Discover the Thousand Islands-Seaway Wine Trail
by Teresa Farrell
It’s no secret that there’s plenty of thing to do in the Thousand Islands region. From the river itself, primed for boating, swimming, and fishing, to the gorgeous views, entertainment opportunities and rich history and heritage on land, this is a must-visit destination for many. Agriculture has long been a way of life in the region, with agritourism emerging as an enormous local attraction When the Thousand Islands-Seaway Wine Trail was established in 2007, this ripe-with-possibility region added another unique and exciting claim to fame: its one-of-a-kind wines. Winding through 78 miles of the scenic Thousand Islands region with eight member wineries and vineyards, the trail provides easy access to the wide variety and unique tastes of Thousand Islands wine. Wherever you are in the Thousand Islands, at least one winery is a short drive away. The trail includes Tug Hill Vineyards in Lowville, Yellow Barn Winery outside of Sackets Harbor, the Cape Winery in Cape Vincent, Coyote Moon Vineyards in Clayton, the Thousand Islands Winery outside of Alexandria Bay, River Myst Winery in Ogdensburg, Venditti Vineyards in Theresa, and Otter Creek Winery in Philadelphia, NY. Each winery is family-owned and operated and provides personal service and warm hospitality. All offer an impressive range of choices: classic reds, whites and roses are given a personal touch and a regional twist, and new flavors, techniques and ideas blossom each year to contribute to the ever-expanding list of original creations. Stop in for a tour, sample the wine, and take home your favorite. Wine from the Thousand Islands has developed a reputation for converting anyone to a wine lover with just one taste.
With a fan base that grows each time the doors to the tasting rooms open, the wineries on the Thousand Islands wine trail have dedicated themselves to creating world-class wines, which routinely beat out competition from renowned vineyards in California and Europe to take home titles for their taste, quality and distinctiveness. The secret to success stems, in part, from the use of specially developed “cold hardy” grapes, a collection of varietals that was developed at the University of Minnesota to continue producing wine-worthy fruit even when the temperature plummets to a brisk 40 degrees below zero. Here on the border of Canada, where the hardest of hard freezes would otherwise stop winemakers in their tracks, these special hardy grapes thrive—and so does the wine making industry.
The Thousand Islands region’s climate, rich soil, and level of moisture in the air combine to create a perfect environment for growing cold-hardy grapes, and the unique growing conditions make Thousand Islands wine different than anything you’ve tasted. Visit the wineries and learn about what makes these flavors what they are—then be sure to taste for yourself!