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New York Sipping Tour: Craft Beverages of New York State

New York

New York Sipping Tour: Craft Beverages of New York State

By: Heather Lalley

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  • States:
    New York

Tucked alongside the lakes, mountains and tranquil farms of New York State, you'll find abundant wineries, breweries, distilleries and cider makers.

These give ample reasons to take the scenic route, plus plenty of opportunity to taste the local creations. Here are 10 ideas to inspire your sampling of the state’s craft beverage scene.

1. Wine Trails

Grab a map and hit the road to explore any of New York’s many wine trails. In addition to the world famous wine regions in the Finger Lakes and on Long Island, you’ll find wineries organized into regional trails across the state.

Enjoying a glass of wine while visiting one of New York’s many wine trails

Enjoying a glass of wine while visiting one of New York’s many wine trails
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2. Underground Tour

Tour the underground cellars and sample a flight at Washingtonville’s Brotherhood, America’s oldest winery (established in 1839). The Hudson Valley winery produces a range of varieties, from sparkling wine to merlot. 

Touring the underground cellars at Brotherhood Winery in New York

Touring the underground cellars at Brotherhood Winery in New York
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3. Grape History

Geek out on the history of grape-growing at the Grape Discovery Center in Westfield. This visitor center for the Lake Erie Concord Grape Belt hosts educational exhibits, special events and, of course, tastings. 

New York wine grapes on the vine

New York wine grapes on the vine
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4. Wine and Culinary Classes

Get the full food and beverage experience at the New York Wine & Culinary Center on Canandaigua Lake. Take a class, attend a workshop or watch a demo. Also don’t miss shopping in the culinary boutique, sampling in the tasting room and dining in the upstairs bistro.

Looking out at Canandaigua Lake

Looking out at Canandaigua Lake
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5. Ice Wines

New York is one of the few places in the U.S. where grapes are left to freeze on the vine to be made into ice wine, a sweet signature of the Finger Lakes and Niagra regions. The New York Ice Wine Festival at Casa Larga Vineyards in Fairport presents tastings, food pairings and activities like sleigh rides through the vineyards.

An idyllic vineyard in Western New York, a region known for ice wines

An idyllic vineyard in Western New York, a region known for ice wines
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6. Beverage Trails

Beverage trails in New York aren’t limited to wine.  The Albany Craft Beverage Trail provides an urban beverage experience, with producers like the Albany Distilling Company and Nine Pin Ciderworks all sourcing ingredients locally.  Check out some of the 80+ stops on the Finger Lakes Beer Trail, with breweries and pubs showcasing styles from lagers to stouts. 

Touring a distillery in New York

Touring a distillery in New York
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© NYSDED-NYS Dept. of Eco. Dev. Photographer: Darren McGee

7. Craft Brew Trails

Spend time in Central New York, nicknamed “America’s Craft Brew Central” to sample the region’s brewing tradition.  Along the Cooperstown Beverage Trail, meet beverage makers at Brewery Ommegang, with Belgian-style beer and a summer music festival.  In nearby Utica, Saranac Brewery is one of the largest craft breweries in the nation, open for tours and tastings. 

Wide selection of beers available at Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, New York

Wide selection of beers available at Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, New York
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8. Cider Farms

There’s more hard cider in the Central New York tasting rooms of Critz Farms Brewing & Cider Co. in Cazenovia or Fly Creek Cider Mill, where you can take a tour and sample ciders with views of the apple orchards where they originated. 

Antique car in front of Fly Creek Cider Mill and Orchard in New York

Antique car in front of Fly Creek Cider Mill and Orchard in New York
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9. Distilleries

For even more kick, head to the Hudson Valley and Tuthilltown Spirits, New York’s first whiskey distillery since U.S. Prohibition, with vodka, gin, whiskey and other spirits using local grains and produce.  Try the Fresh Pressed Apple Vodka made with New York apples. 

Visit the tasting room at Catskill Distilling Company, a farm distillery that utilizes pure water from the Catskill Mountains and New York grains, fruits and botanicals. The Curious Gin, for example, features local juniper berries.

Sampling a spirit at Tuthilltown Spirits in New York

Sampling a spirit at Tuthilltown Spirits in New York
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Getting There

Fly into New York via John F. Kennedy International in New York City and Newark International in New Jersey, then use Long Island MacArthur, Stewart International, Albany International, Syracuse Hancock International, Greater Rochester International and Buffalo Niagara International airports for one-hour connections to destinations statewide.

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