Best for Adults

Last year, when Carol Fingar of the Seneca County Chamber of Commerce set out to invent a signature event that would showcase the Finger Lakes region’s restaurants and wineries, Finger Lakes Cork & Fork was born.

Chef Suzanne Stack, Suzanne Fine Regional Cuisine, Lodi

This year’s foodie extravaganza will bring together more than 60 of the region’s agricultural, viticultural and culinary stars in an interactive “field to feast” event that offers demos by wineries and chefs, tastings and an opportunity to purchase everything needed for your favorite dishes, including accompanying wine.

Finger Lakes Cork & Fork begins on Friday, September 16 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. with the “Partners and Pairings” VIP event, a fundraiser in memory of  the beloved Red Newt Cellars Winery & Bistro Chef and Co-owner, Debra Whiting, who recently passed away in a tragic auto accident.

The Partners and Pairings evening will feature regional chefs and winemakers offering 15 pairings of Finger Lakes wines or beers and Tapas prepared with a bounty of local produce.  There will also be a lively assortment of regional cheeses, dips, veggies and salsas at tasting stations. Guests can mingle to the sounds of  live jazz by the Cool Club of Hector, they will be able to purchase wine by the bottle and they can also participate in a silent auction sponsored by and benefiting the Finger Lakes Culinary Bounty.

Montezuma Winery’s Booth

Tickets to this event are $50 (advance purchase only) and are limited to 250 people so guests will enjoy dedicated time with the winemakers and chefs. Each attendee will receive a commemorative re-usable shopping bag, glass and plate.   A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Food Bank of the Southern Tier in honor of Debra Whiting.  Attendees are also invited to bring a donation of non-perishable goods to be donated to the same Food Bank, which was one of Ms. Whiting’s interests.  Donor’s names will be entered into a drawing for an “Epicurean Experience Giveaway” that includes overnight accommodations, Calphalon Cookware, an assortment of Finger Lakes delicacies and a surprise from Mackenzie Childs.

Chef John McNabb, Knapp Vineyards Restaurant

At Saturday’s Main Event, in addition to the opportunity to taste and purchase wine, beer and participating chef’s signature dishes, guests will be treated to “Preparing and Pairing” seminars where a food producer or farmer will team up with a local winery and chef to demo the creation of a dish using local ingredients. Participating chefs include 2011 James Beard semi-finalist Suzanne Stack from Suzanne Fine Regional Cuisine, Chef John McNabb from Knapp Winery & Vineyard Restaurant and Mary Reed, personal chef and editor of Tastes of Wine Country. There will also be short seminars on subjects like “Pairing Principles,” “Proper Wine Tasting”, “CSAs”, “Chocolate Making”, “Eating for Allergies” and “Canning Techniques.”

Tickets for the Main Event on Saturday, September 17 are $25 in advance or $30 at the door. The first 1250 attendees will receive a commemorative re-usable shopping bag, glass and plate.  Guests who bring non-perishable food items that will be donated to the non-profit organization, House of Concern and will have a chance to win the “Epicurean Experience Giveaway” described above.

Both the Friday Partners and Pairing VIP Event and the Saturday Main Event will be held at the Rodman Lott & Son Farms located at 2973 State Route 414, Seneca Falls, NY.

CLICK HERE  to order tickets to either the Friday night Partners & Pairing VIP Event or to the Saturday Main Event.

All photos courtesy of the Seneca County Chamber of Commerce and Finger Lakes Cork and Fork.


The Finger Lakes are well-known for their Riesling Wines

Although the Finger Lakes region has many delightful wines, it is often thought of as Riesling Country because this region wins so many awards in this wine category.  If you are a lover of Riesling wines (or wine tasting in general), be sure to visit Finger Lakes Wine Country to check out the many events planned, and the  winery and restaurant promotions celebrating this popular wine.  If you’re thinking of staying overnight, don’t overlook the many package deals on Keuka and Seneca Lake as well as those south of the Finger Lakes.  This link on their database can also help you identify the wineries that specialize in Riesling wines.

Jeff "Beachbum" Berry

The Finger Lakes is so well-known for its wine that we sometimes forget what a great region it is for other beverages such as beer and…cocktails!  In fact, one of the most famous international purveyors of cocktail ingredients is a company that started on North Water Street in Rochester almost 150 years ago. The four Fee brothers who originally owned the company – Owen, John, James and Joseph – used the slogan “The House of Fee by the Genesee since eighteen hundred and sixty-three.”  The business began as a liquor store and winery, but in the 1950’s, the family discontinued alcohol sales and began to focus exclusively on cocktail mixes, bitters, flavoring syrups and beverage products.

