Upstate New York cradles a fertile wine region called the Finger Lakes. It is a wonderful place to visit, with beautiful vistas of tranquil lakes and extensive vineyards. The area houses more than 100 wineries. We will outline the ten best Keuka Lake wineries so you can make the most of your Finger Lakes vacation.
What is Unique About Keuka Lake?
One of the eleven alluring Finger Lakes, Keuka Lake, jumps off the map with an unmistakable Y shape, whereas the other ten lakes maintain a long, narrow formation. Its shape led to the nickname “Crooked Lake.” The lake is surrounded by steep slopes of sprawling vineyards, delivering a gorgeous setting.
Keuka Lake’s maximum depth is 183 feet, making it a popular spot for swimming, boating, and fishing. The lake houses yellow perch, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, landlocked salmon, and various types of trout.
How Long Does it Take to Drive Around Keuka Lake?
At nearly 20 miles long and 2 miles wide, you can drive around the entire lake in about an hour. Many of the wineries on our list sit in the town of Hammondsport, found at the lake’s southern end.
Keuka Lake Wine Trail
The Finger Lakes comprise four wine trails:
- Canandaigua Lake Wine Trail
- Cayuga Lake Wine Trail
- Keuka Lake Wine Trail
- Seneca Lake Wine Trail
Over the years, the Crooked Lake has expanded to around twenty wineries. You will find five of these on the Keuka Lake Wine Trail:
- Heron Hill Winery
- Hunt Country Vineyards
- Keuka Spring Vineyards
- Vineyard View Winery
- Weis Vineyards
All five of the trail member wineries made our list, and we will provide more details for each below.
You can visit the trail wineries by purchasing a tasting passport for $54. With the passport, you can redeem tasting flights at all five wineries and receive additional discounts. Visit the Keuka Lake Wine Trail site for details.
The passport can save you a little money since individual wine tastings typically cost about $10 to $15.
History of Keuka Lake Wine Industry
The Finger Lakes have played a significant role in the American wine industry for over 150 years. Farmers planted vineyards in the 1830s, primarily around Canandaigua, Keuka, Seneca, and Cayuga Lakes. The first two wineries on our list significantly contributed to New York’s wine industry.
Keuka Lake Wineries
The area is home to around 20 wineries, encompassing some of the oldest and best-known in the region. We will outline the ten best so you can make the most of your time.
Pleasant Valley Wine Company
- Location: 8260 Pleasant Valley Road, Hammondsport, NY 14840
- Tasting room: open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
To say this winery has history is an understatement. The oldest winery in the Finger Lakes Region and the country’s first bonded winery, the Pleasant Valley Wine Company was established in 1860. It boasts eight stone buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. Old-world character oozes throughout the buildings and the beautiful surrounding landscapes.
The winery uses caves in the vineyard hillsides as natural wine cellars. With unique natural features and so much history, a winery tour adds to the experience. Note tours during summer and fall require a reservation.
The winery is a renowned producer of prestigious champagnes, fine ports, and sherries. Their Autumn Frost spritzers deliver refreshing fruity flavors like Blackberry Merlot, Strawberry White Zinfandel, and Peach Chardonnay. The Gold Seal Catawba Pink is one of their top sellers.
Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery
- Location: 9749 Middle Road, Hammondsport, NY 14840
- Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm; last tasting starts at 4:00 pm
Dr. Konstantin Frank, in 1957, planted the first vinifera vines in the eastern United States, starting the “Vinifera Revolution,” a movement that put the Finger Lakes on the map for winemaking.
Their Keuka Lake vineyards sit on steep slopes of shallow, acidic soil containing silt loam and shale. The slightly cooler climate than that of nearby Seneca Lake yields a more mineral type of Riesling. Their red grape varieties shine with acidity and elegance. The environment is perfect for their sparkling wines of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Meunier.
The winery produces 11 varieties from 70 acres along the beautiful lake. They pride themselves on having old vines, leading to wines with complex character due to deep roots pulling more nutrients from the soil.
Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery suggests that visitors make reservations for a tasting, promising a relaxed and intimate experience. They offer a wine club where members receive quarterly shipments of three bottles each.
