Wine Pairs Best with Chocolates

Jan 25, 2016

It’s that time of year again when mutterings of weekend getaways and date nights are heard in our tasting rooms. As Valentine’s Day approaches, the wineries are gearing up for a weekend of sweets – and I don’t just mean wine.

Many of our member wineries host Valentine’s Day events for friends, couples, and dynamic duos of any kind. Throughout the weekend, starting on Friday the 12th, Americana Vineyards offers Chocolate, Wine & Roses, theirannual Valentine's Weekend celebration. Customers are given a complimentary rose with any purchase in the winery or Café and offered wine and fudge pairings at the tasting counter.

Then, on both Saturday and Sunday, take advantage of the biggest red wine sale of the year – the Sweetheart of a Red Wine Sale at both Swedish Hill and Goose Watch Wineries. The wineries are just minutes apart and both owned by the Peterson family. For the perfect pairing, bring your Valentine to sample featured red wines and receive a complimentary dessert at both locations. Experience the range of styles and flavors of their red wines, from dry to sweet, oak aged or stainless steel.  If your sweetheart loves red wine, this is a must-do.

While you are out tasting, and if you plan to visit both Swedish Hill and Goose Watch, it’s also Sweet Sensation Weekend at Varick Winery & Vineyard, which is between the two.  Enjoy fine wines paired with complimentary tasty treats such as cheesecake, apple pie, chocolate, and brownies. Satisfy your sweet tooth all day long.

Looking for a romantic dinner for two? Check out the Starry Starry Night Wine Dinner prepared by Executive Chef John McNabb at Knapp’s Vineyard Restaurant. With twinkle lights and flickering candles, your date is guaranteed to think they’re on the set of a romantic movie.  Chef McNabb promises to create a special dinner that is way better than roses and chocolates. This five course meal is paired with premium wines from Knapp Winery and others from the Finger Lakes region. Advance tickets can be purchased at

If you’re not interested in all the hubbub of the Valentine’s Day theme, Americana Vineyards is still hosting their Friday night concert series, with The Zydeco Trail Riders, led by Greg Grodem, on vocals and accordions, with Jim Reidy on guitar, Ted Oberhaus on bass, Stuart Krasnoff on drums, and Sally Freund on rubboard. On Sunday night, catch Blue Skies,known for their acoustic interpretations of vintage jazz and blues standards. Their musical style is a mixture of "Paris Hot Club," "NY City Cabaret," and "Dixieland Blues" with some "Old Fashioned String Band" thrown in, all done on violin, mandolin, acoustic guitars and bass with combinations of solo and harmony vocals. The concerts are free and I highly recommend the Grilled Cheese for dinner. With cheddar, gruyere, goat cheese, smoked Gouda and tomato on sourdough, I often refer to it as “life-changing”.

If you traveled a ways to visit and might want to make a weekend out of it, I highly recommend picking up a new 2016 Vino Visa Coupon Book. Along with discounts from the wineries and local attractions, there are coupons for area accommodations in Seneca Falls, Ithaca, Romulus and Ovid.


I would also be remiss to mention that we’re once again participating in Ithaca Loves Teachers Winter Recess, celebrating school teachers with a well-deserved discount. From February 13-21 the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail is offering teachers $5 off a $35 wine purchase at any of the 16 member wineries.


For those of you who might be busy on the weekend of Valentine’s Day, the Trail is hosting the 14th Annual Mardi Gras Celebration the following weekend, February 20th and 21st. Wine, prizes, food and fun at all 16 member wineries. Presale tickets are going fast.

It’s probably also a great time for me to mention that Bacon on the Lakein was such a hit the first year that we’re definitely having another. The date is set for March 19th and 20th and we’ve already sold a significant amount of tickets.

Transportation and accommodation packages are available for all events, making them the perfect gift for your Valentine. More details can be found on and by calling the office at 800-684-5217.

Cassandra Harrington is the executive director of the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail. To learn more, visit