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Early morning in Wellsville, by Melissa Scott

Sipping Through History: Wine in the Finger Lakes


Ukrainian immigrants fueled the FLX resurgence, aka “Dr. Frank’s”

Life in the Finger Lakes, by Jim Moore, photo from Barrell House 6 Distillary

Nestled in the heart of New York, the Finger Lakes region is celebrated for more than just its stunning landscapes. It’s a place where history and wine intertwine in a captivating story.

Early Beginnings: 

Our wine journey began in the early 19th century when European settlers, mainly from Germany, brought their winemaking expertise to the region. They found the Finger Lakes’ climate and soil surprisingly similar to the wine regions back home. As they say, where there’s a will, there’s a vine.

Rise, Fall, and Prohibition:

By the mid-1800s, the Finger Lakes were thriving with vineyards, and the region soon earned a reputation for its fine wines. However, the temperance movement and later, Prohibition, posed significant challenges. Wineries had to get creative, producing sacramental wine and grape juice to survive.

Post-Prohibition Revival:

When Prohibition finally ended in 1933, the Finger Lakes wine industry began its revival. Dr. Konstantin Frank, a Ukrainian immigrant, played a pivotal role. He introduced European grape varieties that could withstand the region’s harsh winters, forever changing the local wine landscape. Today, you can still visit Dr. Frank’s winery, a testament to his enduring legacy.

A Diverse Region:

The Finger Lakes boast more than just vineyards; they offer diverse grape varieties. Riesling, in particular, shines here, earning worldwide recognition. Its crisp, fruity flavors are a true reflection of the region’s climate and terroir.

Farm Wineries and Innovation:

In the 1970s, the Farm Winery Act breathed new life into the industry. This legislation made it easier for small wineries to operate, leading to a surge in boutique wineries and innovations. Now, the Finger Lakes is home to over 100 wineries, each with its unique story and character.

Sustainability and the Future:

Today, sustainability is at the forefront of Finger Lakes winemaking. Wineries focus on eco-friendly practices, from grape growing to bottling. They’re preserving not just the region’s natural beauty but also its wine heritage for generations to come.

Visit and Savor:

As you sip a Finger Lakes wine, remember that each bottle tells a story. It’s a story of resilience, innovation, and a deep appreciation for this breathtaking corner of the world.

So, come visit, savor the wines, and be part of the Finger Lakes’ ever-evolving story. Cheers! 

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