Rainy season challenges Finger Lakes wineries as tourism dips

Romulus, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) - The rain this summer has made it hard to cross off outdoor activities on to-do lists and it's impacting tourism in the popular Finger Lakes wine country.

At Buttonwood Grover Winery along Cayuga Lake business is slower than usual.

"If they do come visit us, it's raining so they're not staying as long and spending as much time enjoying our outside area," explains owner Dave Pittard.

Aside from his award-winning wines and tasting room, Pittard says people come to the Finger Lakes for the view. 

"Part of the beauty of a wine tour in the Finger Lakes is getting to come see what we have to offer, to be able to look at our beautiful lakes, enjoy the beautiful countryside," he adds. "It's really a big draw."

Since visitors often tour multiple wineries, the rain had had a ripple-effect across the region.

"I think most of us agree that weather has been lousy this year relative to the beautiful summer we had last year and that probably has impacted our traffic overall a bit," says Dave Peterson of Swedish Hill Winery.

As for the impact on grapes? Both Pittard and Peterson say the early season rain was good for the crops, now grapes need sunshine and warmth to ripen.

Saturday morning's warm weather helped keep tasting rooms packed with uninterrupted views.

Buttonwood Grove Winery also has a silver lining to celebrate during this cloudy season. On Tuesday, the winery found out it's 2016 Riesling was the winner of the Governor's Cup for best wine in New York State. They beat out about 1,000 other wines.

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