Today, Joe Fee and his sister Ellen own and operate Fee Brothers. When asked what it is like to run a company over 150 years old, Joe replied, “It’s a hoot!” at the same time as he wondered whether his ancestors would say “What is he doing?!”

Joe went on to share the history of bitters which were originally invented by a British Doctor in the 1800’s who was treating malaria. He developed bitters, derived from the angostura plant as a way to entice his patients to eat by stimulating their digestive juices – and it worked. One evening when he went back to his tent to relax, he saw his bottle of gin and, out of curiosity, added several drops of bitters to his drink…and a new drink was born. Ever since, bartenders have been adding bitters to alcoholic drinks to give them a distinctive background note of flavor.

Simon Ford has trained bartenders and opened bars across the globe

When Prohibition became entrenched in the U.S., from 1920 to 1933, many seasoned bartenders moved abroad, and the art of the cocktail disappeared from the U.S. for many years.  Once the internet became robust around the mid-1990s the Classic Cocktail Movement arose and cocktails returned as an art form.  They then slowly evolved into today’s growing international “Craft Cocktails” Movement. In this environment,  micro distilleries have flourished, as have the Fee Brothers and their products. To answer the international, and now domestic, demand for new and creative drinks, the Fee Brothers have grown their line to include such delicacies as peach, celery, mint, cherry, lemon and rhubarb bitters. Joe calls their products as “the spice rack behind the bar.”

This craft cocktail phenomenon has also given rise to a new career… that of celebrity mixologist, prompting the Fee Brothers to bring in three “shaker jockeys,” as they’re often called, for a 2-part event that will give new meaning to the expression “cocktail party.”

On Tuesday,  March 29 from 12:30 to 3 p.m. celebrity mixologists Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, Simon Ford and Allen Katz will give a Masters Level Class for bartenders on the topic of “International Trends in the Craft Cocktail

Allen Katz, host of "The Cocktail Hour" on Martha Stewart's Radio Station

Movement.” Berry is the world expert on Tiki drinks, Ford is a guru on training bartenders and has opened bars across the globe and Katz is host of The Cocktail Hour, a weekly program on Martha Stewart’s Sirius Satellite Radio.

That evening, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., the public will have the opportunity to hang out with the three cocktail specialists while sampling a variety of showcase cocktails, noshing on “heavy hors d’oeuvres” by Madelines Catering, groovin’ to the music of Club and Radio DJ, Sgt. Pepper, and bidding on a fabulous selection of silent auction items.  Both of these events will take place in the intoxicating surroundings of ARTISANworks, and proceeds will be donated to ARC of Monroe, whose clients hand wrap and label the Fee Brothers’ products.

ARTISANworks is located at 565 Blossom Road, Rochester.  Tickets for the “International Trends in the Craft Cocktail Movement” Master Class are $30. Tickets for the evening extravaganza are $45, and if you would like to attend both events, the fee is $70.  CLICK HERE to purchase tickets or call 1 (800) 961-3337 to order via phone.

For information on ARTISANworks, read the Finger Lakes Travel Maven’s post, “ARTISANworks, an Art Lover’s Treasure Hunt.”


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I know there are a lot of foodies out there who love cheese because of the number of visitors reading my post on last year’s October Artisinal Cheese Open House.  Now cheese and wine lovers will rejoice to hear that the Finger Lakes Cheese Trail is pairing with the Keuka Lake Wine Trail in what promises to be a delectable weekend that’s sure to please every foodie’s palate!

Attendees await a delightful wine and cheese pairing at each winery

On April 9 and 10, participants on this Artisan Cheese and Wine Weekend on the Keuka Lake Wine Trail will receive a souvenir glass, food and artisan cheese samples as well as 32 wines to taste along the trail. They’ll also have the opportunity to meet the cheese makers, learn about the process by which the cheese is made and purchase samples of their favorites! All ticket holders will also be entered to win a one-night stay for two at the charming Inn at Esperanza Mansion, a sightseeing cruise aboard the Esperanza Rose, and a bottle of wine from each winery on the Keuka Lake Wine Trail.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and ticket prices are $25 for participants or $18.75 for designated drivers. On Sunday, the day starts at 11 a.m. and runs through 5 p.m. and tickets are $19 for participants and $14.25 for designated drivers. They may be purchased through the Keuka Lake Wine Trail, at your local Wegmans service desk or by calling 1(800) 440-4898.

To read the full press release, visit Finger Lakes Wine Country.