Hunt Country Vineyards
- Location: 4021 Italy Hill Road, Branchport, NY 14418
- Hours: Tastings run from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm daily in summer; 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on Fridays and Saturdays in winter
The Hunt family has been farming in the area for seven generations, with the first vineyards planted in 1902. Two rows of those initial vines adjacent to their tasting room still produce grapes.
Hunt Country Vineyards is a leader with their sustainability practices on the farm and in the winery. Solar panels supply most of their electricity. They do not use synthetic fertilizers, only amending the soil with compost and poultry manure.
Hunt Country Vineyards offers various wines, from red and rose wines to white wines to sparkling and dessert wines. They carry a line called Uncharted Terroir, made from rugged regional grapes that thrive in harsh conditions but produce delicious wines.
The winery recommends that you make a reservation for a tasting. They offer outdoor spaces for a relaxing experience or curbside service for those with limited time.
Keuka Spring Vineyards
- Location: 243 Route 54 East Lake Road, Penn Yan, NY 14527
- Tasting hours: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm daily from April through December; 10:00 am to 5:00 pm Friday through Sunday in January through March
The Wiltberger family planted in 1981 and had their first vintage in 1985. In the early years, they produced grapes for Chardonnay, Seyval Blanc, Riesling, and Vignoles. Over time, they added Lemberger, Cabernet Franc, and Gewurztraminer plantings.
Their selection of wines covers red and white, sweet and dry, suiting many tastes. You do not need reservations for a tasting. Keuka Spring Vineyards promotes tastings as an opportunity to learn about wines in a relaxed environment.
You may bring your dog as long as Fido stays outdoors with you.
Rooster Hill Vineyards
- Location: 489 State Route 54 South, Penn Yan, NY 14527
- Tasting hours: 11:00 am to 6:00 pm daily
A family-owned winery with estate-grown and crafted wines, Rooster Hill Vineyards, began planting in 2002. In 2004, they had their first grapes for winemaking. Since then, Rooster Hill has earned hundreds of medals and received high ratings from Wine Spectator and other national magazines.
Rooster Hill’s initial plantings yielded Cabernet Franc, Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Lemberger. Over time they expanded with additional vineyards, each with slightly different conditions, delving into varieties like Gewurztraminer, Vidal Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Merlot. Vidal Blanc, a hybrid grape, produces one of their most popular white wines, Silver Pencil.
Beyond a tasting room, Rooster Hill delivers a patio and terrace with exquisite views of vineyards, rolling meadows, and the lake. It is a pet-friendly operation, so you are welcome to bring your furry companion.
Tasting reservations are optional for parties of 4 or fewer. However, Rooster Hill requests reservations for parties of 5 or more.
Vineyard View Winery
- Location: 2971 Williams Hill Road, Keuka Park, NY 14478
- Tasting hours: Vary throughout the year
Although Vineyard View Winery opened in 2013, the fifth-generation grape-growing family now carries more than 15 wines with vintages from 2012. They specialize in dry wines but have an excellent selection of sweet wines.
Their slogan is “Drink in the view!” Upon seeing the heavenly vista, you will agree. Vineyard View’s upper deck allows you to gaze upon the scenery from above while you relax, sipping delicious wines. The beautiful venue is available for private events, including weddings and receptions.
Vineyard View serves tastings as a flight. They operate in a first come, first served manner, but require reservations for large groups of ten to twelve.
Try their Marquette, a medal-winning red hybrid varietal, or the Traminette with melon and honeydew notes and a spicy finish. Other highlights include Dry Riesling, Unoaked Chardonnay, Gruner Veltliner, and Niagara.
- Location: 10014 Day Road, Hammondsport, NY 14840
- Hours: Open daily for tastings from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm; the last tasting starts at 4:45 pm
A boutique winery proud of its German heritage, Weis Vineyards opened in 2016, with its first vintage in 2017. Weis Vineyards employs German winemaking traditions and techniques while delivering a genuine Finger Lakes experience.
The winery planted its first estate vineyard in 2020 with Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, and Saperavi varietals, garnering its first yield fall of 2022. They started with an old, charming schoolhouse as a tasting room, making for an intimate tasting experience.
Weis Vineyards now has a rustic barn as another tasting space and built a new tasting room that opened in 2021. They hold all tastings in the indoor spaces and offer wine by the glass in their outdoor areas.
