Canandaigua NY

When the late Barbara Adams, former Executive Director of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, came up with the idea of the Golden Nose Award, her goal was always for it to encompass all of the Finger Lakes Wine Trails, according to Shannon Brock, Wine Coordinator at the New York Wine & Culinary Center.

During the competition, judges typically taste between 25 and 30 different wines

In the first years, it was primarily the wineries of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail that participated. After the event went on hiatus for one year, the New York Wine and Culinary Center took it over in 2010, and the dream of a regional event came true.

The Golden Nose Award is an annual event designed to give wine enthusiasts an opportunity to learn about wines at the elbows of some of the region’s finest winemakers. After an intensive session where participants are taught the “ins and outs” of tasting, spitting and assessing wine, the newly-trained   judges will be separated into panels of four or five individuals and paired with a pro. Each panel then evaluates 25 to 30 wines.   This year, over 200 wines will be showcased representing all four Finger Lakes Wine Trails. This is the only consumer contest of this sort on the entire East Coast.

The event “officially” starts with an informal social on Friday, June 3 with a Golden Nose Meet-and-Greet kitchen social from 7 – 9 p.m.  Saturday morning kicks off with registration, continental breakfast, then the following schedule:

9:00-9:30am: Judge Welcome and Introduction to Judging Session
9:30-11:20am: Judge Training
11:20am-12:00pm: Buffet Lunch
12:00pm-4:00pm: Golden Nose Competition
4:00pm-5:00pm: Riesling Champion Judging
7:00pm-9:00pm: Golden Nose Award Celebration

“One of the first sessions will be on wine spitting,” shared Shannon Brock. “Most people aren’t very comfortable with it at first, but if you’re tasting as many as 25 wines, you better learn how to spit!” she laughed.

New judges are paired with seasoned pros to assess the wines, and majority rules!

During the wine tasting, the judges will select first, second and third place in multiple categories.  Majority opinion rules.

“Most people come in with an idea of what they like,” Shannon explained.  “This event opens their minds and teaches them how to evaluate other types of wine.”

Because the Finger Lakes region is so well known for its Riesling, there is a  separate award for Rieslings, and most wineries would love to win the coveted first place award in this category.  In 2010, it was Thirsty Owl Wine Company that walked away with the Gold Golden Nose Award in the Riesling Category.

The fee for the entire event, including the Meet-and-Greet Kitchen Social, the training, lunch, dinner and the tastings is $250. The New York Wine and Culinary Center has been able to expand the number of judges over last year’s number, but as of this post, there are only 16 “Beginning Judge” seats left, and 19 “Returning Judge” seats, so if you’re interested, better sign up quickly!

The New York Wine and Culinary Center is located at 800 South Main Street in Canandaigua.  For participants coming in from out-of-town who need lodging, there are plenty of nearby hotel, motel and B&B accommodations.

P.S. If you’d like to join in the award celebration on Saturday night, tickets are $ 40 and may be purchased online.


When I lived in New York, one of the men I worked with raised orchids. His orchids had their own room, he loved them so much. He assured me most varieties were not difficult to raise.

Many varieties will be on display at Sonnenberg's Annual Orchid Show

When I walk past these lovely flowers in a florist or at Wegmans, I’m always tempted to try my hand at raising one, in spite of having  what I call ‘a purple thumb.’

If you, like I, are attracted to orchids, you’ll want to put Sonnenberg Garden’s Annual Orchid Show on your calendar. This show will be in bloom within Sonnenberg’ Garden’s historic Lord & Burnham greenhouse complex Friday, March 4 through Sunday, March 6 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.  You’ll delight in a wide array of these exotic blooms, including Phalaenopsis, Paphiopedilums, colorful Cattleyas and Cymbidiums and delicate Dendrobiums and more.

The show will also offer you the opportunity to take a seminar on orchid care Saturday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., and on Sunday at 2 p.m. Orchid growers, including Joe Kunisch of Bloomfield Orchids of Pittsford, will be on hand throughout the weekend to answer your questions. A variety of orchids will be on sale in the Sonnenberg Gift Shop.

On Friday, Sonnenberg Garden’s Executive Director and horticultural expert David Hutchings will be on hand to re-pot your plants for a donation.  And while at the show, be sure to stop by Sonnenberg’s Gift Shop, where you can enjoy a wine tasting, served from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

Admission to the Annual Orchid Show is $5 and goes to benefit Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. For more information, visit Sonnenberg Gardens’ website or call (585) 394-4922.