The snow in the northeast is slowly melting, and spring is just around the corner! If you’re in the mood to celebrate its arrival with a getaway, take a look at the variety of packages you can enjoy in the Finger Lakes region. One of the things the region is known for is its variety of activities where you can indulge in everything from wine trailing and cooking courses, to horseback riding and history.  Our golf courses are acclaimed and we have cultural activities that will appeal to everyone from the youngest member of your group to the most senior.

  1. Enjoy a jacuzzi while indulging in the Savannah House Inn's Wine Making/Cooking Class Getaway

    Wine Making/Cooking Class Getaway at The Savannah House Inn on beautiful Seneca Lake – Includes 2 nights lodging, a bottle of wine upon arrival, a wine making or cooking class of choice at the New York Wine and Culinary Center. Rates: Queen Room – $399, Deluxe Suite with Jacuzzi – $499, Lake Front Cottage – $675, For two couples – $775. (Note: during summer, cottages are rented on a weekly basis). Himrod.

  2. Wine and Spirit: Rituals, Remedies and Revelry Package at the Genesee Country Inn -Plan an overnight stay in one of the Old Mill Rooms at the Genessee Country Inn with early check-in and late check-out and receive  2 adult tickets to see Wine and Spirit: Rituals, Remedies and Revelry at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester.  Dinner at the Caledonia Village Inn is included in your stay.  Package is valid through April 30, 2011, all for $250. (For review of exhibit, see “Indulge in Wine and Spirit at the Memorial Art Gallery”). Mumford.
  3. For Men Only Package for Romancing Your Lady at Wicker Garden Bed & Breakfast -Rekindle the romance with your special lady.  For best results, be sure to reserve the Rose Suite, with its whirlpool tub built for two! Ask for Men’s Romance Package to add a flower arrangement, breakfast in bed, dinner reservations, candlelight & music turn down service, chocolates, plush chenille robes. You may also wish to add a gift certificate for two at a nearby romantic Italian restaurant, a custom picnic for two, available year-round. Package Rates start at $230 plus room taxes for the Rose Suite. Auburn.
  4. The History Buff Special at the Federal House Bed & Breakfast – History lovers will enjoy a weekend delving into the rich past of our area. Stay two nights in one of the Miller rooms dating from the 1840’s. Learn about the Brigham Young and William Seward connection here, then visit Auburn for your personal tour of the Seward House, tickets provided. Stop at the Harriet Tubman home.  After breakfast visit the old cemetery where the Revolutionary war soldier, Thomas Ludlow is buried along with soldiers and residents from the Civil War era to present day. In downtown Ithaca, stop at the History Center in Tompkins County, followed by shopping and dining on Ithaca Commons. $300 for Abijah or Frances Miller rooms or $398 for the Lincoln Room or Seward Suite for two nights’ stay, double occupancy. Lansing.
  5. Horseback Riding Special at The Glass Magnolia Bed & Breakfast – A delightful getaway for the outdoor lover and horse back riding aficionado! Two Nights lodging for 2 people, 1 Hour Instructional Horseback Trail ride, Full Buffet Breakfast each morning, Self Guided Wine Tour & Tasting (purchase of Alcoholic Beverages not included), Amish/Mennonite Shopping, Dinner for 2 at a local fine Restaurant. $399 per couple weekdays (Sunday – Thursday), $529 per couple weekends. Interlaken.
  6. Family Fun Package at Woodcliff Hotel & Spa – The whole family can enjoy a getaway at one of the region’s premiere hotels, including overnight accommodations (5 people max per room), two breakfast buffet coupons (children under 13 eat free), family pack of passes to the National Museum of Play, Rochester Museum & Science Center, Seneca Park Zoo, Seabreeze Amusement Park, or Roseland Waterpark (last two choices, in season only), in room snacks, variety of pretzels, potato chips, Rice Krispie treats & Reese’s Peanut Butter cups. Starting a $179. Fairport.
  7. A wine tour package from Inn on the Main is a great way to see the Finger Lakes region

    Wine Tour Package at The Inn on the Main – Your wine touring package includes an experienced driver who knows the Finger Lakes region at its best!  Package offers 2 Nights Accommodations (Double Occupancy), 5 hr. Winery Tour in Quality Wine Tours Town Car (suitable for two), complimentary gift basket with cheese/crackers, complimentary souvenir wine glasses, $50 Dining Certificate (valid at one of several fine area restaurants). Pricing: From $645- $755 (includes tour taxes and $45 driver gratuity). We can arrange for up to 4 couples with a larger luxury vehicles (Pricing for larger vehicle would be adjusted in packaging). Canandaigua.

