Frequently Asked Questions

Over the past 30 years we have received many, many great questions from our fans. Below are answers to some of the more common questions. If you don’t see an answer to your question below, please call our office during regular business hours and we’ll do our best to assist you further: 877-536-2717.

Selling Wine Trail Event Tickets

Sometimes, particularly with our popular Deck The Halls Weekend events, people purchase non-refundable tickets and later realize for some reason that they will be unable to attend the event and therefore hope to sell their tickets for face value to recoup their money. This process is fairly straightforward. The most important thing to know is that only ONE name can be associated with a ticket order, and an order cannot be “broken” apart into separate orders. The second important thing to know is that the Trail does not handle money when one person is hoping to sell one or more of their tickets: the buyer will send money to the seller by whatever means they both agree upon. If the seller is selling ALL the tickets purchased in their order to one other person, this process is quite simple. If the seller wants to only sell one or some of the tickets from their order it is a little more complicated, but still very feasible. Buyers and sellers can meet and negotiate the terms of the transaction via our fan page on Facebook. Tickets should never be sold for more than the retail cost (scalped). Please remember that the starting winery associated with a ticket order cannot be altered.

“How do I connect with buyers or sellers?”
Go to our fan page on Facebook (, “Like” the page, and under the “Status” post your message. For example “I hope to sell my Couples ticket to the November Deck the Halls event. Please private message me for details.” Or, conversely, “I’m hoping to buy a Single person ticket to Spring Wine & Cheese Weekend. Please private message me for details.” See the highlighted area in the image below which clarifies specifically where you should post that public message.

“How do I sell all of my tickets I originally purchased in an order?”
This process is the simpler of the two options. Once you have sold your tickets, obtain the buyer’s name (just one name, the main buyer) as it appears on their driver’s license, and their email address. Then call the Seneca Lake Wine Trail (877-536-2717) at least a week before the event itself, and we can transfer those tickets from your name, to the buyer’s name, and will then send a confirmation email to the buyer so they can be assured the transaction took place.

“How do I sell only one or a few of the total tickets in my original order?”
This is a little more complicated, but very doable. Unfortunately there can be only ONE name assigned to a given order, and we cannot “break” orders apart into separate orders. Therefore in this case, the seller will still be the person that will pick up their ordered tickets at their chosen starting winery, and can arrange to meet the buyer at a designated winery (ideally the starting winery) so the seller can hand the buyer their ticket(s). In this era of cell phones, making these arrangements is fairly simple.

“What happens if I don’t use Facebook?”
Unfortunately the only practical way for sellers to meet buyers is via Facebook: the Trail does not keep track of that information. Fortunately Facebook is remarkably popular, and it is likely that even if you personally don’t use Facebook, you probably have a reliable friend or family member who does, and they can act on your behalf to post the appropriate message.

If you’re still not sure how this process works, whether you are the seller or the prospective buyer, please call our office during regular business so we can explain it to you further over the phone: 877-536-2717.

Can I Use Uber, Lyft or Other Rideshare Applications?

While in the summer of 2017 New York State authorized at least Uber and Lyft to begin operating throughout all of NY, deployment of those services in our bucolic, rural region has not been perfect. We support any business that enables visitors to more safely enjoy wine sampling at our various member wineries, but we are also obligated to warn you that as of the summer of 2018 at least, it appears there is not the large number of authorized drivers in our region, and not nearly as many drivers as residents of larger cities enjoy. This means that at noon near the city of Geneva on a Saturday in August you may find many drivers, and have a seamless experience: that is a popular day and time of year, and there are probably relatively many drivers looking for riders. Conversely, we have received reports of people having to wait an hour or more for a driver to pick them up on a weekday evening in one of the smaller towns around our long lake. If you have any questions about this, please don’t hesitate to call our office during regular business hours at 877-536-2717. And in the meantime, for a list of qualified, regional transportation providers please visit our page here:

When are the wineries usually open?

Our member wineries are all independently owned and operated, and as such they maintain their own business hours, with many wineries’ operating hours not always being the same during the summer/fall season, as they are the winter season. The information below is generally accurate, but if there is a particular winery you want to visit, especially if it is mid-week during the winter months, you are always advised to call that winery directly to confirm their operating hours on the specific date and time you want to visit them. For winery contact information, please visit this page. Many of our wineries, especially the larger ones, are open 360+ days per year. Smaller wineries are sometimes closed weekdays, or are maybe closed MondayThursday, during the colder winter months. Virtually all of our wineries, however, are open every weekend all year round. Many of our wineries are also open during holidays, such as Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, etc. However, most of our wineries are closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Years Day. For a more complete listing of which wineries are likely open on which specific holidays, click on the FAQ below titled “Winery Holiday Hours”. Most wineries tend to open around 10am-11am weekdays and Saturdays, and close between 5-6pm. Most wineries tend to open closer to noon on Sundays, and then usually close near 5pm. Some wineries might stay open until 8pm or even 9pm, though there are few that have extended operating hours like that. With almost all of our wineries being family owned and operated, it is necessary for them to maintain more fluid operating hours than some businesses might enjoy, and therefore we always encourage you to contact a given winery directly that you know you want to visit on a given day and time to make sure they will be open. Our busier season, when most wineries are open 7 days/week, is from around Memorial Day in late May through Columbus Day in early October.

What can I do if the event is sold out?

Periodically our events, particularly our Deck the Hall Weekend events, sell out. Generally speaking this is because our member wineries cap the number of tickets available, because they do not want too many people to attend a particular event and result in over-crowded tasting rooms, and an unpleasant experience for everybody. Once an event has sold out, that means neither the Seneca Lake Wine Trail offices, nor our member wineries, have any tickets left to sell. When we state that we are sold out, we mean that literally. However, sometimes a person will realize that after buying their tickets months ago, they now cannot attend the event. In those cases, since our tickets are not refundable, we recommend they visit our fan page on Facebook and post in the Visitor Posts column on the left side of the page (see the sample image to the right, with the pertinent area highlighted in yellow) their desire to sell their tickets for face value. Posting a message like “I have a couples ticket to the November Deck the Halls Weekend I’m hoping to sell for face value. Private message me if you’re interested!” Likewise we recommend that people who want to purchase tickets in this way also post a message like “I’m hoping to buy a pair of tickets for Smokin’ Summer Kickoff. Private message me if you have a pair to sell!” There are some minor logistical complexities, but this system has worked quite well the past several years, with many people successfully buying and selling tickets. Tickets should never be bought or sold for more money than was originally paid for them: we frown on ticket scalpers. You can visit our fan page here:

And rest assured, even if you are unable to purchase tickets to one of our events, you are always still welcome to visit the wineries, and enjoy wine tastings as you usually would during an event weekend even if you are not a ticketed participant.

