Regions and Appellations USA New York

New York Wine

New York may not be particularly famous for its wines, but the state is home to a significant number of vineyards and wineries. It ranks third among the U.S. wine-producing states in terms of volume produced, surpassed only by Washington and of course California. Most top New York wines are made from Riesling, most often in crisp, dry styles but also as lusciously sweet ice wine. The finest of these come from the vineyards around the Finger Lakes. Other successful varieties here include Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot and hybrid varieties such as Vidal and the all-American Concord.

Although a great deal of New York wine is consumed locally, the state's inhabitants maintain a keen interest in wines from elsewhere in the world. The shelves of the best New York wine stores are better stocked than those anywhere else on Earth.

A vineyard in upstate New York
(© David L. Hansen)

New York State is located in the north-eastern United States, between the Atlantic coast and the U.S. border with Canada. Because of this zone's cool, frost-prone climate, most New York vineyards are located near the coast, next to rivers, or huddled around the state's various lakes. Because of their vast thermal mass, large bodies of water such as these reduce the severity of winter frosts – a service without which vines would not be able to survive here (see lake effect).

Water is abundant in New York. As well as being sandwiched between the Atlantic coast and the Great Lakes, the state is also peppered with smaller lakes and criss-crossed by numerous rivers. In the context of quality wine, the most important water bodies here are the lakes which dominate the state's north-western corner – particularly the Finger Lakes Seneca and Cayuga, but also Lakes Ontario and Erie, around whose shores are the Lake Erie and Niagara Escarpment AVAs.

Far east of the Great Lakes, right on the Atlantic coast beyond Manhattan, is another of the key New York wine regions, Long Island. Surrounded by the shallow waters of the Atlantic coast, Long Island enjoys a significantly milder climate than the rest of the state. It sits right at the northern edge of the Gulf Stream (the warm ocean current which flows up the U.S. east coast), whose warmth lengthens the growing season and enables the growth of red-wine grapes – notably the Cabernets and particularly Merlot. Unlikely as it might seem, there is such as thing as a New York Bordeaux Blend.

The first New York vineyards were planted in the 17th Century by Dutch and Huguenot settlers along the Hudson River. After a few centuries of trial and error, in the 1950s and 60s it became clear that Riesling was the variety of choice here, particularly in upstate locations. There are now more than 200 New York wineries producing around 35 million gallons (1.3 million h/l) of wine each vintage.

New York's contribution to world wine culture goes far beyond Finger Lakes Riesling; it also extends into the halls of Cornell University in Ithaca, an upstate town right at the southern tip of Cayuga Lake. The university's Viticulture and Enology department has carried out a great deal of viticultural work over the years, including the creation of Chardonel, Traminette and Cayuga.

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Most Popular New York Wine

Based on search frequency, updated monthly
Wine Name
Grape
Popularity
Score
Avg Price
Wolffer Estate 'Summer in a Bottle' Rose, Long Island, USA Merlot 2,325th 88 $26
Wolffer Estate Rose, Long Island, USA Rare Rose Blend 4,956th 88 $18
Widow Jane Decadence Straight Bourbon Whiskey, New York, USA Whiskey Bourbon 6,400th $92
Widow Jane The Vaults 14 Year Old Straight Bourbon Whiskey, New York, USA Whiskey Bourbon 7,744th $79
Hillrock Estate Distillery Solera Aged Bourbon Whiskey, New York, USA Whiskey Bourbon 8,038th 90 $93
Hermann J. Wiemer Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes, USA Riesling 8,931st 90 $21
Southern Tier Imperial 'Pumking' Imperial Ale Beer, New York, USA Beer 9,587th $13
Forge Cellars Classique Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes, USA Riesling 10,733rd 90 $19
Widow Jane 10 Year Old Straight Bourbon Whiskey, New York, USA Whiskey Bourbon 12,553rd $74
Dr. Konstantin Frank Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes, USA Riesling 13,656th 88 $16
Mogen David Concord, New York, USA Concord 13,656th $4
Finger Lakes Distilling Mckenzie 'Bottled in Bond' Bourbon Whiskey, New York, USA Whiskey Bourbon 15,921st $47
Widow Jane Lucky Thirteen 13 Year Old Straight Bourbon Whiskey, New York, USA Whiskey Bourbon 16,768th $104
Sheldrake Point Dry Rose, Finger Lakes, USA Cabernet Franc 19,671st 89 $14
Widow Jane 12 Year Old Straight Bourbon Whiskey, New York, USA Whiskey Bourbon 20,722nd $102
Widmer Wine Cellars Lake Niagara White, Finger Lakes, USA Niagara 21,273rd $5
Zing Red Velvet Vodka, New York, USA Vodka 23,459th $35
Wolffer Estate 'Grandioso' Rose, Long Island, USA Rare Rose Blend 24,870th 89 $30
Wolffer Estate 'Noblesse Oblige' Sparkling Rose, Long Island, USA Rare Rose Blend 24,870th 88 $36
Wolffer Estate 'Caya' Cabernet Franc, The Hamptons Long Island, USA Cabernet Franc 25,375th 88 $36
Kontokosta Winery Cabernet Franc, North Fork of Long Island, USA Cabernet Franc 26,521st 89 $18
Paumanok Semi Dry Riesling, North Fork of Long Island, USA Riesling 26,521st 88 $19
Niagara Landing Wine Cellars Rosebud Gold, Niagara Escarpment, USA Steuben 26,818th $10
Empire Estate Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes, USA Riesling 26,818th 89 $19
Dr. Konstantin Frank Rkatsiteli, Finger Lakes, USA Rkatsiteli 27,111th 88 $17
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To see how Wine-Searcher uses average pricing and professional wine critic scores on this page, please see Average Wine Prices and Wine Scores. To find out about popularity, please see Wine Ranks.
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