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Like the Chardonnay from October, we have Dr. Konstantin Frank to thank for Finger Lakes Riesling- and a big, huge ‘thank you’ I’ll send him!

The Finger Lakes are known for their Rieslings. Why? Because of our “terroir.” Terroir is a French term used to describe the environmental factors that affect the crops, in this case, the vines.

Our terroir was created hundreds of thousands of years ago when the 11 Finger Lakes were carved out by multiple waves of glaciers. The soil deposits, which consists of a shallow layer of topsoil perched on top of sloping shale beds, is fast draining and low in nutrients and ideal for quality grape production. The large and deep freshwater lakes are known as “the glacier’s gifts to modern winemakers.” Taken from the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance website is the best summary of the positive effects the lakes have on the vineyards. “The massive bodies of water, visible from our vineyards, have a profound effect on the grapes. During the winter, cold air drains naturally from the sloping vineyards to the lakes. In spring, cool air bathes the vines, delaying the start of the growing season so that the tender shoots are not injured by late frosts. In the fall, the sun-warmed lakes prevent early frosts and extend the growing season.”

In summary, the Finger Lake is EXACTLY the climate Riesling needs to excel, and boy have we! In fact, in 2017 one of our wineries, Buttonwood Grove, won the Governor’s Cup for their 2016 Riesling. The Governor’s cup is considered the Oscars of the wine making world- it’s a pretty big deal to have the best of the best of, not only Riesling, but ALL the wines! Left and right various Finger Lakes Rieslings are receiving top rated scores from Wine Spectator for their Rieslings, too.

In total, our 14 member wineries have 50 different Rieslings to choose from! All ranging from dry to sweet. Which leads me to my next topic…

Fruit forwardness. As I’m sure you’ve heard, Riesling is incredibly fruit forward, but what exactly does that mean? It’s a term used to describe a style of wine where the fruit flavors are the most dominant. Some wines may highlight spicy notes, for example, but in Rieslings case, the fruit prevails.

So, if Riesling is fruit forward, that means it’s going to have a natural sweetness to it, which sometimes gives it a bad rap. Oftentimes, Riesling is considered a sweet wine because of this, but it’s actually an incredibly diverse grape that can, yes, be super sweet, but it can also be super dry. But that dry Riesling will always have that touch of fruitiness that doesn’t make it taste as dry as, say, a Sauvignon Blanc or Oak Aged Chardonnay.

Riesling is also diverse in what food it pairs well with, which is just about anything! From dry to sweet, you can pair any style Riesling with: chicken (grilled, flavored, pasta), salmon, herb roasted turkey, seafood, maple glazed ham, roasted vegetables, garlic roasted pork chops, pear & walnut salad, caramelized onion & goat cheese tart, lemon shrimp pasta, maple Dijon roasted carrots, anything bacon, and even spicy Asian-inspired cuisine or milder curry and teriyaki dishes. If you’re drinking an Ice or Late Harvest Riesling, stick to things like gelato, fruit-based desserts, cookies, goat cheese soufflé, lemon-blueberry pound cake, or even sweet peach pie. (This is just a short list, of course. The possibilities are endless, really!)


Check out these deals along the trail* for the entire month of November

Montezuma Winery

Swedish Hill Winery

Knapp Winery

  • Free tasting of your choice of Riesling with purchase of standard tasting all month long. Semi-Sweet Riesling, Riesling, and Dry Riesling.
  • Free shipping on any full case of Riesling, mix-matched, or single style. Discount automatically applies at checkout if at least 12 bottles of any Riesling are in your cart. This promo is only through 11/15.

Goose Watch

Buttonwood Grove Winery

  • Welcome wine sample of Tank Select Riesling with purchase of standard tasting
  • 15% off 3 or more bottles of Tank Select Riesling. No other Rieslings included and no additional discounts apply.

Toro Run Winery

  • 15% off 3 or more bottles of any Riesling, in-store only
  • BOGO- buy one full case (12 bottles) of Dry Riesling, Semi-Dry Riesling, or Late-Harvest Riesling and get another case free, in-store and online.
  • (Cannot be combined, no other discounts apply, must buy all 12 bottles of Riesling to qualify)

Thirsty Owl Wine Co.

*at participating wineries