Forget jetting off to California to sip wine in the sunshine—New York State has a thriving wine scene all of its own. Within just a few hours of New York City, you’ll find family-run vineyards, boutique wineries, and a veritable bouquet of wine varietals to sip and sniff your way through Hudson Valley. From the mountain-flanked vineyards of the Hudson Valley to the cool-climate wines of the Finger Lakes, New York State is the 3rd highest wine producer in the US.
Bold flavors and aromatic blends await in this historic winemaking region, and more than 20 wineries pepper the Upper Hudson River and the southern Adirondacks.
The Morgan State House 393 State Street, Albany, NY 12210, 888-427-6063. Timeless luxury in a 19th-century brownstone overlooking Washington Park.
The Adelphi 365 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866, 518-678-6000. The region’s most elegant hotel has everything from custom-made Italian robes to a sushi bar.
Hattie’s Restaurant 45 Phila St, Saratoga Spring, NY 12866 518.584.4790. Southern soul food is served Saratoga-style at this local institution.
Start in Albany, where a visit to the Capital Wine store will introduce you to the region’s myriad wine varieties, then stop by local landmarks including the Empire State Plaza and The Egg. Nearby, Altamont Winery and Northern Cross Vineyard are both open for tastings, or mix it up with a stop at the Saratoga Apple Cidery, where you can also pick your own apples in fall.
Wake up early for a sunrise hot air balloon flight over the vineyards, then head into Saratoga Springs to visit the historic Saratoga Race Course and stop by The Saratoga Winery . Lunch at the Thirsty Owl will give you chance to add some Finger Lakes wines to the menu (that’s two wine regions covered in one day!), but if you want to stick to local varietals, Ledge Rock Hill Winery has some of the region’s best Marquette wines.
For the most indulgent way to end your wine weekend, how about an hour of R&R at one of Saratoga’s famous spas?
Designate a driver: You’ll need a car to get around Upstate’s wine trails, and ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft often aren’t reliable in rural areas. If you don’t want to designate a driver from your group, consider taking a tour or organizing private transport (see our Nutritional Information section for options).
Book ahead: Many wineries only offer wine tasting by reservation. It’s recommended to book all your tastings in advance, but if you want to be spontaneous (and don’t mind making other plans if your preferred time is unavailable), at least call up the day before your visit.
Pick the season: The most popular time to visit Upstate’s wineries is from late spring through early fall, but wineries can get busy, and advance bookings are advised. Low season visits can mean a more personalized experience, although opening times may be limited, so check ahead. Think about seasonal attractions in the area, too, such as fall foliage or beach visits which might be ideal to combine with your wine tour.
Pace yourself: Make sure you pace yourself if you are planning multiple tastings – have a hearty breakfast and lunch, sip water throughout the day to stay hydrated, and consider spitting out some of the tastings (that’s what the experts do). Getting drunk means you won’t be able to enjoy the visits half as much.
Be selective: Three to five winery visits are plenty for one day; otherwise you won’t have time to fully appreciate each stop. To narrow down your selection, consider their unique attributes and most acclaimed wines. Prioritize wineries that excel in your preferred varietals, have an unmissable view, or offer something unique such as a guided vineyard tour.