Go See Do Photography

A Lot of Travel, A Little Bit of History, and a Whole Bunch of Photos

Tag: winery

Wine Tasting in the Finger Lakes

Vineyard on Keuka Lake

The Finger Lakes was recently named the number 1 wine region in the country by 10best.com. It beat out Napa and Sonoma in California. Michigan’s Leelanau peninsula actually came in second, but more about that another time. The last time we were in the Finger Lakes, we mostly stayed on the east side of Seneca Lake and we weren’t impressed by what we tasted. This trip, we had more time in the area and we were able to explore more of the area.

Atwater Estates

As I mentioned before, coming down from Buffalo, we stopped at 3 wineries on the west side of Seneca Lake: Ravines, Billsboro, and Fox Run. On our way to Ithaca, we stopped at our favorite winery from our last time, Atwater Estates. We got there right after they opened and were their first customers of the day. As we remembered, all of the wines we tasted at Atwater were phenomenal and between us, we ended up buying a whole case. They have two force carbonated wines that are unlike anything I’ve had before and I highly recommend you give them a try if you are in the area. Atwater has the best view of any of the wineries we visited on Seneca Lake. I only wish we were there on a warm, sunny day to enjoy the outdoor patio.

On our final day, before heading home, we made our way out to a few wineries on Keuka Lake. The first one we tried was Pleasant Valley which had the biggest facility and a very large selection of wines, but they seemed to appeal to sweet wine drinkers. There weren’t a ton of dry wines available, but there prices were very reasonable so we ended up with a few bottles.

After Pleasant Valley, we stopped at Bully Hill. We were there early on their first day in their new tasting room so I don’t feel like we got a great feel for the experience as the employees were busy unpacking and getting the tasting room ready. All the wines we tried were good and the new tasting room has a great view out to the vineyards and the lake below. I will have to come back when they are more settled to get the full experience.

And our final stop was possibly the best of the whole trip! While in a wine store in Corning, we found bottles from a vineyard called Dr. Frank. I thought that was a funny name for a vineyard so I looked them up when we got back to the car. It turns out, Dr. Konstantin Frank was the man that brought winemaking to the Finger Lakes region and was the first one to use grafting to be able to grow European grapes in the United States. Dr. Frank currently has the second oldest vines in the country and their Old Vine Pinot Noir is probably one of the best wines I’ve ever had. We ended up buying a lot of wine there, but when we drink it all, I will probably be going online to order more. If you are in the area and like a good wine, definitely stop at Dr. Frank!

We bought more wine on this trip than I imagined we would but the wine was all so good! We have really gotten into wine traveling lately and the wines from the Finger Lakes are far and above the wine from other places we’ve recently been. This wine has totally spoiled me. I’m a wine snob now. No doubt about it. Grocery store wine will no longer do it for me. If you enjoy wine touring, definitely plan a trip to the Finger Lakes. You will not regret it.

Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

Exploring Seneca Lake


After leaving the Corning Museum of Glass, we made a quick stop at the Rockwell Museum. Corning’s Rockwell Museum is a Smithsonian Affiliate with a focus on American Art. Housed in the old Corning City Hall, the collection was a gift of Bob and Hertha Rockwell. Its a small museum and didn’t take long to see the whole collection. If you have extra time in the Finger Lakes or you’re looking for something to do on a rainy day, The Rockwell Museum wouldn’t be a bad choice.

At the museum, I grabbed a guide for the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, so we headed back north to check it out. The Finger Lakes was just voted the best wine region by 10best.com and being in the area, I was looking forward to seeing what the big deal is. With over 30 wineries on the trail, it is much bigger than the Michigan wine trails. Obviously, we couldn’t visit all of them in one afternoon, so we stuck to the ones closest to Watkins Glen.

We visited Catharine Valley (above), J.R. Dill, and Atwater Estates. Located on the shore of Seneca Lake, all of the wineries had beautiful views. Much like in Michigan, Riesling is the king in Seneca Lake and our favorite was a forced carbonated Riesling from Atwater Estates. It was unlike anything I’ve ever had before.  Doing a winery tour was a relaxing way to end our final day of this trip and a way to bring back the perfect Finger Lakes souvenir.

Thanks for stopping by! To plan your visit to the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, visit SenecaLakeWine.com.If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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Wordless Wednesday: Vineyard Sunset

Vineyards at Sunset

Wine Tasting in Northern Michigan

Chateau Grand Traverse at Sunset

Back in November I wrote about Bourbon tasting in Kentucky. This past weekend we did a beverage tour that is much more my speed: we went wine tasting. Old Mission Peninsula extends into the Grand Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan extending out from the popular tourist town of Traverse City. The interesting thing about Old Mission Peninsula is that it lies on the 45th parallel, halfway between the North Pole and the Equator, which is an ideal climate for growing grapes. Interestingly, Bordeaux is also on the 45th parallel.

Nine wineries make up the Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula Wine Trail (although when we were there, I learned there are a few more wineries on the peninsula that for whatever reason aren’t on the wine trail) and on this trip we visited four of them: Chateau Grand Traverse, Bowers Harbor, 2 Lads, and Peninsula Cellars. Chateau Grand Traverse was founded in 1974 and was the first commercial winery in Northern Michigan and was the first Michigan winery to grow European grape varietals (Riesling, Chardonnay, etc.). Of the wineries we visited, Chateau Grand Traverse had the most extensive wine list and I liked that you could deduct your tasting fee from any purchases made in the tasting room. Chateau Grand Traverse offers a free tour that showcases their history as well as the wine making process. If you’re visiting the area, I highly recommend you check it out. We also loved Bowers Harbor, which is another one of the older wineries in the area, with the first vines being planted in 1991. Their wines are sophisticated and the tasting room is cozy. With the $5 tasting fee, you get to keep your glass. 2 Lads Winery is one of the newer wineries and its modern architecture really makes it stand apart from the others in the area. They have a smaller selection (you get 5 tastings for $5 and they tell you to basically choose the one you don’t want) but they were all complex and sophisticated.  Peninsula Cellars was the last winery we visited and it was the one we were least impressed with. It is housed in a historic schoolhouse and has a unique feel to it, but the tasting room was small and when a bus pulled in it got crowded. I wasn’t impressed with their wines at all, they were mostly too sweet for me. Overall, Chateau Grand Traverse and Bowers Harbor remain our favorites. We also liked 2 Lads and it will probably remain in the rotation with Chateau Chantal (which we didn’t visit this time but we have in the past) but we will skip Peninsula Cellars.

This photo of Chateau Grand Traverse was taken at the roadside park that is on the road right in front of the vineyard and tasting room. We got lucky that there was a stunning sunset that night. I had my tripod pointed toward the bay but when the sun poked out and illuminated the vines and the rooftop, I swiftly picked up the entire tripod and snapped a quick shot knowing that I was probably going to have to straighten in post processing. When I got back to my computer, I realized that this rapid-fire shot, was one of my favorites of the evening.

To plan your wine tasting tour of Old Mission, visit WineriesofOMP.com and OldMission.com. Please, explore the region responsibly. There are many tour companies in the area, but TraverseCityTours.com was the cheapest I could find. Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page.

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