To stay up to date on our events, and be notified when they are close to selling out, please make sure to Like our fan page on Facebook and sign up for our email newsletter by clicking here: We do our best to warn our fans on both Facebook and via email whenever an event is close to selling out. And, you can be assured that we do not give your contact information to anybody else, and we will only send you 6-10 emails per year, so you needn’t worry about us sending you an excess of email messages.

Tips for a Great Winery Experience

The following are just some of the helpful tips to make sure you, your companions and fellow tasting room visitors all have a terrific time visiting our member wineries.

Don’t wear strong scents. While both genders enjoy wearing colognes, perfumes and various scented oils, strong scents can ruin the tasting experience for everyone nearby, and hinder your ability to taste various wines accurately.

Sweet wine is not “training wheels” wine. You may eschew sweeter wines, and that is certainly your prerogative, but just because a person enjoys sweeter wines does not mean their palate is immature. The best wine is the wine you like best.

Go ahead and swallow. You’re not required to spit a wine sample out. If you’re enjoying the sample, and want to consume, then of course you should do so with gusto!

Spitting the wine out is OK too. Especially if you’re visiting many wineries in one day, it will be best to spit at least some of our samples in the ubiquitous spit bucket. Excessive consumption of course entails many risks, including you potentially buying a case of wine when you’re overly buzzed, and later regretting the purchase, because you did so when your palate was fried, and your decision-making skills compromised.

And dumping a sample out is also OK. For many of us it feels fundamentally wrong to pour out a beautiful sample wine, but doing so is ok. It won’t insult winery staff, not even the winemaker, and is simply part of the process of tasting and exploring a wide variety of wine types on a tasting day.

Keep an open mind. Set aside existing preferences and give each sample of wine a try, before dismissing it. The same grape whether from the same or different region, can result in a very different style of wine. You may agree with the infamous movie “Sidewise”, and claim to detest Merlot, but you never know when you might stumble upon one that is very different, and enjoyable, for your palate. Likewise, people who dislike either sweet or dry wines, might find a wine they would typically dismiss still enjoyable, given all the other attributes of the wine, like acidity.

Please buy wine. Many of our member wineries depend largely, or even fully, on sales of wine from their tasting room. The cost of running a tasting room, growing and maintaining acres of costly vines, and a host of other expenses means the wineries have to sell wine to visitors like yourself. When you purchase a bottle or case or more of wine, you’re literally enabling the person on the other side of the tasting bar pay their mortgage and put food on the table.

Don’t haggle. Negotiating price is common in domestic car sales shops, but not in the craft beverage industry.

Tipping your server? While each winery has their own attitude regarding tipping, and it is by no means required, most are amenable to it, especially if your server was exceptional.

Purchasing Used Wine Barrels

The best place to seek out used wine barrels for sales is through a website maintained by Cornell Cooperative Extension: At that site you should be able to review postings from people in our industry of items for sale, as well as post an ad yourself expressing your interest in purchasing barrels. Likewise, prominent general sales sites like and may have barrels listed for sale periodically. Effective July 2017, J.R. Dill Winery has begun offering sturdy used wine barrels for sale consistently, and you’re encouraged to contact that winery for pricing and any other questions.

While you are also encouraged to reach out directly to the wineries, whether by email, phone or in person, you should prepare yourself to reach out to many wineries, potentially multiple times, before you will likely find used barrels. In the past, used barrels were more commonly available for a reasonable price. With the growth of our regional industry, however, more businesses (like distilleries and creative woodworkers like Staving Artist Woodworks) buy them up as they become available.

Tripadvisor on SLWT

The Seneca Lake Wine Trail recently received an official Certificate of Excellence from the renowned site TripAdvisor assuring us that with our consistently excellent ratings, we’ve “earned a place among the very best.” Of course what this really reminds potential visitors is that our member wineries are collectively committed to provide superb customer service, and an excellent experience to all their shared customers.  If you’ve visited our member wineries recently, or perhaps attended one of our many wine and food pairing weekend events, we encourage you to submit your feedback by clicking here.

Wineries Going Green

Wineries are many things- laboratory, social hub, gallery, tasting room and more- but for most of our member wineries they’re first and foremost farms. A highly specialized farm, granted, but one led by a farmer who typically has a very keen personal and professional interest in the health of the environment. Whenever possible, wineries will always strive to make smart business choices that help protect our delicate environment, knowing that if their winery’s terroir changes radically, it could dramatically impact their business. Many of our member wineries maintain a sizeable mulch pile, the product of which is used to naturally keep weeds at bay in the vineyards, while helping recharge the soil, for example. The following wineries are some of the first in our region to take additional steps beyond the many basic, best practices used by virtually all our member wineries. If one of our member wineries listed on this site has deployed new hardware or behavior that should be added to this list, please email the Trail’s executive director here.  This list was initially compiled in the second half of 2012.

White Springs– Tend to use laminated tasting notes that can be re-used, thereby wasting far less paper. For those wanting to take notes, who left their notebook at home, the winery will certainly furnish note paper on request.

Fox Run– Many decisions made at the winery revolve around the fundamental question of whether a given practice or technology being considered will even potentially harm the nearby lake. Some of their pomace is used in Finger Lakes Grape Seed Oil.

Seneca Shore– CFC lights are used throughout both the production facility and attached tasting room. A high efficiency, commercial grade wood stove was installed, largely powered by fallen wood recovered from the vineyard, and enabling the winery to use instant-on super hot water in place of potentially harsh cleaning chemicals.

Anthony Road– Uses only biodegradable tasting cups at all outside tasting events. Some of their pomace is used in Finger Lakes Grape Seed Oil.   The Vineyard Manager follows the official NYS Vine Balance Program.  Lastly, this winery strives to use eco-friendly glass for bottling as many of their wines as possible.

