Cayuga, NY

The Finger Lakes region is gaining critical acclaim and was named the best wine region in the U.S. in 2018 in the USA Today.  The region is internationally renowned for Riesling, but also known for its Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Sparkling Wines, Chardonnay and Ice Wine, as well as wines made from Native and French American Hybrid grapes.  

Finger Lakes wineries tend to be on the smaller side as compared to west coast wineries, and many are family owned and operated.  For this reason, it is not uncommon to meet an owner, winemaker or vineyard manager while visiting a winery.  Visitors can enjoy sipping wine in a tasting room, a cellar or in the middle of a vineyard with a beautiful view of one of the Finger Lakes.  The scene is laid-back and casual, and the wineries offer warm, welcoming hospitality in addition to world-class wines.  Heart in Hands is one of the younger vineyards in Cayuga County quickly receiving world recognition for their quality. They committed to sustainably producing cool-climate wines that authentically express the unique character of the Finger Lakes. Written by Susan Higgins.

Wine and Chocolate – A Match Made in Cayuga County 

Wine and cheese have long been a staple pairing, but in Cayuga County it is wine and fine chocolates. Gretchen Christenson, of Gretchen’s Confections, Master Chocolatier and graduate of Le Cordon Bleu and Ecole Chocolat, uses her refined techniques and flavor combinations to create unique chocolates that are suited perfectly for the regions’ award-winning wines.  “The right truffle can extract flavors from your favorite wines that you never knew were there” says Rob Hickson, manager of The Underground Bottle Shop, a specialty wine and liquor store located near Gretchen’s in Auburn’s historic East Hill District.   

Gretchen’s sources many of their ingredients locally. “It is fitting that our chocolates would pair so well with wine created from the same environment,” says Gretchen. Gretchen’s takes months, and sometimes years, to perfect each of their confections.  It is a dance of culinary finesse and chemistry knowhow that must come together just right.  Environment, ingredients, and skill are relied upon to create a product as close to the original flavor as is possible, but like wine they have their vintages, which is part of what makes this pairing a great match. Written by Kendra Pearson.

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