  8. Couples Golf Getaway Package – Spring is just around the corner, so let the Dobbersteins help you customize your golf package getaway! Stay 2 nights, golf at one of 4 quality golf courses (Ravenwood Golf Course, Reservoir Creek Golf Course, Parkview Fairways, CenterPointe Golf Course), 18 holes plus cart, a $50 dinner certificate from one of 4 area restaurants and a free wine tasting at a local Finger Lakes Winery. A perfect get away! Package price starts at: Monday – Thursday $199 per person, plus tax, Friday – Sunday $237 per person, plus tax. Prices vary based on room choice, day of week, and golf course preference.  Package based on double occupancy, room and tee time availability. Bloomfield.

Top photo courtesy of Savannah House Inn

When Ed Kwiek’s sister gave him a wine making kit 12 years ago, I bet she never dreamed it would launch her brother’s second career following his retirement from IBM.  After making his first batch of wine, he was hooked. The one concord grape vine that twined so gracefully along the trellis in his back yard inspired him to plant 50 more by year 2000, and now he’s up to 100. Although he has all the necessary equipment in his cellar, complete with a 750 bottle wine rack, wine making is strictly a hobby and he reserves the 500 or so bottles he makes for the pleasure of family and friends. The business he started on Ground Hog’s Day three years ago is consulting on backyard vineyards.

Ed Kwiek's 3-part course begins at NYWCC March 12

I learned of Ed when I discovered a 3-part course he’s teaching at the New York Wine and Culinary Center called “The Backyard Vineyard,” so I gave him a buzz to learn more about this fascinating business that is such a perfect fit for the Finger Lakes Region.

“When I had friends over and invited them into my back yard where I have a vineyard about two blocks long leading to a small fruit orchard, they were always so interested about the vineyard, that I began giving advice. Then I approached the Wine and Culinary Center about teaching a class there. The class was very popular and they asked me to develop a course.”

The first class led to a full-fledge consulting business called Woods Wine Backyard Vineyard Consulting that has attracted clients from the Finger Lakes region, the Hudson Valley, the Thousand Islands, Ohio and even Maryland to learn how to cultivate a backyard vineyard.

“I usually do private consulting in my home, but sometimes I travel. My client from the Thousand Islands came, picked me up in his plane and flew me to his island,” Ed laughed. “He’s planting 500 vines.”

Over the years, Ed has planted about 8 or 9 different varieties of grapes, but the three he’s settled on for his wines are hearty Cornell hybrids including Traminette, Corot Noir and Noiret. The traminette produces a light white wine with a fruity finish that’s good for the summer. The Corot Noir offers a tasty all-purpose red wine that offers a hint of black cherry, and the Noiret delivers a hearty red with black pepper overtones, similar to Shiraz, that’s good for winter.

Unfortunately, his clients never get to sample his wines.

“I’m very strict about that,” Ed stated. “I don’t have a permit to serve wine and if I served wine, I’d risk losing my whole business.”

Although Ed prefers to consult and offer classes in his home where he can give a tour of his vineyards and his wine making facilities, he will also do consulting over the phone and via email, as he did with the client from Maryland.  Ed’s product is knowledge and he doesn’t provide the labor, but he often works alongside a crew to make sure the process goes smoothly.

“From the diagrams sent by my client in Maryland, I learned that the backyard was very shady, so he ended up having to de-limb some of the trees, and some clients have to cut some down to put in a backyard vineyard if the yard is too shady. I tell people it’s like family…you can’t always pick your backyards,” he jokes.

“This is the  best job,” he exclaimed. “Consulting on vineyards is like delivering flowers. People are always excited to see you show up!”

Ed’s “Backyard Vineyard” course at the New York Wine and Culinary Center is given in three parts and those who are interested may take one, two or all three of the following classes:

  1. Backyard Vineyard: Introduction and Planning – Saturday, March 12 from 9 a.m. – 12 Noon.  $45
  2. Backyard Vineyard II: Installing and Maintaining Your Vineyard – Saturday, March 26 from 9 a.m. – 12 Noon.  $45.
  3. Backyard Vineyard III: Harvest, Crush, Fermentation and Press – Saturday, April 9 from 9 a.m. t0 12 Noon. $45.

Those who take all three classes will receive a $15 discount and a Certificate from the NYWCC, located at 800 South Main Street, Canandaigua.

For a man who aspired to become a vintner but who was concerned about the investment needed to launch a winery, starting a backyard vineyard consulting business was the perfect way to have his wine and drink it too!

