Take advantage of the off-season by eschewing crowds at the tasting tables. Use Seneca Lake Wine Trail to plot your path, then designate a driver, or hire a biodiesel-powered SUV from Finger Lakes Winery Tours.
Chris Stamp got his food-science degree from Cornell, then added a winery to his grandfather’s grape farm and called it Lakewood Vineyards. Move beyond the excellent whites to try the mead and port.
March marks the opening of Finger Lakes Distilling by a pair of young distillers obsessed enough to grow their own grapes and malt their own barley. The tasting room overlooks a copper still straight out of a sci-fi movie.
East of the lake, there’s a microbrewery adjacent to the wine room at Wagner Vineyards. Order from the growler menu kids can get a gingery, earthy root beer. Down the road, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards pours its sweet, signature Red Cat (New York State’s best-selling wine) at a horseshoe-shaped bar built for mingling and lingering.