How do I plan a wine tour along the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail?
The first step to planning a wine tour is to ensure the wineries can take your size group. (Check out the PDF on this page for a full list.) Since 2020, a lot has changed with the way the wineries operate (it’s a good type of change!), and the group size and reservation policies might be different than you remember.
If they can accommodate your size group, the next step is to find transportation. Since you have a general idea of how many people will be in your group, the next thing you’ll need to know is how long you want the transportation for. To the transportation company, your day starts when the group is picked up and ends when you’re dropped off.
Some of the transportation companies will help you set up where to go and when, and others simply want your planned schedule. Many of the wineries require reservations if you’re a group over the size of 6. Again, this handy PDF will help you navigate that.
How long you have your transportation for is a big factor in planning your day, so take that into consideration. Plan on spending 45 minutes to an hour at each winery so everyone can taste, shop, take photos, etc. Allow yourself plenty of time. If you’re behind at one winery, you’ll be behind the rest of the day, which could also affect other groups touring.
How much do tastings cost?
Each winery varies, but it’s generally $5-15 per winery per person. Some specialty wines, with limited supply, such as ice wines, may have an additional charge. Like winery operations, tastings have also changed a bit so some are served in flight form, with form, or like it used to be ‘back in the day.’
Do I need reservations?
Yes and no. Although each winery has a different group policy, if your group is 6 or more, we recommend that you make a reservation with each winery so they can make sure they’re staffed appropriately for your group. Again, this handy PDF will help you.
Do you offer wine tasting packages?
Unfortunately, no. Since each winery is its own entity, it’s difficult to put together tasting packages that fit into each of the winery’s policies and operations. We do, however, have a coupon book. The Vino Visa Coupon Book has a coupon from each winery that range from free tastings, to discounts on wine purchases, or free swag if you spend a certain amount on wine.
How long should we plan to visit each winery?
This may vary depending on how large your group is, but to allow travel and tasting time as well as time to browse the gift shop and use the restrooms, plan on having 45 minutes to an hour between each winery.
How long does it take to drive between wineries?
Montezuma Winery to Swedish Hill Vineyard: 10.7 miles / 14 minutes
Swedish Hill Vineyard to Knapp Winery: 4.1 miles / 5 minutes
Knapp Winery to Buttonwood Grove Winery: 2.9 miles / 4 minutes
Buttonwood Grove Winery to Six Eighty Cellars: .8 miles / 1 minute
Six Eighty Cellars to Cayuga Ridge Estate Winery: 2.2 miles / 3 minutes
Cayuga Ridge Estate Winery to Thirsty Owl Wine Company: .3 miles / 1 minute
Thirsty Owl Wine Company to Hosmer Winery: .8 miles / 1 minute
Hosmer Winery to Lucas Vineyards: 4.8 miles /6 minutes
Lucas Vineyards to Americana Vineyards: 4.8 miles / 7 minutes
Americana Vineyards to Six Mile Creek Vineyards: 17.5 miles / 29 minutes
Six Mile Creek Vineyards to Long Point Winery: 27 miles / 40 minutes
Long Point Winery to Montezuma Winery: 20.9 miles / 29 minutes
Do you provide transportation?
The trail does not provide transportation; however, here is a link to some stellar local tour companies.
Where does the wine trail start and/or end?
Starts at your first sip and ends with your ride home. 🙂 There is technically no particular beginning or end. The trail is self-guided, so you can start and stop and travel anywhere you choose.
What is a ‘wine tasting?’
A tasting consists of half to an ounce of wine of different varieties to sample. Tastings are meant to help guide you to the wine(s) you would like to purchase.
Are the wineries open when there isn’t a scheduled event?
Yes! All but one of the wineries on our trail is open year-round, and a few are only open during the weekends in the winter months. Be sure to check the wineries page for hours before visiting.
How do I find out what events are going on?
Do any of the wineries have restaurants?
Knapp Winery’s Vineyard Restaurant: closed for the season, but offers soup and sandwiches during open hours
Thirsty Owl Bistro: closed for the season
Americana Vineyards’ Crystal Lake Café: closed for the season, but occasional offers some food items at the tasting counter
Buttonwood Grove Winery Food Truck: closed for the season
Amelia’s Deli at Long Point Winery: Open Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 3pm
Taste of the Finger Lakes at Cayuga Ridge Winery: Select Sammies available all weekend long
Are there other things to taste besides wine?
Yes. Our wineries also consist of a cidery, 4 distilleries, a meadery, and a brewery. Many offer NYS beer by the bottle or can, as well.
Do my tickets include transportation?
No, the tickets do not include transportation.
Are my tickets only good for one day?
There are 3 different ticket levels; a Saturday-only ticket, a Sunday-only ticket, or a 2-day ticket.
Why must I choose an itinerary?
Covid changed the way we hosted our events, and the consensus said that they preferred this way better, so we’re sticking with it! The itinerary helps keep the tasting rooms clog and line-free. You’re ensured a seat at your designated time and ensured that there will be enough staff to accommodate you.
Can my ticket be refunded, returned, changed or exchanged?
Tickets are nonrefundable, and cannot be exchanged for another event. If the event is 2 weekends, it can be switched for the other weekend, however. The ticket can also be transferred to another person if you’re unable to attend.
If I purchase a ticket for an event that is 2 weekends, can I go the other weekend rather than the one I purchased?
No. Each weekend has a specific itinerary to follow. Should you try to switch on your own, you won’t be on the list at the wineries and technically won’t have a spot at any of the wineries.
Is the event ever canceled?
Events are never canceled, even winter ones. Put on your parka and let the wine warm you up!
Tickets are no longer available online; can I purchase them at the door?
Nope. Even if the event isn’t sold out, ticket sales end the Thursday morning before the event weekend to give the wine trail office and the wineries time to prepare for the event. You *might* be able to sneak in if you call the wine trail office.
What does my ticket include?
Although each event is different, your ticket will generally include: a souvenir wine glass, a digital recipe collection, a wine & food pairing per winery visited, and up to 3 additional wine tastings per winery visited. Some will also offer ornaments, herbs, or roses.
During events, are the wineries open for general visitors who do not have event tickets?
Yes, you’re always welcome, but will not receive any of the event items, such as the souvenir glass, the food tasting, recipe collection, etc.