Crisp air, the changing color of the leaves, bare rows of vines recently harvested of grapes starting their journey to a delicious fate – New York Wineries pair perfectly with the fall season.
In the summer months, patio views of sun-kissed vineyards provide the feeling of being someplace distant like Napa or Bordeaux, but there’s something distinctly New York to be appreciated of the state’s many wine-growing regions in the fall. Maybe it’s the foliage or the proximity to other seasonal activities like pumpkin picking and apple picking. Maybe it’s the wine.
From the much-acclaimed wine trail of Long Island to the home of the nation’s oldest vines in the Hudson Valley, and the numerous wine and beverage routes north of New York City, the Empire State’s wine country is vast and varied.
For the quintessential fall experience, we’ve outlined suggestions for what to do at New York wineries in autumn including this year’s wine-related fall festivals and top wine trails to visit.
Grape stomping fall festivals at New York wineries
Benmarl’s Harvest September and October Grape Stomping Festivals
Experience the old world tradition of stomping on grapes at the country’s oldest vineyard! Toast to fall with Benmarl’s award-winning small-batch wines, dance to live music and be prepared to get your feet dirty! Benmarl’s historic estate has one of the best views in the Hudson Valley, perfect for enjoying the foliage, which will be at its peak during the October festival.
When you’re going on a trip, sometimes the best thing to do is to follow your stomach. In recent years, food tourism has become more and more popular.
Annual Hunt County Vineyards Harvest Festival
September 29-30, 2018
Free general admission
Surrounded by the beauty of the Finger Lakes, Hunt County Vineyard’s annual harvest festival features food, hayrides through the vines, tastings with the wine making team, crafts, live music and a pumpkin carving contest. Grape stomping is held throughout the day with prizes awarded to the best child and adult stompers.
Other festivals and parties for fall 2018
Wölffer Estate Harvest Party
October 6, 2018
See website for admission prices.
Wölffer Estate always holds its annual harvest party the Saturday of Columbus Day weekend. Enjoy lunch accompanied by signature Wölffer wines, as well as barrel-rolling, face painting, hayrides and live music. Their dry rosé and white ciders are a taste of fall, made only from New York State apples.
Millbrook Vineyards and Winery Harvest Party
October 13, 2018
See website for admission prices.
Held around the time that foliage is best in the Hudson Valley, the colorful surrounding trees provide a picturesque backdrop for the Millbrook Vineyard and Winery’s Harvest Party. A four-course luncheon is prepared and serviced by students from the nearby Culinary Institute of America and comes with wine pairings and tips from CIA’s expert wine instructors. Millbrook has award-winning wines and has been named “Best Winery” in the Hudson Valley for 20 consecutive years.
Niagara Wine Trail Harvest Festival
September 22-23, 2018
Tickets are $22 per person in advance online and $27 per person at wineries during event (valid all weekend).
Harvest Festival is kind of like restaurant week for Niagara Wine Trail wineries. All weekend long, participating wineries will be offering a tasting of three wines along with a sample of harvest-themed cuisine. Pay one price for as many wineries as you can visit. You make your own itinerary.
Lake Erie Wine Country Harvest Celebration Weekends
November 2-4 & November 9-11, 2018
Regular tickets are $38 (valid for all three days).
Harvest Celebration Weekends are a fun excuse to get together with friends and try some of the Lake Erie region’s top Merlots, dry Rieslings and best-selling sweet and semi-sweet wines. All 25 of Lake Erie Wine Country’s New York and nearby Pennsylvania wineries will be participating in the event, which includes a food and wine sample, wine tastings and more. For one price, enjoy as many wineries as you can over the three days. You make your own itinerary.
Long Island winery bike tours and wine wagon
Bike tours are a unique way to experience Long Island wine country in the fall. Take in the scenic landscape and autumn-tinged views of Long Island’s East End as you pedal through vineyards and other fun and historic stops with East End Bike Tours – a luxury experience that includes food, tastings and shopping. Read all about an East End Bike Tour experience here.
For an adventure that is more winery-focused, look into Pour & Pedal, which specializes exclusively in North Fork and South Fork winery trips. On Pour & Pedal tours, guides lead you to several different vineyards, where exclusive wine tastings, cellar tours and a gourmet picnic lunch await.
Hop aboard the North Fork Wine Wagon for an unforgettable winery experience with friends. On this fun contraption, everyone pedals along as a professional driver steers. The Wine Wagon accommodates up to 14 people and allows each group to choose their stops and listen to their own music.
Top New York wineries and trails to visit in the fall
You don’t need an event to attend to have a fun fall winery experience. Whether you are looking to party or relax, you can customize your vineyard visit to your liking. Here are our top picks for can’t-miss New York Wineries for the season.
With pumpkin picking, apple picking, corn mazes, hayrides, farm animals and a slew of other fun activities, Harbes Family Farm is known for their harvest festivities. Also a thriving vineyard, their wines are just as noteworthy. They’re also situated near some of the best New York wineries. Bring the entire family and visit one of the three Harbes farms on the North Fork of Long Island. A tasting barn is at the Mattituck location, but wine tastings are available at all locations during the busy fall season.
Though it’s mostly known for the Baseball Hall of Fame, there is plenty more to do in the charming village of Cooperstown, including a 37-mile beverage trail that boasts breweries, wineries, a distillery and a historic cider mill. What could be better on a cool fall day then all of the above?
Discover the wines, ciders and distilled spirits of the Hudson Valley on the Shawangunk Wine Trail, consisting of 14 wineries nestled between the Shawangunk Mountains and the Hudson River. It includes Benmarl (mentioned above for its Grape Stomping Festival), which is the oldest vineyard in America, and Brotherhood, the oldest winery in the nation. Along the wine trail, there are many opportunities to enjoy the spectacular foliage, history and cuisine of the area.
Have you been to any of these wineries? Tell us in the comments.