Travel Guide to Wine Regions of New York

New York is a state situated in the Northeast of the United States of America. Unknown to many, New York has several wine-producing regions, home to a number of amazing vineyards and wineries that offer opportunities for wine tasting, touring, and exploring in some of the most beautiful locations.

Read more about Wineries in New York to visit.

Find out about Wine Tasting & Tours in New York to enjoy if you visit the region.

 

Follow our guide to wine regions of New York to discover more about:

Main wine-growing regions and wines of NY

Places to visit, including natural spots

What to eat in New York

Montauk Point Light, Long Island, New York

 

Geographical Location 

The state has an extremely diverse geography and is bordered by New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont. There is also a maritime border shared with Rhode Island as well as an international border with the Canadian provinces of Québec and Ontario.

How it all Started

The first vineyards in the area were planted in the 17th century by the Dutch and French Protestant settlers who settled along the banks of the Hudson River. Today this has grown to more than 200 wineries in the New York area, producing around 35 million gallons of wine per annum. 

New York is currently ranked third among all the wine-making states of the United States in terms of volume of wine produced. Although much of the wine produced here is consumed locally, many New York wines are starting to gain recognition in other states and other countries worldwide.

A view of the vineyard at Paumanok Vineyards
Vineyards of Paumanok winery in Long Island, wine region of New York, USA

Main Wine Growing Regions

New York is home to four major wine regions:

  • The Niagara and Lake Erie is on the western end of the state
  • The Finger Lakes in the west-central area
  • The Hudson River region in eastern New York
  • The eastern end of Long Island

The Finger Lakes area is the main New York wine region for the production of Riesling, while the Long Island and Hamptons area is mostly known for its Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The hybrid varieties, mostly between French grapes and American grapes, are popular in the Niagara and Lake Erie wine region. Hudson River winemakers mainly grow the hybrid white variety of Seyval Blanc. 

Paumanok Vineyards in Long Island

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The Paumanok Vineyards Winery was established in 1983 and it is located in the Long Island wine region, near the popular holiday destination of the Hamptons. The philosophy of the owners, Charles and Ursula Massoud, is that only the healthiest and most ripe grapes can produce perfectly balanced wines. The vineyards are mostly planted with Riesling, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc grapes. 

 

 

 

Grape Varieties 

Three main grape categories are grown around all the wine regions in the state of New York. The first category is European Vitis Vinifera grape varieties such as Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Gris for white wines, and Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc for red wines. The second category includes autochthonous American varieties such as Niagara and Concord grapes. The third group of grapes is made up of hybrid varieties, a cross between American vines and European vines. 

Red Varieties: Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Concord (American), Catawba (American), Frontenac (Hybrid). 

White Varieties: Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Niagara (American), Elvira (Hybrid), Seyval Blanc (Hybrid). 

Native North American Grapes

How do they differ from European Vitis Vinifera?

Native North American grapes are known as Vitis Labrusca or Fox Grapes and it include grape varieties such as Catawba, Concord, Delavar, Isabella, Niagara as well as hybrid grapes such as Frontenac, Elvira, Onaka, etc.

Vitis Labruscas differentiate themselves from European Vitis Vinifera, with a slip-skin that allows the skin of the grape berries to slip off easily when processed. Another difference between native American and European grapes is strong, earthy aromas which are described as “foxy” to differentiate American wines from native aromas of European viniferous wines.

What do New York Wines Taste Like?

Both red and white wines from the four wine-producing areas of the New York state are strong in flavor, have lower alcohol content, and high acid levels. 

Red wines from the wine-producing regions of New York are well balanced with mostly fruity and herbal aromas; some varieties, like Cabernet Franc, tend to be spicier and feature a black pepper flavour. New York red wines develop wild aromas of leather, that is why they are also defined as “foxy wines”. The residual sugar is what gives these wines a unique flavor of wild strawberries.

The Concord red hybrid variety is mostly used to make very sweet grape juices, and it is also a common ingredient for grape-flavored jellies. 

White wines are mostly dry but with rich fruity notes, mainly highlights of peach and lime. White wines from the New York wine regions feature an underlying minerality. 


Places to Visit in New York State 

New York City – Take a Bite out of the Big Apple 

Concrete jungle where dreams are made of”, that’s how Alicia Keys defined New York City in her famous song Empire State of Mind (together with Jay-Z). All of us have dreamed of visiting the most iconic city in the world, at least once in their lifetime. NYC, as it is often called, is considered to be the financial, cultural, and media capital of the world, and therefore it plays a big part in influencing the world’s sports, fashion, research, entertainment, and commercial industries. 

New York City Manhattan midtown aerial panorama view with skyscrapers and blue sky in the day.

NYC has so much to offer to a tourist visiting for the first time. The unmissable landmarks are the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Central Park, the Met Museum, and the MoMA Museum. 

New York is also known for having been, and still being, the set of a lot of iconic TV Series and films such as Sex and the City, Manhattan, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Don’t miss the opportunity to channel your inner movie star and visit all the places that became famous on the big and small screen. 

Woodstock – A Bohemian Destination

For many, Woodstock is associated with hippies,  free love, and music festivals. Even Though this festival actually took place in Bethel, Woodstock still established the reputation of a bohemian town. 50 years after the festival, the town is still famous among nature lovers and considered to be one of the coolest destinations in the Catskills. 

While in Woodstock, take a walk on Tinker Street. Once, full of hippie shops, the ever-changing main street still offers lots of new shops and restaurants. 

For those seeking outdoor adventure, take a hike around the town as Woodstock is the home to one of the best hiking routes in the region. Don’t forget to take a moment for relax in local spa before you hit the bars or music studious to experience life music scene.

