AWG Correspondent

Julie Grice

Caywood Vineyards Photos

Caywood Vineyards Review

Regions: Finger Lakes AVA, Seneca Lake AVA, New York

Reviewed: May 24, 2014 by Julie Grice
Published: June 7, 2014

The Place:  The outside of the Caywood Vineyards tasting room is both charming and unassuming. A slate stairway leads up to the blue-grey barn.

The interior is gorgeous, filled with all the charm you'd hope for from a winery. The floor is tiled, and the tasting room is filled with rustic touches. A spiral staircase adorned with a wrought iron railing winds its way up to a second floor. Though the upper level is closed to visitors, the stairs add to the whimsical feel of the place. There are two tasting bars constructed of redwood and recycled, oak wine tanks. The main bar looks out over the Riesling and Chardonnay vineyards and lake. In the winter, the place gets a boost of coziness from the floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace just across from the bar.

The Experience:  Rather than charging a tasting fee for a set number of pours, Caywood opts instead to charge $4 for however many pours you'd like, "within reason." The pours are relatively small, which isn't a big concern here given the liberal tasting policy. Though this is a very generous policy, the less-than-personable staff may make you want to cut your visit short.

The server was nice enough, but seemed to have little to no interest in talking about the wines. When asked about which wines she would recommend, she simply replied, "whatever you'd like," and whisked away to the next tasting group. Few descriptions of, or tidbits about, the wines were offered as they were poured, and the server never lingered after a pour to see what we thought or to talk about the wines.

The Wines:  Most of the wines on the tasting menu come from Caywood Vineyards' parent winery, Pleasant Valley Wine Company. All of the wines are either sparkling or sweet, so this is the place to go if you enjoy Niagaras, Catawbas, sherries or champagnes. This holds especially true for fans of sherry, which usually calls for an extra tasting fee at other wineries, but are included in the $4 tasting here.

The sparkling wines rang from the Pleasant Valley Special Reserve, a dry and crisp 100% Riesling, to the sweet Pleasant Valley Spumante to the Millenium Brut Champagne, made mostly of Chardonnay grapes.

As far as varietal wines go, most of the options on the menu are Niagaras, Catawbas, Concords or a combination thereof. The exceptions are the tart yet smooth Brickstone Semi-Dry Riesling, the honey-like Caywood Vineyards Trifecta Vidal Blanc Ice Wine, and the flowery Sauterne and the Chocolate Lab. The one wine recommendation we received from our server was to try mixing the Strawberry White Zinfandel with the Chocolate Lab to create a drink reminiscent of dessert in a glass.

Extras:  The only goods available for purchase are bottles of wine. So if you are planning on picking up some wine accouterments or the kinds of local foods you'd typically find in a winery's gift shop, you'll have to do so at a different winery.

Insiders' Tip:  Parking is limited, so be prepared to wait or maneuver around other cars.

Address & Contact Information: 9666 State Route 414 Hector, New York 14841. Telephone: 607-582-7230, email:, website: Tasting Hours: May-Oct: 11:00-5:00, see website for off-season hours.

Overall Rating:  

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