Celebrate Harvest with the CLWT

Sep 27, 2016

Fall has officially arrived here in the Finger Lakes. If there’s one thing we’re good at, it’s throwing a party. The wine industry loves to a good reason to rock, join us as we celebrate harvest. October is jam packed with ridiculously awesome shindigs from lobster rolls to pumpkin chuckin. We’ll keep ya busy!

My friends at Treleaven by King Ferry Winery start the month out with their Harvest Festival on the 8th and 9th from 10am to 5pm. They’ve got a full lineup of live music along with traditional grape stompings, craft beer, lawn games, and some of the best Chardonnay on the Trail. Fill your belly with scrumptious offerings from local food trucks. Then, if you’re feeling artsy, enter the pumpkin painting contest. BYOP and paint for free, or there is a $2 entry fee if you choose to pick a pumpkin at the event. Seating’s first-come, first-serve, but you may bring your own blankets and chairs.

That same weekend, on Sunday the 9th, Toro Run hosts its Second Annual Leaf Peepers Seafood Festival from noon to 5pm. The menu consists of Crab Mac & Cheese, Raw Oysters, Conch or Clam Chowder, Shrimp Burgers, Lobster Rolls, Seafood Paella, and Peel & Eat Shrimp. Not a seafood fan? They’ll also have their famous Brazilian BBQ featuring locally made Riesling Hot Dogs and Chardonnay Kielbasa from Schrader Farms Meat Market, salt potatoes, hamburgers and some of the best chicken barbeque I have ever had, if I do say so myself. Bring a blanket or lawn chair and relax on the hillside taking in the stunning view from their property while you listen to live music by The Diana Jacobs Band. Admission is free, and I recommend going on an empty stomach!

Then, as he does every month, Chef John McNabb flexes his culinary muscles with a 5 course showcase using local ingredients in The Root of it All Wine Dinner. It’s set for Saturday October 15th from 6:30 to 10pm. The event description reads “Roasted parsnips, turnips, beets, carrots, potatoes, that will be served alongside hearty meats or delicate seafood in a flavorful and vibrant style.  Sprinkled with fresh sprigs of thyme and rosemary, they complete very savory dishes. This is a five course meal paired with premium wines from Knapp Winery, Chateau LaFayette Reneau Wine Cellars, Zugibe Vineyards and Glenora Wine Cellars”. Tickets are $74.90, which includes tax and gratuity and can be purchased on Knapp Winery’s website.

Another staple along the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail is Goose Watch Winery’s Chestnut Festival from 12-5pm on Saturday October 22nd. Grapes aren’t all that is harvested during the fall- at Goose Watch they bring in the nuts! Sample a variety of foods made from their own chestnuts. They’ll have warm mulled wine, barbeque from Thurston's and ice cream from the Cayuga Lake Creamery! Play lawn games while overlooking the beautiful fall foliage! Admission is free.

Close out the month at Americana Vineyards. Go dressed as your favorite Rockstar, Passed or Present.  It’s the theme for the 14th Annual Hallo-Wine Spooktacular the evening of Saturday the 29th. From 8pm to midnight, DJ Elephant Sound will be spinning tunes and at 10:30, those in the Best Female Rockstar, Best Male Rockstar and Best Rock Group costumes will win gift baskets filled with Americana goodies. Tickets are $15 and include treats from Crystal Lake Café as well as your first glass of wine. Admission (21 and over only) is limited, so make sure you call to reserve your spot. They will sell out of tickets! Rock on, folks!

I saved the most unique for last. I love this. Every weekend in October at Varick Winery & Vineyard, they offer Pumpkin Chuckin’. Hurl pumpkins across the property with a giant sling shot. The winery is open from 9:30am to 6pm. Regular tasting fees apply, $4 to taste 6 wines.

Harvest is in full swing, let the party begin!


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