Authorized Woman Owned Business since 2018, started by a woman in 2002

I started this business with an interest in wine and a bit of desperation after the tragedy of September 11 when the travel industry tanked.  It wasn’t easy to start from scratch, and there were times that people tried to discourage me from taking the risk, but I forged on.  There were difficult years for sure, but the industry welcomed me and I found friends at the wineries and in the tourism community.  It wasn’t until 2017 that someone encouraged me to apply as a woman owned business.  I already considered myself one!

The paperwork was immense, but I finally succeeded!  Now I am proud to say that my daughter-in-law, Nicole, has begun to work with me in this fantastic business.  Together we are a strong force!  We have a lot of fun in all that we do.  And I am thankful for all of the support that we get from our wine tour friends.

Bonnie Osborne

Eat sustainably

There is a movement throughout the Finger Lakes supporting sustainable eating. Purchasing whole fresh products from local vendors is good for everyone from the farm to the table. It becomes a lifestyle where we choose food based on the healthful way in which it is grown and raised. These are the sentiments of many including Scott Signori, the owner and executive chef of Stone Cat in Hector, NY along the East side of Seneca Lake. He creates fun and creative dishes from regional farms for an ever-changing menu.

*Taken from May/June issue of Life in the Finger Lakes magazine


Six Mile Creek Vineyard from the Finger Lakes region took home the most prestigious award of the competition, The Governor’s Cup, with their 2016 Cabernet Franc. Additionally, the esteemed Winery of the Year award was presented to Wagner Vineyards of the Finger Lakes region.

The Governor’s Cup recognizes the “Best of Show” or top prize in the New York Wine Classic. The Winery of the Year award is presented to the winery with the best overall showing based on the level and number of awards in relation to entries. The Governor’s Cup and Winery of the Year winners will be presented with their awards at a special event later this summer.

Known as “The Oscars®” of New York wine competitions, the Classic is organized by the New York Wine & Grape Foundation. A total of 31 Double Gold, 56 Gold, 278 Silver, and 320 Bronze medals were awarded by a panel of 21 expert judges consisting of influential wine writers, wine educators, retailers, restaurateurs and experts from around the state and globe.

“The New York Wine Classic is one of our largest annual events honoring the best of New York Wines.

Pairing wine with Dessert

There are lots of ways to go right while picking out a wine to finish off a meal, but there are also some ways to go wrong. To guard against that, there is one rule of thumb that should always be followed when scanning your local wine shop for the perfect sipper: The wine being chosen should always be sweeter than the actual dessert, according to Dan Rivas, general manager at Bank & Bourbon, located in the Loews Hotel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
“It can be helpful to try and match your wine and dessert based upon their similar flavors,” Rivas says. “One example would be a sparkling Moscato D’asti which has notes of fresh peach and pear and slight residual sugar which would match up beautifully with any dessert that incorporates fresh fruit and lavender.”

Chocolate treats, however, can be a bit tricky. Rivas says that starting your search with a fortified wine, such as Port or Madeira, is a catchall recommendation. However, you can get more specific depending on the type of chocolate that is in the dessert.
“With milk chocolate which is typically half chocolate and half milk, a ruby Port would be an excellent choice because it is going make for a more fruit and spice driven pairing. With dark chocolate, a tawny Port or Pedro Ximenez sherry pair wonderfully because they will add nutty and raisin flavors to the dessert. When pairing with white chocolate, some recommendations that tend to pair well are ice wines which will accentuate the dessert with notes of pineapple, and Brachetto D’acqui which will deliver notes of crème and raspberry,” he explains.

But, when all else fails and you’re at a loss, go for the sparkling.
There is nothing better than a good sparkling wine paired with a good cupcake. Something about the bubbles I feel just enhances the flavors.

Thanks to New York Wine and Grape Foundation May 2019 Newsletter

America’s First Hemp Winery to open on Skaneateles Lake

This summer, Sovereign Vines, owned by Kaelan Castetter, plans to open its first tasting room south of the village of Skaneateles on East Lake Road (Route 41) overlooking Skaneateles Lake. Eventually the tasting room will offer food and perhaps a bed-and-breakfast, but it will start with tasting and sales of its own wines. It will also sell other craft beverages like beer or cider.
“America’s only hemp-infused” wine producer, it blends wines produced in the Finger Lakes and elsewhere with terpene, an aromatic and flavorful extract found in the buds of the hemp plant.

“It (the terpene) creates earthy, woodsy tones and a smooth finish,” Kaelan Castetter said. “It makes the wines pop.”

Information taken from New York Wine and Grape Foundation newsletter.

Lamoreaux Landing

In June I had a great experience at Lamoreaux Landing Winery observing a tasting with the winemaker, Josh Wig.  It’s always a pleasure for me to hear about winemaking from an expert. Lamoreaux Landing was named after a steamboat landing on Seneca Lake from another time.  The winery boast 120 acres total with 75 acres in grapes. In the past 10 years, they have tripled their vineyards to keep up with the demand.  Each year, they increase their acreage so they do not fall behind in production.  It takes 3-5 years before vines produce quality grapes that can be used in making quality wines.

