Wineries on Seneca Lake are open and ready to welcome you, but things have changed pretty substantially. So here are some things to be aware of:
I hear you have to buy food in order to taste wine, is this true? Yes, but don’t fret, you won’t be required to purchase a meal at each stop. Wineries are meeting this requirement by offering small packets of crackers for $1, or something similar.
Do I have to wear a mask? YES, upon arrival and basically any time you’re not seated. Wineries are under state order to refuse entrance to those not wearing a mask. Please don’t put our winery staffers in that position. Wear your mask!
I’m from a state on New York’s Restricted Travel List, does that really mean I’m not allowed to visit? If you are from a state that is currently on one of New York State’s Restricted List, please respect the guidelines issued by New York State and plan a visit for another time.
How much are tastings? Pre-Covid, tasting fees averaged between $5 and $7 each. These days, the range is a bit wider, between $5 and $10, with most falling in the $8 to $10 range, and a few being a bit higher. This increase is due to increased costs, additional staffing requiring, etc. Please see our Current Winery Offerings page for details.
What is it like to do a tasting these days? If you visited in the days before the pandemic, things will look considerably different when you visit the wineries these days. Seated tastings are now required, so this means your day will be slower paced and you will visit fewer wineries. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing!
Do I need an appointment? It varies by winery right now, please see our Current Winery Offerings page for details on each winery’s policy and reservation requirements (if any).
Is there a shuttle or bus that offers step-on tasting trips? We think this is a great idea, but there isn’t anything of this sort… yet! Maybe an entrepreneuring soul will take on this challenge!
I’m bringing a group, do we need reservations? Most wineries are not accepting groups of more than 6 people right now. This is due to state-imposed restrictions on capacity and social distancing requirements.
How late are the wineries open? Our winery tasting rooms are generally open until 5pm, with some extending their hours seasonally until 6pm and a few even later than that. Generally speaking, for wine tasting though, you can plan on wineries being open 10am or 11am until 5pm.
How far apart are wineries? If it’s a Trail, can’t I walk it? The term Trail as we use it, simply refers to a number of wineries located along one main route. While some wineries are very close together, it is not possible to walk from winery to winery. View a map of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail here.
I want to hire a limo or designated driver, who do you recommend? We have a number of associates who offer transportation, complete wine tours (planning and all), or you can simply hire a designated driver for the day. Visit our Transportation page to learn more.
Where should I stay? It depends! The two main towns on Seneca Lake are the city of Geneva at the north end of Seneca Lake and the village of Watkins Glen to the south end. Geneva offers a number of national chain hotels, bed and breakfasts, and numerous vacation rentals. Watkins Glen offers one large hotel on the water and a number of smaller hotels and motels, as well as bed and breakfasts, camping, and vacation rentals. There are many places to stay along both sides of the lake as well. The cities/towns of Penn Yan, Auburn, Seneca Falls, Ithaca, Corning, Painted Post, and Elmira are all within a 15-30 minute drive of our wineries as well. View lodging options here. There are also fabulous dining options and loads of other things to do in the area!
Are the wineries open in the winter? Yes, and winter is a wonderful time to visit! Tasting rooms are cozy and warm, you’ll have personalized attention, and who knows, maybe even meet an owner or winemaker! If it’s snow you’re worried about, contrary to popular belief, we do not typically get buried in snow here in the Finger Lakes. The snowbelt of Upstate New York is Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse, and we are well south of that. We do get an occasional heavy snowfall, but our local highway departments are fast to clear the roads because they’re used to it. Some of our wineries do operate on reduced hours during the winter, so we suggest planning your visits a bit more carefully but we are definitely open for business!