If you are interested in consultation on planting your backyard vineyard, Ed suggests you check out his website and blog, then call him at (585) 730-2681.

Photos and video courtesy of Ed Kwiek.

When people think of visiting wineries in the Finger Lakes, they often look at the calendars for the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, the Cayuga Wine Trail, the Keuka Lake Wine Trail or the Canandaigua Wine Trail, which are always great resources for trail events as well as activities held at the individual wineries. But many also do off-site tastings as well that may not appear on the wine trail calendars.

Heron Hill Wine Club Members will enjoy a winery tour and barrel tasting in the cellar

I was reminded of this when I received an email Tuesday from my friend Kitty Oliver who is Heron Hill‘s Marketing & PR Director.   Heron Hill’s events calendar is just packed with winery activities as well as off-site tastings for those who’d like to sample wines when their travels can’t take them to Hammondsport, so be sure to take a look at it for events near you.

Here are a couple of their featured events for Spring, Summer and Fall that take place at the winery:

Heron Hill Wine Club Barrel Tasting & Tour – April 30, 2011 and May 7, 2011,12:00 – 3:00 pm
Heron Hill welcomes all Wine Club members to join Bernard Cannac, Winemaker at Heron Hill Winery for an afternoon at the winery on Keuka Lake! Enjoy barrel tastings in the cellar, a tour of the vineyard and lunch provided by the Blue Heron Café. This is a free event for Wine Club members and reservations are required. Visit or call 800-441-4241 for more information.

Meet Author Evan Dawson at Sign and Swirl

Sign & Swirl with Author, Evan Dawson – May 21, 2011, 1:00 – 4:00 pm

Join local Author, Evan Dawson and Owner/Grapegrower, John Ingle for a book signing event at Heron Hill Winery on Keuka Lake! Evan Dawson is the Managing Editor and Finger Lakes Editor of the New York Cork Report, the two-time winner of the award for Best Single-Subject Wine Blog. Evan’s debut book, Summer in a Glass: The Coming of Age of Winemaking in the Finger Lakes is the result of spending two years on the road, in the cellars and in the vineyards with these talented men and women. Evan tells their deeply personal stories in a way that stitches the new, emerging story of the region together. Sample complimentary appetizers provided by the Blue Heron Café. Enjoy wine tastings in the tasting hall and in celebration of May is Riesling Month, vertical tastings of Ingle Vineyard Riesling will also be available. Bring your copy of Summer in a Glass or purchase it at the winery and take home a signed souvenir that represents a part of Finger Lakes winemaking history.
Music on the Blue Heron Café Terrace Series
Sip, eat, relax & enjoy live music by local musicians on the Blue Heron Café terrace overlooking beautiful Keuka Lake!
Sundays from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. 

  • July 3 – Bruce Holler
  • July 10 – Matt Cross
  • July 17 – PJ Elliott
  • July 24 – Mike Cavalier
  • July 31 – Bruce Holler
  • Enjoy the beauty of Heron Hill at their music series

    August 7 – Mike Cavalier

  • August 14 – PJ Elliot
  • August 21 – Brett Beardslee
  • August 28 – Bruce Holler
  • September 4 – Brett Beardslee
  • September 11 – PJ ElliotSeptember 18 – Matt Cross
Tunes in the Tent Series
Sip, eat, relax & enjoy live music by local musicians in the tent overlooking beautiful Keuka Lake!
Sundays from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.
  • September 25 – Crosseyed Cats
  • October 2 – The Movers
  • October 9 – Virgil Cain
  • October 16 – Keuka Katz
  • October 23 – The Bill Thompson Band
  • October 30 – Buford & Smokin’ Section
All of the above events take place at Heron Hill Winery, located at  9301 County Route 76 in Hammondsport. For more information, visit or call 800-441-4241 for more information.
Photos courtesy of Heron Hill Winery

P.S. Did you also know that Heron Hill has these two addition tasting rooms in locations other than Hammondsport?


Seneca Lake Spring, Summer & Fall Hours Winter Hours
3586 Route 14 Monday – Saturday 10-5pm Friday & Saturday 10-5pm
Himrod, NY 14842 Sunday 12-5pm Sunday 12-5pm
(607) 243-7109 Starting May 1st Starting November 30th Closed 12/24, 12/25, 12/31 and 1/1


Bristol (Canandaigua Lake) Spring, Summer & Fall Hours Winter Hours
5323 Seneca Point Rd. Monday – Saturday 10-5pm Call ahead
Canandaigua, NY 14424 Sunday 12-5pm
(585) 394-0173 Closed 12/24, 12/25, 12/31 and 1/1

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