The southern tip of Cayuga Lake is the place we call home. We drive past part of the inlet each and every day, often my husband’s favorite part of his commute. (We own The Hand of Fate Tattoo Parlor in downtown Ithaca, NY. *Shameless Plug* The Hand Of Fate Tattoo Parlor – About.) Ithaca is also the home to Cornell University, Ithaca College, and more restaurants per capita than New York City. There is a lot to eat in our little town, and a lot of choices. (…as long as you don’t want Mexican food. So far, we are severely lacking in that department, imho… L.A. made me painfully aware of that.)
The lake provides us with the real REASON people live in this area. We live on its shores, watching the leaves change from fresh new buds, to reds and yellows, a hot flash before white gorges and piercing blue skies. We flock to the water during the summer months, celebrating the sunshine and swimming every chance we get, in every possible waterfall and swimming hole we can find. We were married outside, in front of a waterfall at the beginning of fall. There is a diving board on the “altar” in the summer months, and we go swimming in our “weddin’ hole” every year.The Finger Lakes are a special place, and Ithaca is our Bat Cave….
During the last ice age, glaciers carved out all eleven Finger Lakes, eventually leaving us with a few sweet spots to grow grapes on their shores. The climate around the larger lakes is much more temperate during the harsh winters and warm summer months, due to the depths of the water. This lake effect helps to maintain a climate that is prime for cool climate viticulture. The slopes are steep enough to provide water drainage during the rainy spring, and protect the vines from the elements when the weather looks more like Upstate NY. I won’t get into all of the hot and heavy grape logistics yet, but viticulture (the study of grape growing) is my latest obsession.
There are now just under twenty wineries on the Cayuga Lake Wine trail, not including farm distilleries. The wines that are produced in this area are starting to garner international industry recognition, with wine makers taking risks and breaking new ground in production. There are hybrid grapes grown next to varietals, blends created by horticulturists and science, bred specifically for our climate and geography. It’s an exciting time to live in the Finger Lakes region, especially if you love wine adventures.