Friday, January 06, 2012

Catching up with Paul Thomas of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail

I had the opportunity to chat with Paul Thomas, Executive Director of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, this week about what the trail is gearing up for in the coming months. From the Polar Passport to the enticing food and wine pairing events, there's something for everyone to enjoy along the region's largest wine trail.  Just another few reasons why Finger Lakes Wine Country is the perfect winter escape!

Chatting more with Paul Thomas, Executive Director of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail

1.    What is the history of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail?
The Seneca Lake Wine Trail was formed in 1986 to help better market their member wineries, as a consolidated destination, pooling their resources and creating various wine and food pairing events, among other tactics, to help introduce more people to our excellent wines and wineries.

2.    Why visit the Seneca Lake Wine Trail in the winter?
Paul Thomas

While our region is traditionally viewed as a summer or fall destination, with many assuming the industry hibernates in the winter, the reality is that the winter is the *best* time for fans of our wineries to visit. During the winter you are more likely to encounter owners and senior staff, who are busy in the vineyards during the busy summer/fall seasons, and with far fewer people visiting the region, the tasting rooms are quiet, giving visitors a terrific opportunity to enjoy leisurely conversations with staff while sampling their award-winning wines.

3.    What events do you have and how do I get tickets?
The Seneca Lake Wine Trail helps manage and promote several, themed wine and food pairing weekend events, hosted by most of our member wineries. For example, our next event is the Pasta & Wine Weekend, taking place January 13-15, followed by our Chocolate & Wine Weekend event February 10-12. Detailed descriptions of all our events can be found on our website at which is also were e-tickets to all our events can be securely purchased.

4.    Are there packages available for the events or for general wine tasting experiences?
We create very limited numbers of packages for all our wine and food pairing weekend events. Each package is a little different, but all of them are comprised of tickets for two to the event, transportation all day Saturday of the event, and accommodations for two for both Friday and Saturday nights. Our packages are a great way to simply, and safely enjoy our events.

5.    What is the best wine and food pairing you’ve had recently?
My family and I harkened in the new year with a sushi party! We bought all the ingredients, including the raw tuna and salmon, at our local Wegmans with each of us making a few custom rolls of various ingredients. We then paired the sushi with a chilled bottle of zesty LakewoodVineyards Gewürztraminer, and my favorite specific pairing was between that wine and my tuna/avocado/carrot/bell pepper sushi roll. Clean and delicious.

6.       What do you love about the Finger Lakes Wine Country region?
I love the.... pairing of our uniquely complex cultural and culinary experiences with our beautiful, bucolic and genuine environment. Real people, creating really beautiful and delicious things and all without the overpriced hubbub of a metropolis. Here in the Finger Lakes I can enjoy a world class meal at the Red Newt Bistro on Seneca Lake, with at least one of the hundreds of wines they serve, enjoy visiting the Rockwell Museum of Western Art in Corning, and finish off my day with a live performance by They Might Be Giants at Ithaca’s State Theatre. It doesn’t get any better than that.

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