Food

Happy Trails To You

The Finger Lakes wine trails open 2016 with new events.

Photo provided by Niki Litov via Thinkstock

A new year means a new roster of events on the three main Finger Lakes wine trails — and, in some cases, some brand new events.

The Seneca Lake Wine Trail offers nine events this year. Two are newbies.

Red Red Wine: There’s more to life than Riesling. This one-day event, scheduled for March 5, celebrates the region’s red wines, like Cabernet Franc, Meritage, Merlot, Lemberger and Pinot Noir. Check in at your designated starting winery and enjoy a self-guided tour of the wineries of Seneca Lake, with wine and food pairings at each stop. Tickets purchased in advance are $25; designated driver ducats are $20.

Veggies and Varietals: For this May 7 event, member wineries will prepare and serve a wide range of vegetarian dishes, paired with a variety of wines. Kyle Anne Pallischeck, marketing communications manager for the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, says this new event is being introduced in response to the growing interest in vegetarian lifestyle and food choices.

“The trail is consistently looking for new event ideas, and recognizing the versatility of pairing our cool-climate wines with vegetarian dishes we feel has broad appeal,” she says. “We anticipate that even our omnivorous guests will still enjoy the event.”

Even though the event is three months away, the wine trail has received enthusiastic feedback about it on social media. A recent post on the trail’s Facebook page, which sought input on what type of vegetarian dishes visitors would look forward to sampling, received more than 200 comments and more than 140 “shares.” Suggestions included ratatouille, organic vegetable stir-fry, vegetarian-vegan lasagna and cauliflower pizza, among others.

Check in at your designated starting winery, pick up your tickets and begin a self-guided tour of Seneca Lake, stopping at the wineries of your choosing. Advance tickets are $25 per person, $20 for designated drivers.

The Seneca Lake Wine Trail is also offering a $5 discount on all ticket purchases in 2016. Visit senecalakewine.com and at the checkout, enter the discount code lakes.

On the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail, meat — specifically bacon — plays a starring role in an event that debuted last year and is making a comeback this year.

“Bakein on the Lakein” takes place March 19 and 20 at the trail’s 16 member wineries. Visitors will enjoy bacon-infused dishes, wines that complement them and additional wine samples. Tickets are good for the full weekend and include a souvenir wine glass, food and wine tastings at each stop and a chance to win a barbecue-themed gift basket.

Tickets are $30 in advance, with discounts for designated drivers. For information on “Bakein on the Lakein” and other Cayuga Trail events, including Mardi Gras at the wineries (Feb. 20 and 21), visit cayugawinetrail.com.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, the Keuka Lake Wine Trail kicks off its 2016 event season with a getaway weekend for wine and cheese lovers on Saturday, Feb. 13, and Sunday, Feb. 14. Tickets for the weekend (both days) are $25 in advance, $20 for designated drivers. Sunday-only tickets are $19 in advance, $14 for designated drivers. For information on this and other events, including lodging, visit keukawinetrail.com.

Say Cheese

An organization that promotes artisan cheeses produced in the Finger Lakes region has changed its name. The Finger Lakes Cheese Trail is now the Finger Lakes Cheese Alliance.

“The word ‘trail’ gave the impression to the consumer that we were like the wine/beer trails, where we were all open every day and ‘wanted’ visitors on our farms,” stated Carmella Hoffman, of Sunset View Creamery in Odessa, in a news release. “Which is not always the case, especially with some of our smaller producers.”

According to the website, “We are just broadening our focus to the cheeses and the many great places and events you can get them — from our farms to farm markets, wineries to local stores, restaurants to events.”

The alliance sponsors events such as the fifth annual Finger Lakes Cheese Festival, to be held July 23 at Sunset View Creamery. For more information on the cheese alliance, its members and events, visit flcheesetrail.com/cheese-festival.

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