Miles – Their warehouse is temperature controlled completely with geothermal energy. Concrete piers were installed 4 feet deep into the ground with a poured concrete floor to cover them. The walls/ceiling have also been super insulated, and the result is a wine warehouse that is 40 degrees year round with no energy costs or resulting pollution added to the environment. It is one of the reasons this winery is able to successfully bottle age their reds. Also, their grapes are sustainably grown with as few chemicals as possible.

Fruit Yard– Blown soy insulation was used to insulate the walls of this tasting room, with a portion exposed through plexiglass in the wall nearest the parking lot. Highly efficient radiant heat system deployed in the floor.

Glenora– “Green” labels, with no trees chopped down to create all their labels.

Fulkerson– Participate in New York State Electric & Gas programs to help use less energy, including deployment of LED lights in all their facilities.

Lakewood– Aside from their aggressive composting and recycling programs, Lakewood also recently deployed a massive (almost 4,000 square feet, maxing out at 47 kw) solar array on the roof of their production facility. Some of their pomace is used in Finger Lakes Grape Seed Oil.

Castel Grisch– Thorough recycling program including bottle shipping cartons made from recycled cardboard, with recycled glass used in wine bottles and glass stemware for tasting room sampling. Their Deck the Halls Weekend ornaments are all made from used corks, with the office using recycled toners in their printers. All wines are vegan and are made as organically as possible.

J.R. Dill– Wine bottled in eco-friendly bottles.

Atwater – This progressive winery has begun planting more winter crops, opting to avoid using paper label by silkscreening their labels onto each bottle using eco-friendly inks and consistently recycling all paper used in both the tasting room and offices.

Penguin Bay – One of the first sizeable solar panels on our Trail, 13.5 kw, was installed on this winery’s roof. They utilize the Cornell University Workbook for Sustainable Winegrowing. They use lightweight eco-glass in many of their bottles, meaning less material used, and less energy required to move the bottles. Much of their pomace is used in Finger Lakes Grape Seed Oil.

Lamoreaux– This winery has such an extensive, ever improving program, it is best to read about their environmental philosophy and tactics on their site;

Zugibe– Utilizes a newer sprayer that more efficiently distributes the product, thereby enabling less to be used.

Three Brothers – About 80% of their facility is both heated and cooled using a geothermal system, with coils in Bagg Dare Pond. Utilize more etched labeling on some of their wines thus eliminating paper labels. Much of their pomace is used in Finger Lakes Grape Seed Oil.   Have changed over all of their lighting to high-efficiency bulbs, decreasing their energy output in all of their buildings immensely. Utilize recyclable mini-bottles made from recycled materials. Provide customers the opportunity to taste wine from a take-home wine glass, thereby diminishing their use of plastics.

Ventosa– Some of their pomace is used in Finger Lakes Grape Seed Oil.

Gluten In Wine

Recently a customer, coordinating a bachelorette party, called on behalf of the bride-to-be, who has an allergy to gluten, asking if there is gluten in wine. The short answer is that wine is generally gluten free. Gluten is a protein composite typically found in foods processed from wheat or related grain species, including barley, rye and probably others, but not found in grapes. Beer, for example, would not be a good beverage for somebody with this allergy to consume. Gluten could be used for wine fining (a process whereby a protein- typically egg whites- are allowed to drift through the wine, clinging to unwanted particles which then settle to the bottom and are left behind) but gluten is virtually never used in our regional industry for that process. Furthermore there are instances where a flour-based paste could be used to help seal barrels shut, but this process is also virtually unheard of in our regional industry.

As is the case with any serious allergy condition, it is always best to query the manufacturer (winery) directly before consuming a given product. However, you can confidently visit our wineries without significant fear of our fine wines having enough parts per million (ppm) of gluten to be dangerous.

Kosher Wine

The production of Kosher wines is not common in the Finger Lakes Region. Effective mid-2018, we are only aware of two wineries in the whole state that bottle Kosher wine, and neither are on Seneca Lake: Royal Kedem Winery and Manischewitz Wine Company in Canandaigua NY, and both purportedly make a Kosher wine. Red Jacket Orchards, based in Geneva NY, bottles a wide variety of Kosher fruit juices, including grape juice. While we cannot confirm the usefulness of this website, the page appears to be a good listing of retail outlets (liquor/wine stores) in the US that tend to stock Kosher wines, and they may be able to help you find a winery near you that also makes Kosher wines:

Sulfites In Wine

Virtually all wine, both red and white, have at least minuscule amounts of naturally occurring sulfites in them. Oftentimes winemakers will also add a very small amount of sulfites as part of the winemaking process, though the amounts used are considerably smaller than the sulfites present in common foods like dried fruit and french fries, to name a few. If you are one of the 0.4% of the population that is allergic to sulfites, it is best that you call the winery you intend on visiting prior to your visit to ask them about their specific usage of sulfites in the different wines they create. For more information on this topic please click here, or here.