Sonnenberg Gardens is located at 151 Charlotte Street in Canandaigua.

On Saturday February 12, you can give your sweetheart a gift he or she will long remember at Granger Homestead & Carriage Museum! You’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back in time as you cozy up under warm blankets on your horse-drawn sleigh ride in one of the museum’s historic sleighs. When the ride’s over, you’ll receive a long-stem rose for the lady and a box of delicious chocolates to share.  The sleigh ride fee is $50 per couple and ride slots are available between 12:30 and 4 p.m.

Cuddle up with your sweetheart on a romantic horse-drawn sleigh ride

Don’t forget that you can pop by Granger Homestead on Sundays between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to take a fun 10-minute  jaunt around the grounds in a one horse open sleigh. Although the Mansion and Carriage Museum are closed for the winter, be sure to take time to explore the charming town of Canandaigua after your sleigh ride where many of the shops and restaurants are open for business. Sunday rides are $5 for adults and $3 for children.

Granger Homestead and Carriage Museum is located at 295 North Main Street in Canandaigua, NY.

Photo courtesy of Granger Homestead.

Learn about the history of Rochester’s major parks and how to develop your own garden design at Sonnenberg Garden & Mansion‘s all-day seminar.  This symposium will be held in the Carriage House meeting room at Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion State Historic Park in Canandaigua from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 29.

Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion in Summer

The morning session, “Early Development of Rochester’s Flower City,” will feature Beverly Gibson, Horticulturalist of the Landmark Society of WNY, who will discuss the design and development of Rochester’s Highland Park and Durand Eastman Park.  She will also highlight the establishment of the Ellwanger Estate and the Harris Seed Company, the key foundations in making Rochester the Flower City of the USA.

The afternoon session, “Principles of Garden Design,” will be led by Sonnenberg’s Executive Director and Horticulturist, David Hutchings, who will be assisted by Sonnenberg Garden volunteers.  Participants will learn how to design a new landscape around their home for the spring.  Supplies list available upon registration.

Reservations are $18/person, or $15/ Sonnenberg members, and the seminar cost includes hot soup and a beverage served at the lunch hour (bring a sandwich, if desired).  Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion Historic State Park is located at 151 Charlotte Street in Canandaigua, NY.

For more information or to make your reservation, call (585) 394-4922 during business hours (9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. M- F).

Photo courtesy of Sonnenberg Gardens and Finger Lakes Visitors Connection.

If you want to become an expert or simply expand your knowledge of New York’s wines, don’t miss this one-day New York Wine Camp being offered by the New York Wine and Culinary Center on Saturday, January 29 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the NYWCC Wine Spectator Educational Theater.

Discover New York's Finest Wines

You’ll experience the same training the New York Wine and Culinary Staff receives as instructors Cheryl Pitti and Lorraine Hems give you a guided sipping tour, where you’ll compare the region’s specialties to those in other parts of the world.  You’ll discover the best food and wine pairings  and learn about tasting techniques, service and storage of wine.  You’ll also enjoy a gourmet lunch prepared by chefs at the Culinary Center.
The class fee of $115 includes your class materials, the opportunity to sample over 20 fine wines and to enjoy a delicious lunch.  You’ll receive the NYWCC’s Certificate of Completion after taking this course.
Class size is limited so Click Here Now to Register! 

The New York Wine and Culinary Center is located at 800 South Main Street in Canandaigua, NY overlooking beautiful Canandaigua Lake.  For more information, call (585) 394-7070.

P.S. Think what a deliciously romantic birthday or early Valentine’s Day gift this would be for your favorite sweetheart!

Don Stevens and Scott Mackey are the owners of Wick-edly Sent Soap and Candle Company in Canandaigua, NY.  They moved from Baltimore, MD five years ago for a change of pace.  Looking within a six hour radius of Baltimore, they selected Canandaigua for its charming home town feel, its proximity to Rochester and because of the flow of tourism.

Don Stevens and Scott Mackey, owners of Wick-edly Sent

There, they bought a building on Main Street, quickly became involved in the community, and re-launched their soap and candle company.  Now, they are the premiere all-natural soap and candle company in the Finger Lakes region.

In the basement of their store, they make all of their products by hand, using the finest all-natural ingredients.  One of the products they’re known for is their lusciously-scented soy candles, that burn longer (80-100 hours) and cleaner than other candles, and that come in beautiful decorative containers.  Be sure to check out their holiday-scented candles!

