Wendy Van Diver
July 12, 2012 | Wine Country Travel | Wendy Van Diver

Discovering New York’s Finger Lakes (part 1)

In this past week, I’ve experienced two very important firsts: 1) I visited my big brother, Craig, for the first time in his hometown of Syracuse, New York; and 2) I visited Finger Lakes New York wine country. Well, it was about time for both.

Craig has been living in the Syracuse for about 15 years and Finger Lakes wine region has been successfully growing vinifera grapes for more than a half-century. Shortly before I arrived in Syracuse, Craig emailed me, saying that he had tasted some wonderful Rieslings from Fox Run Vineyards at a tasting held at Liquor City near his home in Syracuse. I immediately contacted Scott Osborn, founder and co-owner of Fox Run and told him that I’d like to start my tour there. Scott quickly replied and we set a time. Craig acted as chauffeur and we set out for Seneca Lake, in the heart of the Finger Lakes.

Finger Lakes, NY

Since it was established in 1982, the Finger Lakes wine region has become home to more than 100 wineries. The extreme and unpredictable climate—ranging from frigid winters to sweltering summers—is yielding some very aromatic wines. Riesling is currently the area’s calling card, but that’s not all this beautiful rural region has to offer.

As promised, we made Fox Run Vineyards our first stop. Located along the northwest shore of Seneca Lake, Fox Run is one of 32 wineries that make up the Seneca Lake Wine Trail. Scott Osborn and his brother-in-law and partner Albert Zafonte Jr. greeted us at the door. Scott says they have more than 80,000 visitors per year. The vineyards overlook breathtaking Seneca Lake and the tasting room is spacious and inviting. There’s even a deli with a deck that celebrates the view. Scott guided us through a tasting of 18 Fox Run wines!! I was so impressed with the quality of each. I personally purchased several including the 2011 Dry Riesling, the 2011 Semi-dry Riesling, and the 2009 Lemberger. I can’t wait to share a bottle of the Lemberger with our president, Paul Arganbright (Paul, please note that I said SHARE) when it arrives on my doorstep in Santa Barbara. Craig stocked up on these varieties and more since he didn’t have to pay for shipping.

Since our managing partner’s last name is “Fox”, I couldn’t resist buying him a souvenir, too. We’ll get him to model it and post a picture of him in it here, ok?

So… my first suggestion from this personal tour is: Visit the Finger Lakes and take the Seneca Lake Wine Trail. Stop at Fox Run Vineyards and be sure to taste the wines I purchased AND the 2011 Chardonnay, Unoaked; the 2011 Reserve Riesling; the 2010 Cabernet Franc; and Hedonia (an absolutely amazing dessert wine).

Fox Run made me an instant fan of the Finger Lakes!

Scott Osborn and me at Fox Run Vineyards

Steel fermenters, me and Scott Osborn


tom's Gravatar
@ Jul 12, 2012 at 12:18 PM
My son is a student Newbouse School @ Syracuse University. This month he is in London to work for NBC as an intern at the 2012 Olympics. I am a foodie & wine blogger about wine country in SF Bay Area of California. Great story.

Wendy van Diver's Gravatar
Wendy van Diver
@ Jul 12, 2012 at 1:13 PM
Hi Tom, I'm glad you enjoyed the report on Fox Run. My brother, who accompanied me and worked tirelessly as my photographer, is a psychology professor at Syracuse. You must be very proud of your son. I'll check out your blog on SF Bay Area. Have you toured the Finger Lakes in conjunction with visiting your son?

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