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Finger Lakes leading USA Today poll for ‘Best Wine Region’

Local News

The Finger Lakes is currently in first place for a USA Today poll of the best wine regions in the U.S.

The Finger Lakes are currently beating out the Leelanau Peninsula in Michigan, Walla Walla Valley in Washington and four separate regions in California (Lodi, El Dorado, Santa Barbara County and Mendocino).

You can click here to vote in the contest.

Scott Osbourn has been growing grapes for over two decades on Seneca Lake at Fox Run Vineyards and says the seed was planted years ago for great wines. “Because of the early wineries doing a lot of good work,” said Osbourn, “That attracted a lot of wine makers from around the world.”  

Slope, elevation, soil type, and other special geographical features set the Finger Lakes apart as a special place for wine growth. “The better grape you have, the easier it is for a winemaker to make a 90 point wine,” sad Osbourn. 

Many of the Finger Lakes vineyards come together to discuss how to better their wines with group tastings. This often does not happen at other coorporate owned vineyards. 

“what we specialize in is our wine pairings,” said Christopher Bates, owner of FLX Table as well as other restaurants and a vineyard in the Finger Lakes. His special restaurant has now been open for over two years. Last year he won the USA best startup restaurant and this year is the frontrunner to win the “Best Winery Restaurant” this year. 

The restaurant has a table that seats 14 people and is all about bringing people together. Reservations are taken one month in advance on the first of the month, and they often book quickly. 

Bates does focus on local food and drink that benefits the region. “Ultimately it’s about people coming here, and when they come here they go there, they go there, it’s good for all of us,” said Bates. 

Growers sharing ideas and putting ego’s aside has led to local success. “In that way, all of us, the restaurants, the lodging, the wineries, we’re all a part of this,” said Bates. 

The Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance is also helping shed light on the quality wines of the region. Marketing director Jessica Robideau says that all businesses surrounding the wine industry continue to benefit from each other and will mutually help future success looking forward.

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