Wick-edly Sent offers a broad selection of all-natural products

Another item they’re known for is their olive oil soap.  Research has shown that olive oil is rich in antioxidents and actually good for the skin, but what I like about it this soap that it feels so luxurious.  Although the soap looks odd with its bumpy natural surface,  you’ll become a convert once you try it.

In addition to these products, Wick-edly Sent also carries a variety of other personal use and gift items such as  bath salts, body wash and body scrub, hand lotion, lip butters and even baby bath and body products.  An assortment of these items in trial-size with custom labels make wonderful gifts for shower and wedding favors!

If you’re looking for gift items, check out their assortment of gift sets.  One of my favorites that I received as a gift is their reed diffusers. You select the container that goes with your room and then select the scent that best matches the ambience you want to create. 

If you go into their store, you can also purchase jewelry, paintings by  local artists such as Karen Miller and other gift items that are not available online.

Wick-edly Sent is located at 94 S. Main Street in Canandaigua and is open Monday through Saturday 10 AM to 7 PM and Sunday Noon to 4PM.

Be sure to check out Wick-edly Sent’s holiday photo contest on Facebook.  Enter your holiday photo for a chance to win a case of vanilla cream holiday candles!

P.S.  If you are a retailer, contact Wick-edly Sent about wholesale to carry their products in your store.  If you have a lodging facility, consider them for your custom-label guest toiletries.

In spite of colder weather, the Finger Lakes region bustles with activities during the month of November. 

