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Finger Lakes Garner Respect for Riesling Wines

By Tommy Farrell GENEVA, N.Y. (NCC News) – Most people assume that rieslings are only sweet, however, Finger Lakes wineries want to remind people that two lesser-known varieties are worth sampling as well.

The Finger Lakes region has a world renown reputation for its rieslings, a heavy-bodied and highly sugared wine that pairs well with many foods. Rieslings tend to break into three categories: sweet, which many consumers know about, along with semi-sweet and dry.

Many wineries credit the region’s micro-climate that keeps slightly higher temperatures during the winter for creating the right environment for riesling grapes.

“All of the vines that we have planted are all vinifera,” said Erica Paolicelli, co-owner of 3 Brothers Winery in Ovid. “They’re all on root stock that can survive the cold winters.”

Outside of the Finger Lakes, the other well-known rieslings come from the German region from which it’s named.

“Germany has a similar climate to ours,”  said Michael Cecere, COO of Ventosa Vineyards in Geneva. “It’s grown on a river there, so they use the same concept we do of keeping it warmer than the actual climate we’ll put up with.”

Besides Germany and the Finger Lakes, well-respected rieslings are also produced in Austria, France, and Canada. For those who aren’t wine connoisseurs, rieslings are not high in alcohol content. According to Pop Sugar, rieslings are also considered one of the most food-friendly wines.

The difference between rieslings in the Finger Lakes and Germany is one known factor.

“We sugar the heck out of it,” Cecere said.

Know Your Rieslings