EP 978 Finger Lakes Wine Tasting

Gary Vaynerchuk tastes 3 interesting wines from the Finger Lakes of New York. This is a winemaking region that Gary feels doesn’t get enough respect and wants to shed more light on.

Wines tasted in this episode:

2008 Herman Wiemer Semi Dry RieslingNew York Riesling
2008 Dr. Konstantin Frank RkatsiteliNew York White Meritage
2008 Ravines Riesling DryNew York Riesling

Links mentioned in todays episode.

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luca bercelli


Lines of the day – ‘Pass overall but on a nerd level…a must try’ and ‘Smells like happy hugs’

Absolutely hilarious story about when GV was young and driving with his family. Grandma used to insist in pulling over whenever she saw ‘Root St John’ (Zlitaboy?) so they could stuff bags full of it.

Tags: Finger Lake, new york state, review, Video, white, wine, wines

Episodes >

  • Zveroboy, zveroboy – Thank you @GaryVee for presenting local / GREAT wines. Hope we can see soon Episode about Michigan wines. Great to know what is new. Until we ask wine store about wines like NY or MI, it’s hard to find it locally.


  • I’m from Corning NY (just south of the fingers) but I’m not a huge white fan. I wish you had tried the regular Rieisling from the Dr. It’s pretty good.

    QOTD – My favorite thing about NY is NYC, where I live.

  • Anonymous

    Ran into a wine show in Old Forge in the Adirondacks last fall, a whole lot of “sweet” wines. Two serious winemakers there (not on your show) with good wines. I think it is a maturing region, like Ontario 10 years ago, like Texas hill country now. As the vineyards get older and winemakers get better things will just improve.

    QOTD: My girlfriend lives in Rome, NY.

  • QOTD: for someone who grew up in Rochester, I am a huge fan of the Finger Lakes and my favorite thing is autumn on the lakes. If you have never done a trip to Cayuga or Seneca Lake wineries, you are missing out.

    I have been extremely impressed with the continued quality out of the region, but with us now living in California, it is a little hard to track down a random bottle or two.

    Great show.

  • Anonymous

    Lake George. And never tried a NY reisling. Will put it on my to do list.

  • Anonymous

    Great show for one of my favorite places. I went to Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY at the Northern tip of Seneca Lake, and spent many Saturdays cruising from winery to winery with friends–really, this is where my whole love of wine started. The Rkatsiteli is generally less acidic than Gewurz/Riesling in my experience, having tasted Dr. Frank’s 05, 06, 07, 08 and 09 versions.

    For those interested, I strongly encourage a visit–as a long weekend destination, it is inexpensive, stunningly gorgeous, completely unpretentious, and culturally rich. While the white wines truly shine, 2007 produced some very nice old-world style Cabernet Francs, Lembergers, and even Pinot Noirs, so red fans can in fact find many worthwhile bottles, especially if you’re into earthy/peppery/minerally style and eschew the fruit bombs–granted, reds don’t come without a generally higher price given the difficulty growing in FL. Some wineries to try that haven’t been mentioned yet:

    Billsboro (their 07 Cab Franc and Pinot Noir remain my favorite FL wines ever, whites included)
    Heron Hill
    Red Tail Ridge
    Chateau Lafayette Reneau
    Damiani Cellars

    Outstanding restaurants to visit:
    Red Dove Tavern in Geneva, NY (fantastic beer and wine selection, great local food)
    Port’s Cafe on Rt. 14S just outside of Geneva (don’t let the name “Cafe” fool you–this is seriously delicious food in an intimate but not stuffy setting)
    Halsey’s in Geneva, NY (another great wine list, good cocktails as well)
    Just a Taste Tapas and Wine Bar in Ithaca, NY (great wine list, as would be suggested by the name)

    As a bonus, fly into Rochester, NY and go to Good Luck Restaurant (sounds like a Chinese takeout place–but far from it) on your way to or from the Finger Lakes–or check out the many boutique shops and food purveyors on Park Ave (including the excellent Wine Sense store).

    Man…this is making me miss life in the Finger Lakes…

    QOTD: My very small hometown in upstate NY. Wouldn’t move back, but would never change being from there.

