A trip to the Finger Lakes is a must when the weather turns cooler — leaf peeping for days, and if you can stop yourself from buying all of the wine that you try, you can do it on the cheap.
CITY took a trip to wine (and beer) country and found places that are definitely worth the trip; Keuka and Seneca lakes are just a little over an hour's drive from Rochester.
FLX Wienery (5090 State Route 14, Dundee) opened in May 2014 and is a must-stop on the Finger Lakes Wine Trail. The restaurant's general manager greets those new in line and explains how the menu works: there are burgers, wieners, sausage, and you can load 'em up with as many toppings as you want. Or choose from the Weiner or Burger-Art menus.
The Kraut ($5.95 for a single, $11.50 for a pair) tops the sausage-wiener of your choice with brown mustard, sauerkraut, herbs, and fried onions. Spicy onion rings, fried cheese curds, fries, and thick cut chips round out the sides menu, and feel free to doctor them up.
Not for the faint of heart, the Fries Royale ($8.95) is topped with foie gras, pecorino, truffle mayo, and herbs. Wine by the bottle and beer are available to buy, as are glasses of house red and white. The house white we tried was a pinot grigio that wasn't too sweet. (607-243-7100, flxwienery.com)
Keuka Spring Vineyards (243 Route 54, East Lake Road, Penn Yann) may have won the 2016 Winery of the Year at the New York Wine & Food Classic, but there isn't an ounce of pretension in its tasting room, which overlooks Keuka Lake.
Our wine spirit guides were husband-and-wife retirees who have worked at Keuka Spring for over 10 years. Tasting and sharing wine all day while overlooking the lake and watching the leaves change? These people are doing retirement better than you. You can taste up to five wines for $3, and if you end up buying a bottle, the tasting is free.
We tried the 2015 dry rosé, an Editor's Choice pick from Wine Enthusiast Magazine; and the Gewürztraminer 2015, Dynamite Vineyard, an award-winning white. (315-536-3147, keukaspringwinery.com)
I haven't experienced anything quite like The Olney Place (823 East Lake Road, Penn Yann). This Keuka Lake establishment is part general store, part deli, and part tap room. The craft beer selection and the deli menu are impressive. For those looking for something a bit out of the ordinary, try the Zach Deputy sandwich ($8), which has turkey, provolone, lettuce, grape jelly(!), mayo, and hot sauce on toasted wheat bread. Wash it down with any of the craft beers or ciders on draft in the tap room. Confession time: I did not try the sandwich, but if you have, I want to hear about it in the comments.
The Olney Place is open seasonally, so make sure to call or check the website before making the trip. (315-536-5454, theolneyplace.com)
I had visions of mason jars filled with craft cocktails during the drive to Climbing Bines Hop Farm and Craft Ale Company (511 Hansen Point, Penn Yann). Rows upon rows of hop bines, a giant wooden event-pavilion strung with lights, a red barn — it's like porn for wedding planners.
Climbing Bines started making its own beer in 2013 and has over 30 beers on its roster; a tasting will only set you back a few bucks. We tried the Tart Cherry, brewed with juice from Red Jacket Orchards, and the Brown Ale. You can grab a pint and head off to play a game on the farm's disc golf course, or just sit and enjoy the view. (607-745-0221, climbingbineshopfarm.com)