Lakewood Vineyards in Seneca Lake, Finger Lakes, is a vineyard and winery with a family tradition where good wines and friendly people are guaranteed.
An autumn day taken straight from a dream; sunny, leaves falling and trees with the biggest variety of colors that I’ve ever seen. That was how we first experienced Watkins Glen and I can’t imagine how it could get any better. Silly question when we were about to enter one of the most important wine regions in the country. Our wine route started with a gorgeous vineyard and winery on Seneca Lake called Lakewood Vineyards, a family run vineyard that we had read a lot about (and everyone said it was great!). Needless to say, we were excited!
In 1951, a daring Frank Stamp, abandoned his home state of Maryland and his profession as a dentist to live on a farm on the shores of Seneca Lake; and the adventure had only just begun. There, where there were only peach and apple trees, he wondered why there were no grapes. So he started on a path that, in time, would grow and grow until today with 80 acres and 14 varieties of grapes with one of the vineyards where we felt most at home both visiting the grounds and tasting.
We arrived at the door and there were three gorgeous dogs laying down enjoying the sun. The vineyard allows dogs to come inside, so if you are traveling with your pet, which we love to do, you can take them to this winery! We went inside and immediately felt at home. Can you imagine arriving at a vineyard and the grandmother of the family, who is still ready for anything, greets you at the door? There couldn’t have been a better start and there she was excited to show us the heart of the winery where the emotion and hard work transformed the grapes into delicious wines. She asked if we wanted to see the winery first or try the wines; a difficult question, but we decided to save the tasting for last.
To show us the process of winemaking, Bev left us in the hands of her grandson, who happily explained everything about how and when they pick the grapes, how they process them, bottle and finally put on the labels. Among the more interesting things was how they used the technique of “Cold Crashing” to stop the fermentation and how they try to use oak barrels from New York State, something that they are still investigating. Another interesting thing is that Bev created the “Seneca Lake” stamp in 1996, although for marketing purposes they still use the stamp of Finger Lakes, since it is more well known.
As we mentioned earlier, Lakewood Vineyards grows up to 14 varieties of grapes including Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir. They live just across the road, so they are already thinking of planting some new varieties of grape in the coming years. The truth is that we were surprised to learn that a lot of the family (they counted at least 9) work full time in different parts of the winery and vineyard.
Once the explanations were over, we moved on to the part we were waiting for; tasting the wines we had been hearing about all afternoon. In the tasting room, Tammy was waiting for us. She was very nice and prepared to explain anything we wanted to know about the wines. The tasting can either be dry wines, semi-dry or sweet wines. We decided to try the dry wines and they started us off with white wines and then moved to red. Our favorites were the Gewürztraminer of the whites and the Long Stem Red for the reds (we wound up buying a bottle of each). Another wine that stuck out for us was the Candeo, Bev’s personal favorite, which is similar to prosecco.
A little bit “happier” than at the start (even though we try to be good wine tasters, it was impossible not to drink such good wines); we couldn’t leave without buying some of the wines we liked. The prices were very reasonable (considering the fact that the state of New York has some of the highest tax on alcohol). So with our wine we said goodbye to the family who so graciously invited us to their vineyard.
If you visit the Finger Lakes and you decide to visit Watkins Glen and Seneca Lake (something that we highly recommend), a wine route is an activity that you shouldn’t miss. Since we know it is difficult to choose among the many options, we’ll make it easy for you: this combines good wines, family tradition and an atmosphere that welcomes you from the start. Whether you like sweet wines or dry ones, Lakewood Vineyards has something to satisfy your palate. We ruskommend a visit to Lakewood Vineyards with 4 boquerones.