  • Good show, Gary. I appreciate the Finger Lakes love, but it’s always from the same players. Weimer and Frank are great producers, but Red Newt Cellars and Inspire Moore deserve some love. Red Newt’s been doing it right in the wine scene for a long time now (PS Dave Whiting is a good dude and would be great for the show). Inspire Moore is a newer winery that’s bringing some California mentality to upstate NY (making wine, not novelty items). They have a breadth of interesting wines. The one I took home was a Syrah Cab (75/25) that was delicious with an intriguing grapefruit note on the frontend. Check them both out, you won’t be disappointed.

  • Todd

    I have never had wine from the finger lakes area. Loved the part where the nose reminded you of picking plants with your family, that is what I love about wine, when a smell or taste just places you back in a specific moment in time!
    QOTD; I have not been quite yet, but I love the passion the state has for food and wine.

  • Anonymous

    It’s a shame it’s so rare to find New York wine in the UK – hardly ever get a chance to taste them.

    QOTD – Peter Lugers restaurant

  • Hey Gary

    Interesting show, thanks. I’ve never had a Riesling from NY State, but tried a Cabernet blend last time I was in the US. I can’t remember what it was, but it was pretty average…

    QOTD: Good question – as I’ve only left NYC once, my answer would have to be Hunter Mountain; some decent snow in a nice little, chilled out setting.


  • Chris

    Great show. Not been to the Finger Lakes, but spent 5 days in the Hudson River Valley.
    Brotherhood, Goose Watch, Adair, to name a few.

  • No kidding. Heck, its hard to find them down in NYC. The places that DO carry them tho, some of their best sellers hands down.

  • Just moved out to the Finger Lakes area from Washington State, and I have to say I am consistently amazed at the increasing quality of the wines coming from this region.

    QOTD: Still trying to decide. Only seen a small portion of the state so far, and have not been able to spend much time down in NYC. Finger Lakes is beautiful, and reminds of home in the PNW. I was worried I was going to have to have my Walla Walla favorites sent over, but so far, the local wines leave me more then satisfied.

  • FL Rieslings are for real. Herm Wiemer consistently shows what’s possible here, but loads of others are now doing it right too. Check out the Rieslings from Red Tail Ridge. I actually make about 20 gal of damn fine Riesling every year, but I’m becoming more interested in Traminette. Very fun gewurtz notes, more complex I think and has the same acidity as Riesling. I’ve been blending the two for my own alsatian garage blend…

    FYI: 2010 vintage will be best in long time. Excellent conditions, great fruit at harvest.

  • Oh, and for my answer to QOTD, begin reading at my fourth sentence below.

  • I think you mean Imagine Moore…in Naples, right? Fun place for a tasting.

  • That’s the one. I think they started as Inspire Moore and changed it to Imagine Moore. I tasted their wines at Wine on Ice, but hopefully will be able to stop in for another tasting.

    First place I’ve seen to successfully use Syrah in upstate NY.

  • GV, Thx
    Them Finger Lake whites have been growing on me.
    I wonder how good the 2010’s are going to be with the much warmer summer they had.

    No Doubt.. It’s NYC

  • Been drinking Finger Lakes NY Riesling for 20 years!! We go to Finger Lakes (mostly Seneca Lake) just about every year. Top notch and a great way to get quality wines for decent prices. Love buying from the winery direct!

  • Just went on a wine tour and visited 14 wineries along Seneca Lake. Having just turned 21 and not having much wine experience I found the Riesling to be the style I enjoyed the most so I was glad to see you saying they were legit. My three Favorite were Fox Run, Glenora, and Miles. Definitely worth checking out. Also, a woman at one of the wineries said 2010 is going to be bringing the thunder so that should be something to look forward to.

    What do I love about NY? The garbage plate, not sure what wine it pairs with though

  • luca bercelli


    Lines of the day – ‘Pass overall but on a nerd level…a must try’ and ‘Smells like happy hugs’

    Absolutely hilarious story about when GV was young and driving with his family. Grandma used to insist in pulling over whenever she saw ‘Root St John’ (Zlitaboy?) so they could stuff bags full of it.


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