The winery shines with friendly service, lovely grounds, and charming facilities, perfectly blending German and upstate New York wine cultures. Even with their growth, the people and wine at Weis Vineyards deliver a unique experience and maintain the boutique feel.
Here are some standouts within their handcrafted German-style wines:
- Riesling Ice Wine
- Gruner Veltliner
- Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay
All tastings operate on a first-come, first-served basis. Weis Vineyards requests a maximum group size of eight people for tastings, flights, and wine by the glass. The vineyard is dog-friendly as long as you keep Fido on a leash.
Heron Hill Winery
- Location: 9301 County Road 76, Hammondsport, NY 14840
- Hours: Vary throughout the year
The striking pale yellow building with a vaulted tasting hall is likely the first thing you will notice at Heron Hill Winery. It tends to dominate the horizon along Keuka Lake and the sprawling vineyards. That yellow beacon signifies the refreshing experience awaiting you, from the delicious wines to the beautiful facilities.
Heron Hill began planting in 1972, growing vines for Chardonnay, Riesling, and Seyval Blanc. Through expansion, they later harvested Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir fruits. Heron Hill takes great pride in its sustainability efforts, including no chemical fertilizers, herbicides, or insecticides.
The winery has become recognized for its distinctive, elegant Rieslings. After sipping a Riesling, try their Eclipse White for a fruity blended wine that is light and balanced.
Heron Hill requires reservations for a tasting with a maximum party size of six. The beautiful facility hosts private parties and small weddings. Note Heron Hill also has a tasting room on Canandaigua Lake.
Point of the Bluff Vineyards
- Location: 10489 County Road 76, Hammondsport, NY 14840
- Tasting hours: 11:00 am to 5:00 pm daily
Everything about Point of the Bluff Vineyards is different. They offer regulation-size bocce courts, unique events, and accommodations. The focus is on fresh food and entertainment while you enjoy award-winning wines.
Point of the Bluff holds many events, including national concert acts, yoga, cooking classes, and painting workshops. They regularly host live music. You can stay at their restored inn or historic farmhouse if you need accommodations. Their tasting room is a restored 1800s schoolhouse.
Point of the Bluff focuses on dry and semi-dry wines, also carrying delicious ice wine. They highly recommend reservations on Fridays and Saturdays. The winery allows dogs in outside areas but not inside or on the pavilion grounds.
Bully Hill Vineyards
- Location: 8843 Greyton H. Taylor Memorial Drive, Hammondsport, NY 14840
- Tasting room: Open Monday through Saturday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Bully Hill Vineyards offers a beautiful experience of food and wine where you can relax outdoors or inside. Enjoy the scenic vineyards from the brick patio or explore the grounds.
They carry a wide selection of wines from blush and red to white to sweet and sparkling. Their food menu includes:
- Smoked BBQ meats and sandwiches
- Spicy southern-style fried chicken sandwich
- Grilled chicken salad
- Falafel salad
With a wine tasting, you get five pre-selected wines and a souvenir wine glass. Bully Hill accepts reservations for groups of ten or more.
Your leashed dog can accompany you in the tasting room and wine shop. You can visit the museum during the summer to learn more about New York’s winemaking history.
Things To Do Near Keuka Lake
Beyond wineries, the Finger Lakes offer many things to do. Your experience can be as relaxing or intense as you choose. For laid-back excursions, you can go to a farmer’s market or tour the beautiful flowers of the Cornell Botanic Gardens.
You can explore two of America’s top state parks for a more intense hiking adventure and chasing waterfalls. Watkins Glen offers a surreal setting of 200-foot shale cliffs and 19 cascading waterfalls. Or, you can gaze upon Letchworth’s “Grand Canyon of the East.”
Wrap-Up: The 10 Best Keuka Lake Wineries
With so much natural beauty and diverse wineries, the Finger Lakes make for a beautiful getaway. Keuka Lake is home to some of the region’s oldest and best wineries. Savor the wine and the views at the ten best Keuka Lake wineries.
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About the author
We are Scott and Julie at Miles with McConkey. After nearly 30 years, we took a leap of faith out of the corporate world to enjoy a life of travel and adventure. We hope to inspire you to find ways to travel more and enjoy life now.