Lamoreaux winery produces several different Riesling wines, some of are “single vineyard” wines which means that all of the grapes in a particular wine came from one area of the estate so they could highlight the personality of the soil.  The region has 4 primary types of soil:  limestone, dolomite, sandstone and siltstone.  Each type of soil introduces a different taste profile.

One of my favorite things that Josh said was that Cabernet Franc is the darling of the reds here in the Finger Lakes.  Riesling, of course, is Queen of the whites so it is only right that we should have a darling in the reds!

New Tasting Experience at Dr.Konstantin Frank Vinifers Wine Cellars

One of our favorite wineries has just completed The Terrace at the 1886 Chateau Frank. A wine educator will lead guests through the history of the winery with educational insights into each wine. There will be 4 flights offered each paired with cheese from Lively Run Dairy, based here in the Finger Lakes. The goal is to delight customers with stories from 4 generations of world class winemaking.

Give us a call here at Grapevine Country Tours and we can set up the experience for you! 315 585 9599.

Great Awards for our friends at the wineries!

90 Points awarded to Billsboro Winery’s Sawmill Creek Vineyards Cabernet Franc

90 Points awarded to Hosmer Winery 2016 Pinot Noir

90 Points awarded to Sheldrake Point Winery Estate Bottled Dry Rose.

*Info taken from NY Wine and Grape Foundation email.

Bonnie’s Wine Tour

Saturday I waved the drivers off on their tours and headed out on one of my own with a friend. The day was beautiful with crisp, cold air and bright sunshine. I had read online that Silver Thread was opening for the season and was hosting complimentary tasting with local foods. Off we went. The drive to Silver Thread is a lovely lane winding down toward Seneca Lake. Past sleeping vineyards, over a wooden bridge, past a barn and only then do we see the peak of the tasting room. Although well off the road, the tasting room was a buzz with people sampling and talking.   I enjoy both red and white wines so sampled some of each. I began with the Dry Riesling. As I always tell my guests, take 3 sips before you really decide upon the wine. The first sip laid the foundation, the second built on the flavor and after I took the third sip and moved the wine around my mouth, I tasted the explosion of citrus flavors and the complexity of the wine…not just one single taste, but a variety of interesting flavors that we have come to expect from Riesling. In addition, Shannon and Paul were offering a discount as this wine with a vintage close out sale, so this was certainly a win/win!   The other white wine samplings were equally amazing. I went on to sample the Pinot Noir which was absolutely delicious. This is one of my favorite vinifera wines, but seems to be harder and harder to find in the Finger Lakes. This is a temperamental grape which some wineries have decided to eliminate from their vineyards and/or repertoire of wines. Another fantastic wine is the 2015 Blackbird. The unique name indicates that this is a blended wine, 76% Cabernet Franc, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon. This is an Estate wine which means they grew 100% of the grapes on their own property and under the watchful eye of Paul Brock. In addition to the wine, there was cheese from Muranda Cheese and Butternut Squash seed oil from Stony Brook to sample.

Well, after that great start, I was in the tasting groove. As we were traveling along the East side of Seneca Lake, we noticed that Shale Stone was open for the season…a very pleasant surprise. They “only do Reds” so we were in seventh heaven. Their Syrah was the MOST delicious and on the WOWZA list. I highly recommend you give that one a taste. We also tasted Red Legend and Crossrows. Rob Thomas is the master of reds and has worked with many of the local vintners to learn how to make a balanced and complex red wine.

Just a bit further down the road, we stopped into Hector Wine Company. This is a relaxing and welcoming place where we bought some cheese and bread to enjoy with Justin’s delicious wines. I stayed with the reds here and sampled Soul Red, a blend of grapes including Syrah and Lemberger, which are 2 of my favorites, although there is only 17% of these combined with Cabernet Sauvignon making up the major player. Very economical at $16.00 a bottle, this is a real winner! Justin also served us the 2015 Cabernet Franc and 2014 Essence, the latter again a blend of grapes with 47% Cab Sauv, 36% Merlot and 17% Cab Franc. Finally, he poured us the 2016 HWC Syrah. Oh, so good!   All of the wines are hand harvested here so the fruit is not bruised by the grape harvesters which vibrate the grapes off the vine. You can just imagine how that impacts the grape.

Newcomers to the Finger Lakes think they know that we don’t “do” good reds in the Finger Lakes, especially, the Syrah, but they haven’t tasted the reds on the East side of Seneca. The hot summer sun pounds down on the lakeside slopes through most of the day and produces a rich and flavorful grape. When this grape gets into the hands of our fantastic vintners, they explode with flavor and complexity that the Finger Lakes is now becoming known for.


We had such an interesting and fun day that I never thought to take even one photo. Shame on me! I can only recommend that you visit and try for yourselves.



Fun at Fulkerson Winery

This past Saturday, I had a great group of ladies.  They enjoyed every stop.  Their favorite server of the day was Linda at Fulkerson Winery.  This is a wonderful time of the year to visit the Finger Lakes because there are fewer people here and the servers can spend some extra time with you.  Linda at Fulkerson pulled out all the stops and gave my friends a great time.  They preferred sweeter wines and Fulkerson wines did not disappoint.  From Sunset Blush to Matinee, they enjoyed them all.  The girls insisted upon us all getting into the shot.  Of course, if you like dry wines, Fulkerson also has plenty of those.  Something for everyone!