My Top 3 Winery Picks on Seneca Lake

Red Tail Ridge Winery

Penn Yan, NY

Blogger disclaimer, I am a Wine Club member here!  Nestled off the road with an incredible hawk sculpture by the driveway inviting you in, these wines are some of the finest in the Finger Lakes.  The owners are originally from California and one of the reasons I loved this winery at first taste, is because their Pinot Noir is one of the best I have tasted from New York.  It reminds me of a Californian red (bigger bodied than most reds here in the Finger Lakes), but much more approachable.  In fact, all their reds here are top notch!  If we have an especially warm growing season, the reds are even more incredible (looking at you 2016 vintage!)  Also popular at this winery, their “Obscure Red Varietal Series,” which includes the likes of red varietals such as Teroldego (Italian varietal) and Dornfelder (German varietal).  A second favorite of mine here at the winery, is their dry rose.  But act fast- their dry rose sells out year after year!  Their Wine Club is affordable and unique, and Danielle (Tasting Room Manager) is forever coming up with cool events at the winery.  Some from the past have included a “Blend Your Own Wine” event and Library tastings.  Fun facts about the winery: they are very environmentally cautious and their building is LEED certified.  Also, the winery is dog friendly complete with grass for them to roam, doggie treats and water, and bags to pick up their “business.”

Notes to visitors: a tasting will run you about $5 and the tasting room is not open to buses or limos.

Hermann J. Wiemer

Dundee, NY

Hands down, Hermann J. Wiemer has the BEST Finger Lakes Riesling.  Dry, Semi-dry, Sweet; any style of Riesling you like, Hermann J. Wiemer has the best.  Although all their wines are impeccably made, their Riesling truly shines.  The Founder of this winery was from the famous wine region, Mosel, Germany.  Hermann, and his successors have truly been able to capture the quality shown in Germany’s best Rieslings right here in the Finger Lakes.  In fact, I’d motion that Finger Lakes Riesling is better than German Riesling!  Another favorite of mine here at the winery is their sparkling wines.  Fine bubbles and a smooth undertone, their sparkling wines are some of my favorite.  Don’t forget your camera when you visit this winery, the tasting room, barns and vineyards are gorgeous here!

Notes to visitors: a tasting will run you about $5 and the tasting room is not open to buses or limos.  In the summer you can purchase bottles of wine and sit on their patio and relax.

Billsboro Winery

Geneva, NY

A literal “hole in the wall”, you enter this tasting room through the basement of an old barn.  I’ll admit, I was skeptical when I went in for the first time, but then I tasted their wines.  The winemaker here is extremely talented!  One of the only Sauvignon Blanc’s offered at any Finger Lakes winery, Billsboro’s offering is beautifully crisp and acidic; similar in style to that of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.  Another unique offering at this winery is their Albarino; a Spanish white varietal that is also known for its’ crispness and acidity.  Perhaps my favorite here, is the Mousseux- a sparkling Riesling (note- most recent vintage is a Chardonnay, but I still prefer the Riesling version).  I have served it to many friends, and not one has been disappointed; it is a wine that can be enjoyed by dry or sweet wine drinkers.  But act fast, Mousseux almost always sells out quickly.  Equally as tasty as their white offerings are their red wines.  A perennial favorite in my house is their Cabernet-Syrah blend which is reminiscent of a Rhone styled red.   Beyond their incredible wine selection, Billsboro knows how to throw a party.  Do not miss their Pizza on the Patio series where you can enjoy a beautiful Finger Lakes summer evening on their patio with a bottle of their wine and wood fired pizza that is made on-site. 

Notes to visitors: a tasting will run you about $5 and the tasting room is not open to buses or limos.  In the summer you can purchase bottles of wine and sit on their patio and relax.  They also have charcuterie plates and sometimes chocolate available for wine pairings.

Do you have a favorite winery on Seneca Lake not mentioned here?  Shoot us a note so we can check it out and report back to the rest of the Finger Lakes Wine Lovers community!


2 thoughts on “My Top 3 Winery Picks on Seneca Lake

  1. YES! I LOVE Billsboro. Agreed – Pizza on the Patio is a must do in the FLX area. I loved buying a bottle and listening to local music. They typically take reservations in advance and end up with a wait-list.

    I also love Red Tail Ridge’s Good Karma wine. Think about it – Showing up to a friends house and literally bringing Good Karma… can’t go wrong there!

    Thanks for Sharing, Steph!


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