Winery Holiday Hours

Our member wineries, contrary to popular belief are almost always open, throughout the year, even in the dead of winter. This was not always true, and only a couple decades ago many wineries would close their tasting rooms during the proverbial off-season. With the spectacular growth of our regional wine industry, however, an overwhelming majority of our member wineries are open literally year-round. Likewise, most of them are open on Sundays, and during many national holidays, knowing full well that if many customers have a day off of work, there’s a good chance they’ll want to swing by and visit a winery. That said, wineries do still close for a handful of holidays, with details varying from winery to winery. If you plan on visiting one or more of our wineries during one of these holidays, it is always best to call them in advance and confirm their operating hours for that day. If a member winery did not specify whether they were open or not, please refer to their operating hours in their winery page on this site, at their website, or give them a call to confirm their hours. The following table, developed in 2015, helps identify a winery’s likely holiday schedule, though we always encourage you to contact the wineries you’re most interested in visiting directly to reconfirm their operating hours on a given holiday. Most wineries are open for July 4th and many are closed for New Year’s day, Thanksgiving day, and Christmas day. Holidays not listed below, means most wineries are definitely open as usual. This list was updated mid-2017.
Belhurst: Closed Christmas day. Open New Year’s day, Easter, July 4th, and Thanksgiving.
White Springs: Closed New Year’s day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day. Open July 4th. Usually closes early on New Year’s Eve, Thanksgiving eve and Christmas eve.
Fox Run: Closed New Year’s day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day. Open on Easter and July 4th.
Seneca Shore: Closed New Year’s day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day. Usually closes early on New Year’s eve, Thanksgiving eve and Christmas eve. Open July 4th.
Anthony Road: Closed New Year’s day, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas day. Open July 4th. Usually closes early on New Year’s eve and Christmas eve.
Prejean: Closed New Year’s day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas day. Open July 4th
Torrey Ridge: Closed New Year’s day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas day. Open July 4th
Earle Estates: Closed New Year’s day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas day. Open July 4th
Miles: Closed New Year’s day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas day. Open July 4th.
Fruit Yard: Closed New Year’s day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day. Usually closes early on New Year’s eve, Thanksgiving eve and Christmas eve. Open July 4th.
Hickory Hollow: Closed New Year’s day, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas day. Open July 4th. Usually closes early on New Year’s Eve and Christmas Eve.
Glenora: Closed on Christmas day. Open New Year’s Day and July 4th. Usually closes early on Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas eve.
Fulkerson: Closed New Year’s day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas day. Open July 4th.
Rock Stream: Closed New Year’s day, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas day. Open July 4th.
Lakewood: Closed New Year’s day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas day. Open July 4th. Usually closes early Christmas eve.
Castel Grisch: Closed New Year’s eve and day, Easter, Christmas eve and day, and probably Thanksgiving. Probably open on July 4th.
Catharine Valley: Please call the winery directly at: 607-546-5300
J.R. Dill: Closed New Year’s eve and day, Easter, Thanksgiving eve and day, Christmas day. Open July 4th. Usually closes early on Christmas eve.
Atwater: Closed New Year’s day, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas eve and day. Open July 4th. Usually closes early on New Year’s eve.
Chateau LaFayette: Closed New Year’s day, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas day. Open July 4th. Usually closes early on New Year’s eve and Christmas eve.
Leidenfrost: Closed Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas day. Open New Year’s day.
Hazlitt: Closed New Year’s day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas day. Open July 4th. Usually closes early on New Year’s eve and Christmas eve.
Penguin Bay: Closed New Year’s day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas day. Open July 4th. Usually closes early on New Year’s eve and Christmas eve.
Standing Stone: Closed New Year’s day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas day. Open July 4th. Usually closes early on New Year’s eve and Christmas eve.
Bagley’s: Closed New Year’s day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas day. Open July 4th. Usually closes early on New Year’s eve and Christmas eve.
Caywood: Closed New Year’s day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas day. Open July 4th.
Wagner: Closed New Year’s day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas day. Open Easter and July 4th.
Lamoreaux: Closed New Year’s day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas day. Open July 4th.
Boundary: Closed New Year’s day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas eve and day. Open July 4th. Usually closes early on New Year’s eve.
Zugibe: Closed New Year’s day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas day. Probably open July 4th.
3 Brothers: Closed New Year’s day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas day. Open July 4th. Usually closes early on New Year’s eve and Christmas eve.
Ventosa: Closed New Year’s day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas day. Open July 4th. Usually closes early on Christmas eve.

E-Ticketing FAQ

The Seneca Lake Wine Trail has partnered with the online ticketing agency ShowClix and henceforth all ticket purchasing will take place through their website. This section will hopefully help identify how our ticketing system now works and how things are different than before. If after reading this section you still have questions about our events, and ticketing process, please call our office during regular business hours at 877-536-22717.

This FAQ only applies to weekend wine and food pairing events managed by the Seneca Lake Wine Trail. Our Passport products are handled differently, as are large groups. Events managed by individual member wineries maintain different policies.

Your starting winery is literally the winery where you must begin the event.

In the past when purchasing a ticket for a Seneca Lake Wine Trail event it was necessary for you to select a starting winery from the list of available starting wineries. The closer we were to an event selling out, the fewer starting winery options were available, and usually it was the wineries in the middle of the lake that sold out last. Conversely, it was the wineries at the northern and southern ends, those that are closest to the major highways that sold out first. Starting wineries are important because they help distribute event attendees evenly around the Trail, minimizing instances of large crowds clogging up a given winery, making the event more enjoyable for everybody. In the past attendees would sometimes ignore their starting winery, and opt instead to start wherever they felt was convenient for them. Unfortunately this inevitably resulted in large crowds jamming up certain wineries more often, and was not ideal for anybody. With ShowClix, our new e-commerce partner, you are purchasing a ticket(s), and a receipt will be emailed to you after you’ve made your purchase. However, despite what that document might say, it is not your actual ticket. Your actual ticket will be waiting for you at your starting winery. Take the printout with you, and a state-issued ID (drivers license) to the starting winery, they will check you in, and give you your actual event tickets.

Tickets are not exchangeable, refundable, transferable or changeable

Once you’ve purchased your tickets it is a done deal. We do not exchange tickets, we do not refund ticket purchases, you cannot transfer your tickets to another event, nor will we change any attributes (like the starting winery) of your tickets. Fortunately our event tickets, unlike tickets for a popular Broadway plays or professional sporting events, are very affordable, so in the rare instance you end up not being able to attend the event, it will not be overly grievous.

Events are not cancelled for any reason, ever.

Some of our weekend wine and food pairings take place in the midst of winter. And with winter, of course, there can be snow, ice and adverse driving conditions. Regardless of the driving conditions either where you live, or here in the Finger Lakes Region, we do not cancel events. Furthermore, we do not refund, exchange, transfer or change tickets during an event weekend where the weather is adverse.

We do not mail tickets anymore.

In the past we mailed customers their wine and food pairing weekend event tickets via USPS. That is no longer the case. Now you will pick up your event ticket(s) at your starting winery anytime during the event itself.

Only the person whose name is associated with the ticket(s) can retrieve their actual event ticket at their chosen starting winery. This is especially important to know when you’re purchasing multiple tickets for you and your friends/family. If you use your name for all the tickets, that will mean only you can retrieve your actual event tickets from the starting winery.

