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Sweet Spots: Late Harvest Wine Producers Worth Visiting

by Elyse Glickman

Nov 15, 2023

© Seneca Lake Wine Trail


Early fall may be a popular time for a drive to wine country, but there is much to be said about traveling just a touch off season. Although fall foliage may be less vibrant, crowds have died down. This makes this time of year a particularly delightful time to visit producers known for late harvest wines. Just before the holiday season, grapes intended for late harvest wines are harvested because of the more concentrated sugar content.

Late harvest wines not only pair well with fruits, nuts, cheese and desserts, but may also make a great base for low-ABV cocktails and balance the palate when paired with spicy foods. Many late harvest wines also have a longer shelf life than others after the bottle is uncorked. Trips to various wineries and their tasting rooms, in turn, not only explain the process of late harvest wine making, but also provide practical advice on serving them and pairing them with food at home or ordering them when they go out to eat.

As one of the nation’s largest wine production areas, Sonoma County, California, is dotted with several wineries known for late harvest wines and other attributes. Some wineries, including Anaba Wines and La Crema Estate, have been recognized for their adherence to sustainable cultivation and renewable energy methods. Bella Vineyards & Wine Caves offers wine tastings on its lawn overlooking the vineyards or in its wine cave, as well as private guided hikes through the vineyards. Sonoma-Cutrer offers a variety of wine tour and tasting experiences including its novel Croquet Court Reservation and Heritage Tasting, where the fee is waived for every three bottles of wine purchased.

Seneca Lake

© Seneca Lake Wine Trail

Brisk fall and winter conditions in Upstate New York’s Finger Lakes region yield grapes making potent and flavorful late harvest wines. In the largest wine-producing area east of California (130 wineries and counting), late harvest producers include Sheldrake Point Winery in Cayuga Lake; Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyards; and Hunt Country Vineyards, noted for its late harvest vignoles varietal wines.

Wineries along Seneca Lake Wine Trail within the Finger Lakes region worth checking out include Boundary Breaks Winery, noted for its late harvest Riesling and Gewurztraminer Late Harvest wines and location on the shores of Seneca Lake, and Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars, for its new tasting room, solar-powered electrical energy usage and award-winning 2021 Late-Harvest Vidal Ice Wine. Wagner Vineyards, which offers a 2021 Riesling Ice Wine, also has a brewery, restaurant and sweeping views of Seneca Lake.



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