Ultimate Guide to New York Wine Country

Wine Tours in New York
A bike tour around local vineyards is a great way to get an up-close view of the grapes -- and a workout, to boot!
A bike tour around local vineyards is a great way to get an up-close view of the grapes -- and a workout, to boot!

Wine tours are a fun, and often educational, way to explore New York wine country. There are wine tours for every type of traveler -- you can get adventurous in a kayak or hot air balloon, or keep things a little more low-key and travel by car or limo.

A hot air balloon ride is one of the most breathtaking ways to take in the picturesque wine country scenery. Companies like Liberty Balloon Co. take you up in the air for a guided wine tour. You can launch from wineries, lakeside, or a local park or bed-and-breakfast for a unique wine country experience. Remember to dress in layers, because balloon rides normally start early in the morning when it's chilly, and it warms up while you're up in the air.

More active travelers might want to check out New York Wine Country by bike or kayak. Cyclists can take guided bike tours between wineries, like a tour of North Fork wineries by Adventure Cycles & Sports. Bike tours often include a picnic lunch along with visits to regional wineries. Many New York State wineries are located near lakes and rivers, so kayak trips are a great way to see the countryside and get a little exercise at the same time. You won't see too many rapids in upstate New York, but you will encounter beautiful scenery, wildlife and, of course, wine!

Looking for a more relaxed trip through wine country? You can experience the charm of the Finger Lakes without any paddling on a cruise. Companies like Cayuga Lake Cruises take you out on the water where you can enjoy cocktails and regional foods on their ferry boats.

A bus or limo allows you to check out more wineries while still taking things easy. Every region has bus and limo tours, so it's best to do some research to find a tour that's right for you. Tours can range from very specialized, private events, like the Hudson Valley Wine Country Bachelorette Wine Tour, to a professionally guided luxury limo tour of Long Island wineries.

Of course, you can also rent a car and tour New York wine country on your own. Traveling solo lets you explore at your own pace. The trick is to plan ahead, so that you don't spend more time on the road than at tastings. You'll need to find wineries you want to visit, and some areas of New York wine country even have trip-planning tools on their Web sites to help you create your own customized tour.

For more wine articles, check out the links on the next page.

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