A visit to the Finger Lakes wouldn’t be complete without taking a wine tour. The Seneca Lake Wine Trail is just one of many offerings in the region that gives you access to some of the area's tastiest and most beautiful wineries. Wagner Vineyards is one of the most well-known wineries on the trail—and it’s easy to see why. With its large selection of wines, tasting and touring options, and beautiful views of Seneca Lake, Wagner Vineyards is a top destination for any Finger Lakes visitor.
About Wagner Vineyards, A Little Bit Of History
Established in 1979, Wagner Vineyards was the first winery to open on the East side of Seneca Lake. It is an estate winery run by the Wagner family, who is on their fifth generation of growers (they have been growing good grapes for over 100 years!). Fun fact: an ‘estate winery’ is a winery that produces wine only from grapes that are winery owned, i.e. grown on the property, and never leave the property during the entire winemaking process.
Also located onsite is Wagner Valley Brewing Co., established in 1997. The first craft brewery in the Finger Lakes, it is definitely worth visiting to sample any of the draft crafts—usually, at least six or more are on tap every day. They also offer tastings and to-go beers, so you can take a little of the Finger Lakes home with you.
Everything You Need To Know About The Wine
Wagner Vineyards has a reputation for world-class wines. Experienced growers and expert winemakers collaborate to make some of the best wines in the region. Because they currently produce around 30 different wines, it would be impossible to go through them all here—so we’ll just go through a couple from each category, to give you an intro to some of the well-rounded, delicious offerings up for grabs at this family-owned vineyard.
Get Ready For Some Well-Known White Wines
This is by far the most expansive selection of wines offered here at the vineyard. Wagner offers several Rieslings, ranging from dry to sweet. The Riesling semi-dry is perfect for those with a palate for a burst of sweet fruity intensity tempered with a bit of acidity to create the ideal balanced Riesling that makes it one of the most popular wines. The Riesling Select is on the other end of the spectrum; fans of sweet Rieslings will love its bright, fruity notes that pop with citrus and tropical fruit and finish with a hint of honey.
Are blends more your bag? Then be sure to grab a taste of Fathom 107, a drier blend of Riesling and Gewurtztraminer (an aromatic, white wine grape variety). This fruity, slightly spicy blend is named after the deepest part of Seneca Lake which measures 107 fathoms (that's 640 feet!) Sit back and sip while admiring the lake to get the full effect. Seneca White is another popular blend that is inspired by the lovely landscapes of the region. Part of the Seneca Series of wines, it is a smooth white blend that is versatile and easy to drink.
We can’t leave the white wines without talking about the Chardonnay—and there are a few to check out. Available in oak-aged, barrel-fermented, and unoaked varieties, Wagner’s chardonnays all have a distinctive flavor that makes for a smooth and subtle drinking experience. Be sure to check out the Chardonnay Reserve—known for its perfect balance of fruitiness and gentle acidity.
Like The Reds? We’ve Got You Covered
Fans of Cabernet will love Wagner’s Cabernet Sauvignon. Oak-aged and loaded with robust aromas of cedar, plums, and black currants, this full-bodied wine goes great with an outdoor picnic by the lake. The Pinot Noir Reserve is also a treat—oak-aged and fruit-forward, this red is subtle and elegant. The Merlot is a great choice if you love a versatile, food-friendly wine that is smooth and gentle on the palate. If you’re a fan of blends, be sure to check out the Seneca Red and the Alta B Red for some semi-sweet delights that are the perfect marriage of sweet and dry.
Planning Your Visit To Wagner Vineyards
All indoor tastings require a reservation, so be sure to plan ahead. Both the Vineyards and Brewing Company are open seven days a week, and the nearby Ginny Lee Café is open as well--in case you want a bite to eat out on the deck or lawn picnic tables. Currently, tasting groups are limited to groups of six or less, and masks are still required on the premises (unless at a tasting, or seated at a table). Wagner Vineyards is committed to the safety of both its staff and guests, so they follow all New York State Guidelines and COVID-19 protocols such as social distancing and providing fresh glasses in between tastings. Both wine and beer can be purchased for consumption in Wagner’s outdoor seating area. After your tour, be sure to check out the large deck for some amazing views of Seneca Lake.
The tastings last approximately 30 minutes, and with the variety of wines on offer you can be sure to find something that suits your taste. Wagner is known for its focus on ‘Customer Choice’ tastings that help them curate a selection of wines for your tasting to ensure the most wonderful winery experience. Even if you don’t opt for a tasting, you can still enjoy your choice of delicious wines (and beers from the brewery) by purchasing a glass, a flight, or a bottle to sip and enjoy while basking in the beauty of Seneca Lake, the deepest and largest of the Finger Lakes.
The Finger Lakes are known for their delicious wines and awe-inspiring natural landscapes. Before you plan your next visit, be sure to explore all the options on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, including Wagner’s Vineyards— a family-owned delight facing gorgeous Seneca Lake.