Groups should purchase their tickets on one order, or at least choose a starting winery that has many tickets still remaining, to try and make sure everybody in your group has the same starting winery.

It is common for people to enjoy the event with a small group of their friends and family. Because it is necessary that you now literally start the event at your starting winery, it is especially important that everybody in your group select the same starting winery. The only way to guarantee that you will all have the same starting winery, is if you purchase all the tickets on one order. If that is not feasible, then we strongly recommend you select a starting winery that has a maximum number of tickets left (usually a winery near the middle of the lake) and then tell the other people in your party to hurry up and buy their tickets. Because once a starting winery has sold out, no more tickets can be sold for that starting winery. If your group is fragmented, with 2 or more starting wineries in your party, it will make things very, very clumsy as you commence the event because you will have to first stop at each starting winery to retrieve the actual event tickets before everybody in your party can begin participating in the event. Otherwise, your actual starting winery is not that important. The only important thing about your starting winery, when you’re traveling in a group of people, is that you all have the same starting winery (see above). Otherwise, where you actually start the event is generally not that relevant. Oftentimes people insist that they get a starting winery closest to their base (either home or hotel), because they believe it will minimize their drive time. The reality is that you’re usually going to have a little extra driving, either at the beginning of your day, or at the end of the day. Therefore we generally recommend that you select a starting winery that is further away from where you want to end up at the end of the day, so you can do the extra driving in the morning, and then end your day of tasting closest to your destination for that evening. Bear in mind, the starting winery is where you get your actual tickets, and your gift item, but is otherwise just one of dozens of wineries you’ll be visiting throughout the weekend.

If you still think your starting winery choice is critical… Then our advice is that you purchase your tickets immediately upon them going on sale. That is the best way for you to have a good chance of getting exactly the starting winery that you want. Tickets for our events in the first half of 2018, for example, will be on sale as early as October 2017. Tickets for our November 2018 Deck The Halls Weekend will go on sale in early December 2017.

Please drink responsibly.

One important difference between our event weekends, and a weekend of traditional tasting, is that with our event weekends each winery is only obligated to present 1-3, smaller samples of wine, paired with a sample of the dish they’ve prepared. As opposed to traditional tasting, where the winery is typically offering a flight of wine samples, that can consist of six or more 1 ounce samples of different wines. The Seneca Lake Wine Trail and its member wineries want you to have a fantastically memorable weekend that is both safe and responsible. If you end up not sampling wine at a few wineries, that is ok. If you end up spitting out your wine sample you’re tasting, that is ok too. We want you to safely have an excellent time at our wineries, so you’ll be enthusiastically able to come visit our Trail again sometime.

Winter Weather And The Trail

Some of our Trail events are held during the winter months, and with so many terrific out of state fans attending these events, we’re often asked about the topic of weather, specifically adverse weather, typically snow and ice. Here are a few general answers to commonly asked questions:

Q: “Buffalo, NY got three feet of snow last night, did you guys get any?”

A: Sometimes when Buffalo, or other more northern towns, get dumped upon, we also get quite a bit of snow. Rarely do we get as much as those other towns, and in general have considerable less snow precipitation on average than many cities in the state. New York State, as some aren’t aware, is a fairly large state, and one part of the state could be blanketed in snow, while another is totally free of snow. Check for information, our two main zip codes to use are 14891 and 14456.

Q: “I know your area got 6 inches of snow, is the Trail event still going on this weekend?”

A:  Yes, the Seneca Lake Wine Trail event is still taking place. We have never cancelled an event. Please review the policies associated with our events, and event tickets, when you purchase your tickets.

Q: “I’m driving up through Pennsylvania, which got a few inches of freezing rain last night, can I get a refund on my tickets for the event tomorrow?”

A: Regrettably our tickets are all non-refundable and cannot be exchanged by the office.  Fortunately, unlike an NFL game who have similar policies regarding weather, our tickets are very affordable. And we hope that those very, very rare instances where you are uncomfortable traveling to one of our events, will not outweigh all the fun and terrific wine you’ll enjoy 99% of the rest of the time.

Q: “Heard it snowed a lot up there last night. Do your roads get cleared?”

A: The people and towns/counties that collectively keep our roads safe and free of snow are excellent. Having driven year round on these roads, for several years, with a lightweight, rear wheel drive pickup truck (that is lame in the snow compared to most modern vehicles) without an accident, is definitive and objective proof that the hard working people that keep our roads clear do a great job. Granted, there can be times when the roads can be challenging, but they are few and far between. However, if you are concerned for your safety, we always recommend that you stay home and avoid driving until the roads have been more thoroughly cleared.

Q: “Why are the wineries even open in the winter? Besides, I thought they were only open in the summer?”

That latter question is a common, outdated misconception. Years, maybe decades, ago tasting rooms in the region tended to be more seasonal. Today, however, an overwhelming majority of our Trail’s members wineries are open all year, with some choosing to only open their tasting rooms in the deepest winter months during the weekends. While the summer and fall months without a doubt enjoy terrific temperature, weather, and a visually stellar environment, they also tend to be the busier months for our region enjoyed by visitors here from around the country. The cooler, winter months on the other hand, tend to be quieter, and herein lies one of our regional industry’s best kept secrets: for people who are focused on the wine, learning about the wine, meeting the people that have made wine or grown grapes most of their life, the quietude of winter is the best time to visit.

What’s in a bottle of NY wine?

Borrowed from our important industry peer, the New York Wine and Grape Foundation (

Since 6000 B.C., wine has inspired poets, philosophers, and politicians with its elegant simplicity as fermented grape juice contrasted by its fascinating complexity as a beverage, a food, and a social lubricant enhancing the quality of life. But wine is not just one of the greatest pleasures of life, it is also an economic engine and the ultimate value-added product. The “What’s in a Bottle of Wine”  PDF depicts all that it takes to make wine and helps convey the positive economic impact our industry has on New York State. To view this handy document, click here

Which Restaurants Serve Seneca Lake Wines?

