Finger Lakes area who kept their own vineyards going and invited locals over for a "religious service" which involved lots and lots of blessed wine.

And, yes, the rest of the story involved California's emergence post-prohibition and New York sinking into the jug wine phase until Dr. Frank and others got the vinifera thing going.

Sue / Kathleen,

A great resource and guidebook for Finger Lakes winery-going is "Wine Tour of the Finger Lakes" by Grady Wells. Check out www.finger-lakes-wine.com and is also available from McBooks Press in Ithaca

This spring/summer in the FL has been the sunniest and most beautiful in many, many years.

Some more great info Jason -- thanks again!

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