There are nearly 100 wineries within the Finger Lakes Region of New York. One of them, Widmer Wine Cellars, is located in the beautiful hills of Naples on the Canandaigua Wine Trail.
My husband and I recently enjoyed a tour at the Widmer facilities. Our tour group leader’s name was Jerry Karns, but he wore a nametag that read "Helen". It was the subject of great debate among a few of us. When someone in the tour group finally asked him about it, he told us that it was a great conversation starter. And it was!
In the initial building, we learned the first of what Jerry called "Jeopardy Facts" - that the containers that are upright are called tanks, and the ones that are on their sides are called casks.
Jerry had several of these facts for us - he told us "If you win on Jeopardy with one of these, just send me a check!"
Our Widmer Wine Cellars Tour Guide Jerry Karns
Next, we progressed through an area where port wines and sherry are aged inside oak barrels.
In the next building, we learned that the winery’s Manischewitz line is the top producer of Kosher wines in the world. Every step of the process is supervised by two rabbi/winemakers.
I found the bottling area interesting. A computer monitors the entire automated line as it bottles, caps, and labels 150 units a minute. Unfortunately, we happened to be there during lunch hour for the employees, so we didn't get to see the line in action. The line is in action Monday through Friday during the 1 pm and 2 pm tour.
Beyond the bottling area was a small museum, featuring items and photos from Widmer's past. We saw photos of founders John Jacob Widmer and his wife Lisette, items and artifacts used in the wine-making process years ago, and photos of a fire that destroyed much of the production facilities in 1943. Luckily, Jerry told us, very little product was destroyed and the production facilities were rebuilt.
The last stop was the gift shop and wine-tasting center. There was a wide selection of gift items and wine accessories available, including jams, juices, and gift boxes. There was - of course - an excellent variety of wines to choose from as well.
Our tour of Widmer was both informative and - thanks to Jerry’s sense of humor - fun. And very tasty!
For more information about Widmer Wines, visit: Widmer.
For recipes and entertaining ideas utilizing Manischewitz products, visit recipes.
Widmer's Wine Cellars is located at One Lake Niagara Lane, Naples, NY 14512. Their phone number is 1-800-836-5253.