Insider's Guide to Cayuga Lake's Best Wineries

Finger Lakes Wine Country has close to a hundred wineries, breweries, and distilleries in the area. The Cayuga Lake area alone has over 25 unique wineries. With this many excellent wineries, it's difficult to decide which ones to visit during a typical stay in our area. In this article, we've picked four of our favorite wineries located along Cayuga Lake. If you have questions about of the wineries in our area, feel free to contact us or any of our Unique Lodging of Ithaca hosts. We'll be more than happy to answer any questions you might have. 

Sheldrake Point Winery

  • Address: 7448 County Rd 153, Ovid, NY
  • Hours: Daily, 12:00 p.m until 5:00 p.m
  • Distance from Ithaca: 22.1 miles

Sheldrake Point Winery, located on the western shore of Cayuga Lake, is known for its beautiful location. It overlooks Cayuga Lake in one direction and it's scenic vineyards in the other. The winery's tasting room is surrounded by a beautifully laid-out garden. The actual tasting room is calm and relaxing and is one of the few tasting rooms in the area that can be accessed by boat. (They currently have eight boat slips available.) The winery has a second tasting room that is sometimes available.

The staff at Sheldrake Point Vineyard is very knowledgeable and engaging. They provide you with plenty of detailed information about the wines you taste and the histories or the wines.

Sheldrake Point Vineyard is known for its Cabernet Franc, Rieslings, and dessert wines. They also offer quality ice wines. Their most popular wine is Sheldrake Point's Dry Rose, which is also the best selling wine in the Finger Lakes region. Their Gamay Noir is also popular, especially when paired with a meal.

Americana Vineyards and Winery

  • Address: 4367 E Covert Rd, Interlaken, NY
  • Hours: Friday through Sunday, 11:00 a.m until 5:00 p.m
  • Distance from Ithaca: 14.8 miles

Americana Vineyards Winery is located in a sprawling 1820s swing barn, with a wrap-around porch and rustic, farmhouse-style interior. Both the winery and the tasting room are located in the barn.

The is known for its excellent dry and semi-dry white wines and red wines. Wines made from their Baco Noir grape are especially popular. Their Revolutionary Red is also worth sampling.

Americana Vineyards Winery also has an excellent gift shop where you can pick up wine-related gifts, local honey and maple syrup, and even barbecue sauce. The winery is also adjacent to Crystal Lake Cafe, a great place to enjoy lunch in the spring and summer months.

Thirsty Owl Wine Company

  • Address: 6799 Elm Beach Rd, Ovid, NY
  • Hours: Daily, 10:00 a.m until 5:30 p.m
  • Distance from Ithaca: 23.7 miles

Thirsty Owl Wine Company is located on Cayuga Lake's western shore. The 150-acre property has over 2,000 of lake frontage, offering great views of the Cayuga Lake and the surrounding vineyard. Like other wineries and vineyards in the area, Thirsty Owl's tasting room is accessible by boat. Just pull up to the dock and the staff will give you a ride up to the vineyard grounds.

Thirsty Owl's wines have won a number of awards. Recently, their Pinot Noir was highly rated in the Tasters Guild International competition, as well as unique Malbec and Syrah wines.

Thirsty Owl also has a bistro that serves excellent burgers and sandwiches for lunch. They also have a gift shop that has a variety of wines and locally-produced foods.

Goose Watch Winery

  • Address: 5480 NY-89, Romulus, NY
  • Hours: Friday through Monday, 11:00 a.m until 5:00 p.m
  • Distance from Ithaca: 28.3 miles

Goose Watch Winery is located in a refurbished barn on Cayuga Lake, surrounded by a chestnut grove. They have a wrap-around deck and picnic area where you can enjoy unforgettable views of the lake. You can also access the winery by boat in the summertime. Besides a tasting room, Goose Watch Winery has a large hexagonal bar that adds to the welcoming atmosphere of the surroundings.

Goose Watch Winery is known for its unique and innovative wines. For example, they off a Villard Blanc that is unique to New York State. Another unusual wine is Traminette, made from a premium grape developed at Cornell University. Goose Watch Winery even offers a non-alcoholic Blush Grape Juice that is definitely worth a try.