Many of the excellent restaurants listed both on this site, and in our brochure, proudly serve a diversity of wines made by Seneca Lake Wineries. Below is a list created in August 2008 identifying the wines available at these restaurants. Of course, wine lists change often, so if you want to make sure a given restaurant serves a certain wine, you should give them a call before heading out. We can objectively say that if a diverse selection of locally crafted wines are required, the three restaurants with the most consistently extensive lists are the Red Newt Bistro, Edgar’s Restaurant, and Suzanne’s Fine Regional Cuisine .

Belhurst Winery features wines from Chateau LaFayette Reneau, Fox Run Vineyards, Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars, Atwater Estate Vineyards, Prejean Winey, Fulkerson Winery, Wagner Vineyards, Red Newt Cellars, Miles Wine Cellars, Anthony Road Wine Company, Lakewood Vineyards, and Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards in Edgar’s Restaurant.

Fox Run Vineyards features all Fox Run wines at their café.

Glenora Wine Cellars features most Glenora Wine Cellar Wines at Veraisons Restaurant, and many other regional wines.

Castel Grisch Winery features all Castel Grisch Winery wines at their restaurant.

Red Newt Bistro features over 200 Finger Lakes Wines from wineries including Red Newt Cellars, Belhurst Winery, Fox Run Vineyards, Anthony Road Wine Company, Prejean Winery, Atwater Estate Vineyards, Lakewood Vineyards, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, Chateau LaFayette Reneau, Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars, Fulkerson Winery, Leidenfrost Vineyards, and many more.

The Ginny Lee at Wagner Vineyards features all Wagner Vineyards wines.

Ventosa Vineyards features all Ventosa Vineyards wines at their café by the glass or bottle.

Montage Italian Grill features wines from Chateau LaFayette Reneau, Lakewood Vineyards, Fulkerson Winery, and Castel Grisch Winery.

Seneca Lodge Restaurant features wines from Prejean Winery, Hickory Hallow Wine Cellars, Glenora Wine Cellars, Fulkerson Winery, Lakewood Vineyards, Castel Grisch Winery, Chateau LaFayette Reneau, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, Penguin Bay Winery, and Wagner Vineyards.

Holiday Inn Waterloo/ Seneca Falls features wines from Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, Fox Run Vineyards, and many more.

The Crow’s Nest features chardonnay from Fox Run Vineyards and Red Cat, cream sherry or port from Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards.

Dano’s Heuriger on Seneca Lake features wines from Leidenfrost Vineyards, Chateau LaFayette Reneau, and Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars. Dano’s also features Wagner Valley Brewing Company Beer Selection.

Suzanne Fine Regional Cuisine features wines from Atwater Estate Vineyard, Bloomer Creek Vineyard, Chateau LaFayette Reneau, Fox Run Vineyards, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, Lakewood Vineyards, Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars, Seneca Shore Wine Cellars, and Wagner Winery. Suzanne’s also features beers from Wagner Valley Brewing Company.

Cobblestone Restaurant features wine from Fox Run Vineyards and Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars.

The Holiday Inn Elmira-Riverview features Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards Red Cat and White Cat and also serves Wagner Vineyard’s Semi-Dry Riesling and Prejean Winery Riesling in their restaurant on location.

Health benefits of wine

While excessive consumption of virtually anything, including wine, is never advisable, many studies continue to indicate that moderate consumption of wine can provide a wide range of health benefits. Below are noted a few, many of which were originally pointed out by our friends at the New York Wine & Grape Foundation.

LIVER DISEASE is often cited as one of the prevalent risks of alcohol consumption, but a new government-funded study published in Hepatology suggests that moderate red wine consumption may significantly reduce that risk. Conducted by researchers at California’s San Diego School of Medicine, the study showed that people who drank one glass of red wine a day cut in half their risk of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), the most common type affecting some 40 million U.S. adults. This suggests that the benefits may be due to the non-alcohol components of red wine such as resveratrol, a naturally occurring fungicide on the skins of grapes which also appears to have major health benefits for humans. The presence of resveratrol in red wine is due to the extended contact of the juice with the grape skins, which contain both the pigment for color and resveratrol. White wine has negligible amounts of resveratrol due to the intended absence of skin contact during processing, though a technical institute in Israel may have developed a process that will include resveratrol in white wine without changing the flavors. By contrast, people who consumed modest amounts of beer or spirits had over four times the odds of having NAFLD.

ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE risk may be reduced by the polyphenolic compounds found in purple grape juice as well as red wine, according to new research from New York’s Mt. Sinai Hospital published in the Journal of Neuroscience. Dr. Giulio Maria Pasinetti and his colleagues found that the polyphenolics in grape seed extract (which makes its way into wine and juice) fights a type of plaque which causes brain deterioration, and could reduce the risk of Alzheimers by 30% to 50% with normal (moderate) consumption.

AGING AND OBESITY may be fought by regular, moderate consumption of red wine, according to some recent studies. The key ingredient seems to be resveratrol, the naturally occurring fungicide produced by grapes to ward off plant disease which seems to do the same for humans. Red wines (but not white) contain resveratrol because of the prolonged skin contact during processing, which transfers both the pigment (color) and resveratrol into the wine. While a previous study suggested you?d have to drink 35 bottles a day to get the benefit (we don’t recommend that), a more recent study concluded that moderate daily consumption is beneficial in slowing the aging process. Meanwhile, a German study showed that resveratrol inhibits pre-fat cells from increasing in size and becoming mature fat cells, while also hindering fat storage. Resveratrol also reduced substances linked to the development of obesity-related disorders such as diabetes and clogged arteries.

ALCOHOL USE DISORDER (AUD), which essentially means drinking too much, may be significantly reduced when wine is more than 35% of total alcohol consumption, according to a recent Danish study. The research found that wine consumers were less likely to develop AUD than consumers of beer or spirits, which could be related to lifestyle differences or non-alcoholic substances in wine like polyphenols that may have some effect. Reacting to the study’s results, one prominent scientist suggested that the acids in wine, and especially tannins in red wine, make it difficult to consume a lot of wine by itself; and also make it more pleasant to have wine with food. When any alcoholic beverage is consumed with food, the blood alcohol level is much lower than without food, often by half. In other words, the inherent nature of wine does not lend itself to abuse.

