One of the Finger Lakes wine region’s oldest and most respected wineries broke with a long-standing tradition this year.
Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery on Keuka Lake is now charging a fee for all its wine tastings, after years of proudly maintaining a free tasting option. In return, guests now get more freedom to choose which wines they want to try, including some of the higher-end, or reserve, bottlings.
It appears to be part of an overall trend toward what some Finger Lakes wineries are calling an “elevated” tasting room experience — more specialized or curated tastings for discerning wine drinkers, along with a growth in wine clubs and special tasting events.
“Guests traveling to the winery either have visited us before or have heard they need to visit us because it’s where it all started,” Dr. Frank spokesman Bandon Thomas said, referring to the winery’s historic role in introducing classic Eurpopean wine grapes — like Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir — to the region. “Those coming to the winery are much more educated about wine and the Finger Lakes and they are hungry for more knowledge. We’ve learned from our visiting guests that they prefer the flexibility to choose which wines they would like to taste.”