Finger Lakes AVA

Finger Lakes AVA

42° 30' N


76° 30' W




about this subregion

Nestled within the heart of the New York wine region, the Finger Lakes American Viticultural Area (AVA) is a captivating tapestry of natural beauty and winemaking excellence. This picturesque region takes its name from the 11 long, narrow lakes that carve deep valleys into the landscape, creating a unique and inviting terroir for vineyards.

Dotted with rolling hills, pristine lakeshores, and lush vineyards, the Finger Lakes AVA offers a serene environment where grapevines thrive. The presence of these deep glacial lakes, particularly Cayuga, Seneca, and Keuka, imparts a moderating influence on temperatures, extending the growing season and enabling the cultivation of a remarkable variety of grape varieties.

Among the stars of the Finger Lakes AVA are Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Riesling, and Chardonnay. Each grape variety, deeply rooted in the region's soil, reveals its distinctive character, shaped by the cool-climate nuances of this terroir.

As you explore the Finger Lakes AVA, you'll encounter vineyard vistas that stretch to the horizon, a testament to the dedication of winemakers who have harnessed the potential of this remarkable environment. Whether you're sipping a glass of elegant Chardonnay or savoring the complexities of a Riesling, the Finger Lakes AVA offers a sensory journey through a landscape where nature and winemaking craftsmanship coexist harmoniously.


vinerra illustration

Vineyard Hectares





Discover Terroir

The Finger Lakes AVA is nestled within the captivating landscape of the New York wine region, known for its picturesque beauty and exceptional vineyards. Located in the central-northern part of the state, this AVA is defined by the unique geography of eleven long, narrow lakes that carve deep valleys into the terrain, lending a distinct character to the region's vineyards.

Bordered by the surrounding counties of the New York wine region, the Finger Lakes AVA shares its viticultural tapestry with counties such as Ontario, Seneca, Cayuga, and Yates, among others. The eastern border of the AVA embraces the shimmering waters of Cayuga Lake, while the western boundary is marked by the serene beauty of Seneca Lake, both of which play pivotal roles in shaping the region's microclimates.

While the Finger Lakes AVA is a prominent wine region in New York, it does not share borders with other states or appellations. Instead, it celebrates its unique terroir, where vine-covered slopes and pristine lakeshores create a harmonious environment for grape cultivation.

The landscape of the Finger Lakes AVA is a testament to the region's commitment to winemaking excellence, where nature and vineyards coexist in breathtaking harmony. Amongst this enchanting backdrop, the region's renowned winemakers craft wines that reflect the essence of the New York wine region, making it a destination that beckons wine enthusiasts to explore its scenic beauty and diverse terroir.

The climate of the Finger Lakes American Viticultural Area (AVA) is a captivating tale of nature's intricate dance with the vines. Located in the central-northern part of the New York wine region, this AVA boasts a climate characterized by its cool to cold winters and warm summers, a complex mosaic shaped by the eleven long and narrow lakes that grace its landscape.

Winters in the Finger Lakes can be rigorous, with cold temperatures and substantial snowfall. These frigid months play a crucial role in vineyard management, inducing a period of dormancy that helps grapevines conserve energy for the growing season ahead. However, the proximity of the deep glacial lakes, particularly Seneca, Cayuga, and Keuka, acts as a moderating influence on winter temperatures. The waters absorb heat during the summer and release it during the winter, providing a protective blanket against extreme cold, a phenomenon known as the "lake effect."

Come spring, the Finger Lakes awaken from their wintry slumber. Bud break heralds the start of the growing season, but it can be a vulnerable time for vineyards, as late frosts are not uncommon. Vigilant vineyard management practices are crucial to protect the young shoots.

Summer unveils a beautiful transformation in the region. Warm, sun-soaked days, balanced by cool nights, create ideal conditions for grape development. The diurnal temperature variation, often significant, allows grapes to ripen gradually, preserving acidity and flavor intensity. It's during this season that the Finger Lakes truly shine, with ample sunshine nurturing the vineyards.

Autumn, a time of grape harvest, is the culmination of the growing season. Crisp days and cool nights allow grapes to achieve the optimal balance of sugars and acidity, resulting in wines with vibrant character. Harvest is a time of celebration, as winemakers carefully handpick each cluster, ensuring that the fruits of their labor reflect the essence of the Finger Lakes.

The climate of the Finger Lakes AVA may be challenging, but it is also rewarding. It's a climate where grapevines thrive against the odds, where winemakers embrace the dance of nature, and where the resulting wines embody the unique terroir of this remarkable region. Amidst the serene beauty of lakeshores and vine-covered hills, the Finger Lakes AVA continues to captivate both winemakers and wine enthusiasts, offering wines that are a testament to the enduring partnership between nature and viticulture.

The Finger Lakes American Viticultural Area (AVA) is a captivating wine region nestled within the heart of the New York wine territory. Renowned for its picturesque landscapes and pristine lakeshores, this AVA boasts a rich viticultural heritage, shaped by a harmonious interplay of geography, climate, and soil. It is in this enchanting setting that grapevines flourish, producing wines that bear the indelible mark of the Finger Lakes' unique terroir. Join us on a journey through the Finger Lakes AVA, where the beauty of the land meets the artistry of winemaking, resulting in wines that embody the essence of this remarkable region.