LUNG CANCER RISK may be reduced by moderate red wine consumption, especially among current or former smokers, according to a new California study published in the journal, Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.  The study by Kaiser Permanente Southern California involved more than 80,000 men aged 45 to 69.  Current and former smokers who drank red wine were 60% less likely to develop lung cancer than abstainers, with the reduction in risk even greater among heavy smokers in particular. White wine, beer and spirits had no effect, suggesting that the unique compounds in red wine such as resveratrol and flavanoids are responsible for the beneficial effects.  (Note: Many are also present in Concord grape juice, though this study did not examine that.  A recent UCLA study rated Concord grape juice #3 after only pomegranate juice and red wine in a listing of the top 10 healthy drinks.)  In a separate study, the resveratrol in red wine seems to have some benefits for the prevention and treatment of multiple sclerosis.

How to Plan a Tour of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail

Responsibly and safely visiting the wineries, with a little homework and effort, can be a remarkably rewarding and enjoyable experience. Here are a few tips on how to make sure you have the best time possible.

– Having a designated driver is never a bad idea. While the wineries can be toured, their wines enjoyed, safely and responsibly even if you lack a designated driver, certainly having one on board removes one potential difficulty.

– Spitting is good. Of course we’ve all been taught from a young age to never spit. It’s rude, unseemly, etc. However, when sampling wine, spitting is never a bad thing. It enables to enjoy the wine, confirm if you like it or not, but of course doesn’t increase your blood alcohol levels, enabling to sample more wines and still be safe and responsible, especially if you’re driving. All wineries provide spit buckets at their tasting bars though if you happen to not see one, just ask, and they’ll gladly provide one for you.

– Take your time. Oftentimes people contact the offices of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail and ask “How many wineries can we visit in a day?” The real question is, how many wineries can we enjoyably visit in a day. Visiting wineries is definitely not about seeing how many samples you can wolf down in an eight hour period. There are boxes of characterless wine from Australia, California and other large wine producing regions that can be enjoyed in your own backyard to satisfy that craving. Visiting the wineries themselves is intended to help you experience, and truly appreciate, the wines they labor to make, helping you evolve your personal palate, and enabling you to buy the best wine. Because, of course, the best wine is literally the wine you personally like the most! It isn’t a race, it’s a journey, to cite that tired old maxim.

– Drive responsibly. This probably seems like a foregone conclusion, but here in bucolic western New York State, many wineries are still on small two-lane roads, with lots of curves and driveways peppering the roadsides. And with a sizable population of Mennonites in the area, it is not uncommon to see horse-drawn carriages or kids on bikes, riding alongside the roads. Remember, with only less than 10 miles between one winery and the next, driving over the speed limit really isn’t going to do you any good. Just take your time, enjoy the scenery, and savor the experience.

– Eat food! Food is good. Not just because you need a balanced diet to maintain a healthy body, but also because by having a belly full of good food you’re less likely to get radically tipsy quickly. Make sure you start your touring day out with a solid breakfast, and definitely make sure you visit one of our region’s many excellent restaurants for lunch. Or, if you want to save your hard earned cash so you have more money to buy cases of wine with, bring a picnic lunch! There are many excellent parks in the area, and even wineries themselves, with picnic locations.

– Don’t drink alcoholic beverages between wineries. It never ceases to amaze us when we hear stories of, usually younger groups,  people that opt to slam beers or shots between visits to wineries. When you drink excessively your palate becomes numb to flavor, and pretty soon ALL the wine tastes great! This isn’t an entirely bad thing for the wineries, per se, but they definitely don’t want you to go home, crack open a case of wine you bought in the late afternoon after a day of slamming drinks, and find out “Yowza, that doesn’t taste so good to me!”

– Ask questions. Wineries work very hard to employ and train knowledgeable tasting room staff. What separates the average tasting room server, from a bartender at your average tavern, is that they know much, much more about the wines, how they were made, what distinguishes them, etc. Take advantage of their knowledge and ask them any questions you may have. Knowing more about wine, and the wines you’re buying, not only makes you cooler at a party, but does seriously help you appreciate and even enjoy the wine even more.

– Research the wineries. Rest assured, we’re not advocating you spend countless hours in your local library to generate a dissertation on which wineries you want to visit. However, many wineries specialize in certain types of wines, types of grapes and possess various, unique features which will make one winery more appealing to you personally, and others not as much. Of course, provided you’re not traveling in a large group, you can always pop into a winery that looks interesting, that maybe you know nothing about (which itself is sometimes a fun way to find new wineries and wines you otherwise would have never experienced) but by doing a little research before you start on your tour, you’ll be assured of enjoying the most number of wines you’re most likely to appreciate. This website not only contains vast stores of information on the wineries themselves, but also keeps updated lists of awards won by wineries, which is another good indicator of which wineries specialize in, and excel at producing, certain types of wines.

– Ask friends and family members. Over the years many of your friends and family have undoubtedly visited the winery region you’ll be visiting. And, as is true with any experience like this, sometimes they can provide you with some good insight on which wineries to make sure you visit.

– If you’re interested in learning even more about wine than what it tastes like, several wineries on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail offer behind the scenes tours of their facility. Participating in one of these, often at an additional cost, will enable you to have a guided tour of the complex hardware and techniques that together result in wine.

– Empty out your car’s trunk. Most of the wines you’ll be sampling can only be readily purchased at the winery itself. And how much of a bummer would it be if you sampled some wine that really knocks your socks off, that can’t be purchased at your neighborhood liquor store, only to discover the case you purchased won’t fit in your cluttered trunk!

– Get a brochure. Most wine trails print a detailed, easy to use brochure containing maps, descriptions of wineries and other helpful information. These brochures can usually be mailed to you by a wine trail office, or can be picked up at a local chamber of commerce, information center, or at one of the first wineries you visit. Online maps are fine, but sometimes a printed version of the information is most helpful.

– Don’t forget the off season. Most wineries these days are open 52 weekends a year, and a majority of the wineries are open 360+ days per year. Few wineries are “seasonal” and close down for the winter. But of course summer is so beautiful, people will remind you! The fall foliage is so gorgeous! Those facts are true, and certainly visiting the wineries those times of the year is fine too. However, if you’re passionate about learning about the wines, the off season (generally between Thanksgiving and Memorial Day) is truly the best time of the year to tour wineries, when there are fewer customers vying for tasting room staff attention, and an increased likelihood of an incredibly knowledgeable owner or manager being at the tasting bar.