Discover a New Author at the Rochester Chlidren's Book Festival

Discover a New Author at the Rochester Chlidren's Book Festival

  1. Ongoing through Jan 18  – Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition at the Rochester Museum & Science Center – Adults $17, Seniors/College Students $15, Ages 3–18 $14, RMSC Members $5. Check website for extended hours during this exhibition. Rochester, NY.
  2. Ongoing through Jan 3 – Turner to Cezanne at the Everson Museum of Art  Tues.-Wed. Noon-6.00p.m., Thurs.-Fri. Noon-9p.m., Sat.-Sun. 9a.m. – 6.00p.m. Adults $15, Children under 18, Students, Seniors 65+ $12, Members $10. Syracuse, NY.
  3. Ongoing through Jan 3 – Paint Made Flesh at the Memorial Art Gallery – Wed.-Sun. 11 am–5 pm, Thurs. 11 am–9 pm. Adults $10,  Seniors/Active & reserve military personnel $6, college students w/ID and children 6–18, $5. Half-price general admission Thursdays 5–9 pm. Rochester, NY.
  4. Nov. 1 – Opening day of Tiffany Treasures: Favrile Glass from Special Collections and Tiffany Treasures: Design Drawings by Alice Gouvy and Lilian Palmié at Corning Museum of Glass. Exhibit runs through 2o1o. 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily. Adult $12.50, 55+ $11.25,Students w/ID $11.25, Military w/ID $11.25, AAA w/Card $10.60, Local Residents w/ID $5.00, Audio Guide $3.00, Kids & Teens (19 & under)Free, Museum Members Free. Corning, NY.
  5. Nov. 1 – Quilts = Art = Quilts at the Schweinfurth Museum – Tues. – Sat. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sun. 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. $6, members and children under 12 Free.  Auburn, NY.
  6. Nov. 1  – El Dia De Los Muertos Celebration  at the Rockwell Museum  – 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Adults (20-54) $6.50, 55+ $5.50, Students w/ID $5.50, AAA w/Card $5.50, Kids & Teens (19 & under) FREE. Corning, NY. 
  7. Through Nov. 8 – The Clean House at Geva.Time varies by performance. Single ticket pricing $22-$59 depending on day and seating preference.  Rochester, NY.
  8. Nov. 3-17 – Tabletop Tree and Holiday Wreath Display and Silent Auction at the George Eastman House. Adults $10, Seniors (60+) $8, Students $6, Children (5-12) $4, Under 5 Free.  Tues.-Sat. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Thurs. ’til 8 p.m., Sun. 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Rochester, NY.
  9. Nov. 6 – José Limón at Nazareth College Arts Center – 8 p.m. $35-$65. Rochester, NY.
  10. Nov. 6-7 – Artful Holidays by the Genesee Valley Council on the ArtsFri. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Donation of $3. Geneseo, NY.
  11. Nov. 7 – Christkindl Market Dinner Dance at Granger Homestead. 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. Featuring the Skycoasters. $25 per person. Canandaigua, NY.
  12. Nov. 7 – 2009 –  Rochester Children’s Book Festival 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Free. Rocheter, NY.
  13. Nov. 7 – Canandaigua Wine Walk – 4 p.m.- 7 p.m. $5 for commemorative wine glass. Canandaigua, NY.
  14. Nov. 7-8 Opening Weekend for Annual Dickens  Festival at Craft Antique Coop 10 a.m. Runs through December. Free.  Rochester, NY.
  15. Nov. 7-8 – Annual Fine Craft Show at the Memorial Art Gallery Sat. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. $10, students w/ID, $5. Includes Gallery admission.  Rochester, NY.
  16. Nov. 10-15 – Chicago at the Auditorium Theatre. Times vary. Tickets start at $135. Rochester, NY.
  17. Nov. 11 – Veteran’s Day Celebration with the RPO Pops7 p.m. $5, Free for first 1500 Veterans.  Click link for details. Blue Cross Arena, Rochester, NY.
  18. Nov. 11 – Canandaigua Treaty Day – 10:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. – Commemorations of the 1794 signing of the treaty between the United States and the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. FREE.  Bring a dish to pass if staying for dinner. Canandaigua, NY.
  19. Nov. 13 – Virsky Ukrainian National Dance Company at Nazareth College Arts Center 8 p.m. $30-$60. Rochester, NY.
  20. Nov. 13 – Dec. 6- Opening of the Festival of Trees at Granger Homestead. Adults $5, Seniors & Members $4, $1 Students K-12, Under age 5 no charge. Canandaigua, NY.
  21. Nov. 13-15 Christkindl Market at Granger Homestead. Fri. 1p.m.-7p.m., Sat. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Adults $6, children 12 and under Free. Look for $1 off coupon online.
  22. Nov. 14-15 – Crafts at Christmas at Genesee Country Village & Museum – 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. $20. Mumford, NY.
  23. Nov. 14-15, 21-22 Keuka Holidays I and II Times vary by winery. Advance Tickets: $35 per person; $55 per couple. Along Keuka Lake.
  24. Nov. 15 – Wayne County 10th Annual Bed & Breakfast Tour $10 advance sale and $13 after November 14th. Wayne County, NY.
  25. Nov. 18-Dec. 15 – Sweet Creations Gingerbread Display at the George Eastman House. Adults $10, Seniors (60+) $8, Students $6, Children (5-12) $4, Under 5 Free.  Tues.-Sat. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Thurs. ’til 8 p.m., Sun. 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Rochester, NY.
  26. Nov. 18-Dec. 27 – A Christmas Story at Geva Times vary by performance. Single ticket pricing $22-$59 depending on day and seating preference.  Rochester, NY.
  27. Nov. 20-2216th  Annual Holiday Shopping Spree on the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail.  Times vary by winery. Advance tickets: Single $35.00, Couple $50.00; Tickets at the door: Single $40.00, Couple $55.00; Designated Driver: Single $30.00, Couple $45.00. Along Cayuga Lake.
  28. Nov. 20-2218th Annual Deck the Hall Weekends on the Seneca Wine Trail – Friday 1p.m.-5p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m.-5p.m. $70 per couple, $58 per couple if one is designated driver, $48 per single, $36 per single designated driver. Along Seneca Lake.
  29. Nov. 21 – The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Eric Carle Favorites at Nazareth College Arts Center  2 pm & 4 pm. $12 -$17.
  30. Nov. 22 – Jigsaw Jones: The Case of the Class Clown at Nazareth College Arts Center – 2 pm & 4 pm. $12-$17. Rochester, NY.
  31. Nov. 25-Jan. 10 –  Lights on the Lake. 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. $8 per car every night; $6 per car Mon. & Tues. w/Wegmans Shoppers Card, $6 Disc. Tickets, good every night, available to purchase from November 1-24 at Wegmans, Heid’s of Liverpool and the Landmark Theatre. $24  minibus (17-25 capacity) $50 motorcoach. Liverpool, NY.
  32. Nov. 27 – 15th Annual Dickens in Skaneateles. Noon – 4 p.m., every Sat. & Sun. through Dec. 20, plus Noon – 3 p.m. on Dec. 24. Free. Skaneateles, NY.
  33. Nov. 27-29 Rochester City Ballet and Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra perform the Nutcracker. 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. $22-$62 depending on seating preference.  Rochester, NY.
  34. Nov. 28 – Parade of Lights in the Historic Gaffer District – 6:30 p.m. Free. Corning, NY.

 If you know of others, please share them with our readers!


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