What's been going on locally
By Tambi Schweizer, Tasting Hall Manager
It’s getting to be that time of the year…with the oncoming arrival of tons and tons of people! YEAH! I love having visitors at the winery, especially after a long winter with barely anyone coming to visit me! (hint…hint…!)
I think what I really find intriguing is trying to “figure out” what style and or type of wine the tasters enjoy. It is a fascination of mine to understand why certain people like different types of wines. I really enjoy spending time educating the visitor about what this area has to offer. I spend countless hours educating my tasting hall staff to be able to provide them with the best information on our wines as well as the what the Finger Lakes Region has to offer.
I also pride myself on having been to almost all the local Finger Lakes wineries, neighborhood restaurants and local pubs! I frequently recommend the local brewery up the street, Keuka Brewing Company, for the non-wine drinker in the crowd. They usually have about five beers on tap at any given time, from the lightest (my favorite) the White Cap Wheat, a Belgian style wheat beer made from a blend of wheat and barley, with light hops. They add orange peel and a touch of coriander to give this beer a light, refreshing flavor. Their darkest, the Full Sail Stout Ale, a blended beer with 5 malts, has hints of smoke, coffee and chocolate that has a beautiful, rich flavor and a creamy head.
I tend to encourage visitors to enjoy dinner in the local restaurants that pride themselves on serving Finger Lakes wines, especially any from the Heron Hill collection! One of my favorite restaurants (that carries Heron Hill wines) is the Village Tavern in Hammondsport. It is a European style bar and restaurant, offering an exceptionally warm and cozy atmosphere with award-winning food and beverages…another hint!!! Their specialties include a large selection of my favorites like fresh fish and seafood. I think my favorite appetizer there is the Escargot that is sautéed in garlic, wine and herbs. They also have the most extensive and tantalizing wine list in the Finger Lakes!
Recently I was able to head over to Seneca Lake to pick up a set of horseshoes that I won at a local charity event that was hosted by Hazlitt Vineyards benefiting under-privileged children in Schuyler County whose parents/guardians weren’t able to give them any holiday presents. I love going to the Seneca Santa benefit; they always offer great wine and excellent music and the bonus is that it is almost always on my birthday!
Since I was already on the East side of Seneca Lake, I stopped into the new distillery, Finger Lakes Distilling. It is a breathtaking building with a great view of Seneca Lake. I was so amazed when I walked in to the building; the ceiling is painted a magnificent crimson red with a canoe hanging from it. They carried a great line-up of products; I even bought a t-shirt, koozie and the Maplejack Liqueur. The liquor starts out as an apple brandy made from New York apples. It is aged in a bourbon barrel and sweetened with local maple syrup. I was thinking about putting it on my pancakes!
I really pride myself on the local experience, immersing myself in many local activities or places that are very popular for the locals. Just a couple of weeks ago, I was at the Corning Museum of Glass for their 2300º monthly series. Named for the temperature of their glassblowing demonstrations, these FREE public events feature glassblowing demos, live music and plenty of food with different themes each month. The March theme was “The day after St. Patrick’s Day” with the Town Pants (one of my favorite bands). They totally rocked the house!!! While there I drank the Pinot Noir Reserve from McGregor Winery (east side of Keuka Lake), great job John McGregor!
So, if you plan on visiting the Finger Lakes regions and don’t really know where to begin, stop into Heron Hill Winery and spend some time at the tasting bar with me. I’m more than willing to give you any advice on where to go, what to do and where to stay! Feel free to e-mail me or call me as I am out there are willing to tell you as much as I possibly know. I am a HUGE promoter of the Finger Lakes Region and want everyone to visit the most beautiful (wine) region in the entire world!!!