– Groups should make appointments. If you’re traveling in a group of 8 or more people, many wineries require an appointment be made. Why? Because they try very hard to make sure that when your group arrives, they’ll be greeted and served promptly and capably, so they will literally plan their staff levels to accommodate groups. If they know when your group is coming, but they already have a full tasting room, then they’ll, for example, bring a vineyard manager out of the vines, and have him or her serve your group.

– Have fun. Granted, most people don’t need to be encouraged to have fun, but many people mistakenly think that wine is a deadly serious business. It isn’t. It’s a complicated art and science, certainly, and some people like to pretend its incredibly serious, but it isn’t. Wine is a delicious beverage, the enjoyment and exploring of which should above all else be fun.

– And if you have more questions beyond those listed here, feel free to call the offices of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail toll-free at 877-536-2717 weekdays during regular business hours and our expert staff will assist you.

How to Get the Most out of Your Seneca Lake Wine Trail Event

Ticket Tips
(this page is not intended for passports)

Tickets are not refundable, exchangeable or changeable, and the winery you chose to start at cannot be altered. Seneca Lake Wine Trail events are never cancelled. You can give them away or sell them at face value. Event information is printed on each ticket, which includes a list of wineries participating for that event.

Sometimes our events sell out, so you should purchase your tickets well in advance of the event itself. For those events that do not sell out, we stop selling tickets in advance by 1:00 p.m. EST the Wednesday before the event weekend.  After that, for events that are not sold out, tickets will be available to purchase at a few designated wineries, with an additional charge of $5 per ticket.

Starting Winery: You must go to your start winery to be checked in and receive a real cardstock event ticket. The document emailed to you when you placed your ticket order, does not qualify as your ticket and wineries will require that you have your actual cardstock ticket before you can begin enjoying the event. Starting wineries help keep traffic flowing smoothly around the lake, minimizing delays. This is also where you’ll pick up your gift item and have your first food and wine pairing; each participating winery is given a limited quantity of gift items based upon the starting winery points. Once you are all checked in, you may proceed at your own pace and in the direction most convenient for you and your party.

Important, Proof of I.D.: Please bring proof that you are 21 years of age or older. Each winery is individually responsible for checking the age of customers, to make sure they are at least 21 years old, so it is possible that you may be proofed at more than one winery.

As a designated driver you are a VIP and we thank you for making our events safer for your family and friends! You will be offered an alternative non-alcoholic beverage with your food sample. (If you have a DD couples ticket for Deck the Halls, only one person will only be served non-alcoholic beverage.)

Fill Out Your Ticket: Once you have your ticket, please take a moment to fill out the top and bottom of the ticket. Filling in at least your first name and cell phone at the top of the ticket is recommended, in case you misplace your ticket along the way, so the person finding it can contact you. Please also fill out the bottom and select if you’d like to receive future mailings and announcements. Your starting winery will also remove this bottom portion of your ticket in exchange for your gift item.

Remember that each ticket entitles the bearer to 3 modest wine samples paired with a food sample at each winery (for Deck the Halls couples ticket, each person will receive the samples). Additional samples are left to the discretion of each winery. Our events are meant to be samplers only. If you wish to taste more than what that winery provides for the event, there may be additional tasting fees.

Large Groups: There is a special trail-wide policy in place for these ticketed events. As long as you have tickets to the event travel in a group of 19 or less people, you are not considered a large group and will not need to make appointments at participating wineries. However groups of 20 and up to 40 people will be accepted only if routed by the Trail office and are limited.  All large groups must be booked 45 days prior to and event weekend.  No large groups are permitted during Deck the Halls. Few large groups are permitted and we reserve the right to limit the number of large groups and motor coaches purchasing tickets to our events to four.  Please call or email Glenda Stermer-Simpson to inquire about large group event details.

As a large group, you may only attend an event together if the office prepares an itinerary for you. Please take special note that if you are traveling with a large group and are not routed through us and the winery is already at legal attendance capacity, you may be asked to visit the next winery then return and do your tasting, or simply be unable to visit a winery at all as some wineries have very limited capacity and cannot accommodate an unscheduled large group.

Transportation & Overnight Accommodations: Tickets do not include transportation or overnight accommodations. Visit our website under Visitors for listings of lodging, transportation companies and restaurants in the region. Plan overnight accommodations in advance as the weekends tend to book up quickly.

A list of wineries, a map of our Trail and a downloadable brochure are available on this website under the Wineries link in the upper left corner of the page.  If you’d like a hard copy of our brochure mailed to you, please send us an email along with your name and address to and we’ll mail one right out to you.

Do you have to spend a lot of money to get a good bottle of wine?

You can find decent bottles of wine in every price range. However, an inexpensive wine is not a good value if you don’t like it. One way to measure value (the wine’s price in relationship to how much you like it) is to choose a varietal you like, and try that varietal in different price ranges. The rule of thumb is that good wine is the wine you like best.

Why are red wines red and white wines white?

Two factors determine the color of a wine: the skin color of the grape, and the process the grapes go through when they are made into wine.

Although red grape varieties are generally used to make red wine, the wine’s color would also be white if the grape skins were not soaked with the juice. Red wines are usually kept in vats with their skins and seeds for longer periods of time than their white counterparts; this is the process that imparts color, and also increases tannin levels.

White wines are typically de-stemmed and skinned immediately in the crushing process, thus removing any additional color found in the skins and seeds.

Direct shipping

“I keep hearing about how it is now legal to ship wine directly from a winery to a consumer across state lines. Is that true?”

This is a very complex question, the answer to which is constantly changing as different states continue to modify their laws pertaining to direct wine shipping (directly from the winery to the consumer) both within a given state, and outside a given state. To see more detailed, updated information on this very complex matter, please visit the dedicated page at Wine America’s excellent website here:

WineAmerica (formerly the American Vintners Association) was founded in 1978 as the Association of American Vintners, a trade association of wineries with membership based in the eastern U.S. Its early mission included fostering general communications within the developing wine industry, providing a unified voice for government relations issues and comprehensive, affordable insurance for its members.