Ithaca – Experience the Finger Lakes 

Ithaca is a city located near the Finger Lakes area of New York state, one of the area’s best wine-producing regions. The most famous site in Ithaca is perhaps the campus of Cornell University, an Ivy League school with over 20 000 students from across the world. 

The best time to visit Ithaca is from spring to autumn. In spring, you will see the stunning and rich flow of the Ithaca Falls, and the open fields in full colorful bloom; in autumn, the incredible nuances of the foliage changing are a sight to see. Activities around the Ithaca include hiking through peaceful woods, picnicking in parks, canoeing, and paddling, and taste local specialties on the Ithaca Common. Another must-see in Ithaca is the Cornell Botanical Gardens which is free and open to the public during the spring. 


Nature to Visit in New York 

Because of the size and scope of the State of New York, there’s a wide range of natural habitats and different landscapes to explore and enjoy. From the north all the way down to New York City, nature will amaze you. 

Thousand Islands – Island Paradise 

The Thousand Islands is a popular destination for adventure-seekers and nature lovers in the Saint Lawrence River, between Ontario in Canada and the state of New York. The whole area consists of 21 islands. 

Visiting the islands can be both an exciting adventure and a more leisure filled experience. For most visitors it is a must to take a boat tour around all the islands; other fun and very popular outdoor activities are paddling, diving, or playing golf. For visitors who love feeling a rush of adrenaline, take a ride on the Spencer Valley Zip Line or embark on a rafting adventure.

Catskill Mountains – A Luscious Adventure 

The Catskill Mountains are a section of the Appalachian mountain range, located in the southeast of the state of New York. The name of the area comes from the Dutch, meaning “Cat Creek”. 

View of North-South Lake, from Sunset Rock, in the Catskill Mountains, New York

There are many types of activities you can do in the Catskills, that were once a very popular summer holiday destination for rich New Yorkers. Hiking and bike riding trails will lead you to amazing viewpoints and stunning valleys. If you are less adventurous, relax in the many lodges of the region. In winter, the Catskills are also a great place to do cross country skiing and snowshoeing.  

The Adirondacks – Walk Along the Path of History 

The most amazing stretches of great hikes and parks in New York State are in the Adirondack Mountains — about a 4-5-hour drive north of New York City. The Adirondack Mountain Range is so vast that it’s impossible to see them all in one day, but you’ll have a great choice of trails to make the most of your trip.

You’ll feel more acquainted with nature and American history after completing a hike through the Adirondacks, as the name of this range comes from a Mohawk word. Native American tribes, the Mohawks and Oneidas, first arrived and had the supremacy over the range until the arrival of the Europeans. 

The Adirondacks were awarded, for their great variety and conservation of flora and fauna by UNESCO with the Champlain-Adirondacks Biosphere Reserve. 


Food and Drink to Try in the New York State 

Life is a Combination of Magic and Food 

The cuisine of the New York State is made up of a melting pot of all the traditions of the various ethnic groups who came through the state. 

New York-style Pizza – Tu Vuò Fa l’Americano? 

In films and TV series, characters are often eating oily and cheesy slices of pizza and for sure you’ve wanted to join them. If you pass through New York City, you’ll finally get the possibility to try that mouth-watering pizza, commonly known as New York-style pizza. 

The main characteristics are the thick and soft crust, perfect to fold the huge slice, and a traditional topping with salted tomato sauce and double mozzarella. 

In 1905, the first pizzeria in the USA opened in Little Italy, and as many people couldn’t afford to buy an entire pizza, the owner decided to sell big and fully topped slices. 

Utica Greens – Eat Your Greens!  

This dish is proof of how Italian cuisine was adapted for the American taste and was given a twist to satisfy the local population. Utica Greens, which got this name from the city of Utica located at the foot of the Adirondacks Mountains, has a lot of ingredients: chicken stock, escarole, pecorino cheese, breadcrumbs, and a lot of healthy greens. 

Buffalo Wings – Do Buffalos Have Wings? 

Don’t be fooled – buffalo’s do not have wings! The main ingredients of this super spicy and tasty appetizer are chicken wings, cayenne pepper hot sauce, and butter. 

Buffalo Wings were invented in 1964 at the Anchor Bar in New York and have since become a phenomenon across the world. They quickly became the most popular food to eat in front of the TV, during a night-in with friends and family, and for big occasions such as the Super Bowl Night. 

Manhattan – For a Perfect Night in the Big Apple 

This smart and elegant cocktail was, probably, first-served during the 1870s at the Manhattan Club in NYC. It consists of whiskey, sweet vermouth, and Angostura bitters, served on ice or straight up in a cocktail glass with a cherry on top. 

Share about New York Wine Region:

Region Highlights

Surface: 15000
Wineries: 212
Soil: Gravel, shale, clay & sandy
Climate: Continental, maritime, humid, subtropical

Selected wineries in New York

Paumanok Vineyards
Long Island estate winery whose wines were served at the White House

Wine tastings & tours in New York

Wine tasting and tour at Paumanok Vineyards
Take full advantage of their exciting Wine Tasting & Tour sessions at Paumanok Vineyards

Other Wine Regions in USA

Alaska
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Arizona
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California
The most well-known wine state in USA. You can experience amazing wine tasting and tour activities at the various wineries in California . On our site you can read all about this regions to be prepared for your stay.
Colorado
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Map of Wineries in New York wine region

Discover the long wine tradition of New York and discover some of the best wineries in this region

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List of Wineries in New York wine region

Paumanok Vineyards