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Published: July 31st 2011
First of all, WE LOVE ITHACA. Now, the details:
The weather here Saturday was wonderful - cloudless skies, highs in the low 80s, no humidity and a little breeze. Great day to be out and about.
To start our day, we headed out for breakfast at a Tim Horton's we had scouted out the night before - we had seen a few during our NY travels and they made Allison nostalgic for our trip to England when we first discovered them. (Basically, if you are not familiar, they are a donut/sandwich/coffee shop.) Then off to downtown Ithaca to meet up with our tour. Actually our first stop was the public library for reasons we don't need to go into. Huge library, beautifully spread out, it was the nicest public library we've ever seen. Ithaca is a great town. If their winters weren't so dreadful we'd move here next week!
So - our winery tour. Our tour guide was Terry, a nice and smiling lady. The van was full - we made 12 people. We were all pretty quiet at the start of the tour, but the conversation started flowing quite a bit as the day went on. Terry went over
the right way to taste a wine - the 5 S's: See, Swirl, Sniff, Sip, Savor. The optional sixth S can be Swallow (yes) or Spit (Why would any thinking person do that? Yes, we know those pro tasters spit it out... )
The first winery was called Cayuga Ridge, and we were treated to a tour of the entire wine-making process, from vine to bottle. The owner, Tom, took us out to the vines and showed us all about how they grow and the steps of harvesting, processing, storing, and bottling. It was really interesting. Tom has been in the wine-making business for 40 years and was clearly passionate and very knowledeable about it all. Then to the tasting room! We sampled about 7 or 8 wines, a couple of which we purchased. One of the young women with our group had the best line of the day - we'd just sampled a wine that had been infused with some cranberry. It sounds weird but it was pretty delightful. We were thinking "Thanksgiving," but she looks over and says, "Now this is a good breakfast wine!" Best line of the day. Words to ponder...
Our tour group
now loosened up a bit after our first sips, we proceeded to the next stop, Hosmer Winery. There wasn't a tour of the place, we just went straight to the tasting. At first we thought this one was a little low-brow, but we were quite wrong. We liked lots of their samples and wound up buying 5 bottles there. Good thing we didn't fly up here. That would be lots of work, transferring all that wine into little 3-ounce bottles and zipping them into little plastic bags...
By now we were all chatting and laughing on the tour van. The family we were sitting by was really fun - their daughter, Amber, was the breakfast wine lady. The parents were from Pennsylvania, and their young-adult children were briefly all home for the weekend, so they'd decided to do this tour.
We proceeded to the 3rd and 4th stops of our tasting tour, enjoying 6 or 8 samples at each one. And eating a little bit, too. Terry made sure to feed us a litle bit at each stop. Wise woman. One of our tasting pourers, Becky, was also a teacher. This is her summer gig. Turns out she's
Tom, the owner
gives us a tour of the entire wine-making process, from vineyard to bottling.
a music teacher! High school vocal - the older crowd. This winery, Goose Watch, had a couple of wines that apparently aren't usually grown in this area - a chambourcin and a pinot noir rose. So we bought them!
After our 4th and final stop, Tour Guide Terry took us to a lovely scenic overlook to see the Taughannock Falls. Yes, another waterfall. Which was absolutely gorgeous. Very, very high, not a lot of water but breathtaking tall cliffs all around. It was a lovely finish to the day.
By the way, Terry herself was very knowledgeable about wine and taught us a lot, as well as making sure we knew what to do, where to go, etc. at every stop of the tour, and keeping track of and organizing all of our purchases. So at the end of the tour, we just picked up our box of wines from the back of the van.
Dinner was at the Boatyard Grill and it was really good. The restaurant is right on Cayuga lake so the view was beautiful. We took a cab to and from dinner (considering we spent the whole day drinking!), and learned more about
Ithaca from the drivers.
(I'll post pics later, because we have another tour today!)
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