  1. Limestone and Shale Soils: The Finger Lakes AVA is blessed with a diverse range of soil types, and limestone and shale-based soils are prevalent. These well-draining, mineral-rich soils are particularly conducive to the cultivation of grape varieties like Riesling and Chardonnay. They provide excellent drainage, which encourages deep root growth and contributes to the region's signature minerality in its wines.
  2. Glacial Till Soils: Glacial till soils are a common sight in the Finger Lakes region, a legacy of the last Ice Age. Comprising a mix of sand, silt, clay, and rocks, these soils offer a complex and dynamic terroir. Grapevines in these soils must adapt to varying levels of drainage, making them versatile and well-suited to a range of varieties, from Cabernet Franc to Pinot Noir.
  3. Clay Loam Soils: In some areas of the Finger Lakes AVA, clay loam soils prevail. These soils retain moisture well, ensuring consistent water availability to the vines. While they may require careful vineyard management to avoid waterlogging, they are suitable for a variety of grape types, including Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
  4. Silty Soils: Silty soils, characterized by their fine particle size, are also found in the region. These soils offer good water retention and are often conducive to the cultivation of red grape varieties like Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir. They are particularly valued for their ability to impart elegance and finesse to wines.
  5. Gravelly Soils: Gravelly soils, rich in rocky content, are prominent in some Finger Lakes vineyards. These soils promote excellent drainage and encourage deep root penetration, making them ideal for grapevines. Varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon thrive in these conditions, producing wines with notable structure and character.
  6. Sandy Loam Soils: Sandy loam soils are well-draining and can be found in various parts of the Finger Lakes AVA. They offer a versatile canvas for grape growing, accommodating both red and white varieties. Vineyard management practices are essential to ensure balanced vine growth and fruit development.

These diverse soil types in the Finger Lakes AVA contribute to the region's rich tapestry of terroir. Winemakers carefully select vineyard sites based on soil composition, harnessing the unique characteristics of each soil type to craft wines that reflect the essence of this captivating winegrowing region.


Within the idyllic Finger Lakes American Viticultural Area (AVA), where rolling vine-covered hills meet pristine lakeshores, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Riesling, and Chardonnay are the esteemed grape varieties that paint the landscape. With vines flourishing in the region's unique terroir, each grape variety exhibits its distinctive physical attributes, thriving amidst diverse climatic conditions and viticultural practices.

1. Pinot Noir: Pinot Noir vines in the Finger Lakes AVA boast compact clusters of dark-purple to black-skinned berries. These vines thrive in the cool-climate terroir of the region, where meticulous canopy management and vineyard practices are essential to ensure even ripening. Pinot Noir's finicky nature demands careful attention, making it a rewarding but challenging grape to cultivate.

2. Cabernet Franc: Cabernet Franc vines present themselves with vibrant green leaves and clusters of small, deep-purple grapes. These vines are well-suited to the Finger Lakes' climate, particularly in areas with a longer growing season. Cabernet Franc requires careful monitoring to balance yields and ripening, resulting in wines that showcase its characteristic charm and versatility.

3. Riesling: Riesling vines grace the Finger Lakes AVA with greenish-yellow to golden-hued berries. Their resilience in the region's cool climate and mineral-rich soils is a testament to their adaptability. Riesling benefits from extended hang-time to achieve the desired sugar and acidity balance, emphasizing its vibrant and crisp characteristics.

4. Chardonnay: Chardonnay grapes, with their green to golden-yellow appearance, thrive across the Finger Lakes region. These versatile vines adapt well to various soil types and climates, allowing winemakers to craft an array of styles. Careful vineyard practices and canopy management are essential to achieving the desired balance and flavor complexity.

These grape varieties in the Finger Lakes AVA reflect the dynamic interplay between the region's diverse terroir and its winemakers' dedication. The physical beauty of these vines is just the beginning of the journey, as the Finger Lakes' unique agricultural and climatic conditions contribute to the creation of wines that resonate with the essence of this captivating winegrowing region.

Wines from the Finger Lakes American Viticultural Area (AVA) are a harmonious embodiment of the region's serene landscapes. With a spectrum of visual allure, from pale golden Rieslings to deep crimson Pinot Noirs, these wines captivate the senses with their diverse characteristics. Now, let's explore the aromatic and flavor profiles of some of the most common wines that emerge from this picturesque region.

1. Riesling: In the glass, Finger Lakes Rieslings shimmer with hues ranging from pale straw to vibrant gold. Aromatically, they entice with notes of crisp green apple, zesty citrus, and delicate floral bouquets. On the palate, these wines reveal a symphony of flavors, from refreshing lime and honeydew to subtle mineral undertones, all harmoniously balanced by the region's signature acidity.

2. Cabernet Franc: Finger Lakes Cabernet Franc wines present a captivating ruby-red visual allure. Their aromatic profile unveils a tapestry of red berries, notably raspberry and red currant, intertwined with herbal nuances and a touch of spice. On the palate, you'll discover a medley of flavors, including red plum, green bell pepper, and a whisper of earthiness, all wrapped in a cloak of elegant tannins.

3. Chardonnay: Chardonnays from the Finger Lakes region exhibit a golden radiance in the glass. Aromas of orchard fruits, such as apple and pear, greet the nose, accompanied by subtle hints of vanilla and toasted oak. These wines unfold on the palate with flavors of tropical fruit, creamy butter, and a delightful touch of minerality, often showcasing a harmonious balance between fruit and oak influence.

4. Pinot Noir: The visual appeal of Finger Lakes Pinot Noir resides in its captivating garnet or ruby hues. Aromatically, these wines enchant with notes of red cherry, cranberry, and a delicate floral perfume. On the palate, the flavors are a delicate interplay of red fruits, accented by hints of earth and spice, wrapped in a silky texture that lingers gracefully.

These common wines from the Finger Lakes AVA encapsulate the region's diverse terroir and winemaking expertise. Each bottle tells a story of the land's unique fingerprint, inviting wine enthusiasts on a sensory journey through the picturesque landscapes of this remarkable wine region.