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The Finger Lakes Wine Trails

The Finger Lakes region, with nearly 100 wineries and some 10,000 acres of vineyards, is one of the nation's great wine-producing regions. The region is continually growing in name recognition and estimation among wine aficionados, and many visitors compare it to the Napa Valley of 2 decades ago. A cool-climate viticultural region -- comparable to the Burgundy and Champagne regions in France -- the Finger Lakes are ideal for growing vinifera, or noble (European), grapes. The region produces excellent Riesling, chardonnay, cabernet franc, and sparkling ice wines. It's also a terrific place to try more unusual wines, such as Gew├╝rztraminer, Rkatsiteli, and rare ice wines.

The wine country is centered on four main lakes: Cayuga, Seneca, Keuka, and, to a lesser degree, Canandaigua. Pick up brochures on the individual trails in the region as well as the Free Map & Guide of all the wineries in the Finger Lakes, and see the listings and sidebars on each wine trail below. An indispensable stop for anyone either prior to winery visits or without the time or inclination to attack a wine trail is the new New York Wine & Culinary Center in Canandaigua, and while there are events held at wineries throughout the warm months, one of the best times -- or at least one of the most hedonistic -- is the Finger Lakes Wine Festival (tel. 866/461-7223; www.flwinefest.com), held in late July at the Watkins Glen International racetrack.

You may want to think about someone else doing the driving; limo and bus wine tours are quite popular in season. For organized wine tours in limousines and other multipassenger vehicles, contact one of the following wine transportation and tour specialists: Finger Lakes Winery Tours & Transportation (tel. 315/828-6289; www.fingerlakeswinerytours.com), Quality Winery Tours (tel. 877/424-7004; www.qualitywinetours.com), VRA Imperial Limousine, Inc. (tel. 800/303-6100; www.implimo.com), Park Place Limousine and Transportation Services (tel. 585/223-7780; www.rochesterlimousine.com), and Grapevine Country Tours (tel. 800/536-8123; www.grapevinecountrytours.com).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.