Posted on in Todd Talks by Todd Johnson

As the calendar turns to September, I’m reminded of a trip I made once along the shores, and through the vineyards, of Seneca Lake on my way to visit a friend. The weather was just right for an all windows down drive ,that brought the scent of the newly ripened grapes wafting into my car.

Perhaps it was growing up in this region that allowed me to take for granted the beauty and unique features of this geographical region that we learn about and label on maps in grade school. But, as I age, I appreciate, and therefore learn more about, my surroundings than I did as a kid with better things to do than read about glacial lakes that formed millions of years ago. But as a quick refresher, there are 11 Finger Lakes, ranging from the smallest, Candice Lake, to the enormous Seneca Lake. They were all formed by glacier’s slow movements carving deep, long grooves in the ground. The glaciers melted, receded, and left these beautiful bodies of water behind. Seneca Lake reaches a staggering 618 feet in depth!

During the infancy of the colonies that would later become the United States, the Finger Lakes region was home to the mighty Iroquois Tribes. The tribes were politically savvy, and therefore able to remain in control of the territory for nearly two centuries after first colonial contact was made. Eventually, internal strife would be their downfall. They would be “resettled,” and their land opened up for purchase and settlement by early Americans.

Presently, the area is New York’s top wine producing region. With its more than 400 wineries and vineyards, the area has become known for its production of world-renowned Rieslings. The size and concentration of the lakes allows for the summer heat and the cold of the winter to remain a bit longer than the rest of the region, which protects the grapes from early frosts in the fall, and late frosts in the spring. The slope, along with the  north to south orientation of the lakes helps the soil and sunlight distribution. All of this apparently adds up to great white wines. More recently, breweries and distilleries have been added to the landscape, which has served to expand the tourism industry. And don’t forget about Watkins Glen, which is home to a NASCAR race each summer, and all the gorges and waterfalls you can find in nearby Ithaca.

If you decide to take a trip to see, smell, and taste all that the Finger Lakes region of New York has to offer, please reach out to me at [email protected]. I would love to show you around our shop. We are just a short half hour drive south.