Monday, June 22, 2015


It's safe to say that the national perception of Rochester (if one even exists) does not include wine.  There is no way that Rochester, which can resemble the Kingdom of Arendelle in the movie Frozen, can make wine.  Right?

Actually, wrong.  As with the coffee and craft beer trends, Rochester and the nearby Finger Lakes region are kind of on fire when it comes to winemaking:

  • New York State is a top 4 wine producing state, and the Finger Lakes region is the largest wine region in the state.
  • The Finger Lakes region consists of well over 100 wineries.
  • Food & Wine magazine lists the Finger Lakes as one of the seven best Riesling regions in the world.
  • Two Finger Lakes wineries, Ravine Wine Cellars and Hermann J. Weimer Vineyard, were named Top 100 wineries in 2014 in a global ranking by Wine & Spirits magazine.
  • Despite being mislabeled as unable to make red wine, the region regularly produces Pinot Noirs with Wine Enthusiast ratings of 88 and 89.  
  • TripAdvisor has previously identified the region as the 4th best wine destination in the U.S.

Well worth a read is Evan Dawson's captivating book about the region, Summer in a Glass.


  1. I can never pin point where the general perception falls on this, but I've always though Rochester fits in better with the Finger Lakes region rather than Western NY, which is Buffalo territory. I see both used in various places though.

    1. I think Rochester straddles the line pretty well. It definitely has the outdoorsy, crunchy, educated, earthy feel of the Finger Lakes. But it also has the gritty, more blue-collar element generally attached to Buffalo and the Rust Belt. I think this versatility is what helps make the region a fascinating place to live.

  2. And the Rochester area is home to the largest premium wine company in the world. Constellation Brands makes Arbor Mist and some other wines locally. They also produce other brands around the world (Robert Mondavi, Mark West, Nobilo, and a host of others).