Within Reach - Wineries and Weddings, the Five Best

by - 11:53 PM

With over 200 wineries in the immediate region, many who beautifully host weddings and receptions, the happy “couple to be” has an enormous range of excellent places to choose from.

As a former wedding photographer, I have been treated royally by some, and not so by others. So I’ll recount the 5 best wineries to host events – at least the five best that I have experience with.

These are in no particular order. All are first class, and treat the guests, caterers and yes, even photographers very well. 




Buttonwood Grove is roughly 30 miles up the west side of Cayuga Lake. With a pond, arch, natural amphitheater like seating area overlooking the lake and generous seating room inside for the reception, the winery is picture perfect. 

I’ve had the good fortune to photograph two weddings at Buttonwood Grove and in each case the staff went far beyond expectations to make everyone welcome.
And their Sycamore Blush is delightful.



Wagner Vineyards and Ginny Lee Café is one of the larger venues for celebrations in the region. Between and behind the winery and café is a huge yard overlooking Seneca Lake which can be set up for any kind of event. Proms, weddings, reunions – they are all within their range of expertise and are welcomed.

Wagner’s wines – and their beers as well - are top quality along with Ginny Lee’s excellent food. I am particularly fond of their Cayuga White…



Chateau LaFayette Reneau also overlooks Seneca Lake. The spectacular landscaping frames several spots appropriate for ceremonies. The exotic flowers, and the trellis surrounded by shrubs make for a perfect, intimate setting.

A grove of Aspen about a quarter mile down the hill from the winery would make a magnificent site for an personal and nature centered ceremony. I’m a romantic. What can I say?

The Owner’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon tastes like… more, please.



Thirsty Owl Winery on the West shore of Cayuga Lake adds fun and flair to celebrations of any kind. This is a more intimate venue with a small café in the rear and a large yard surrounded by vineyard.

The owners make their Kubota utility vehicle available to take fun photos of the wedding party, and even give (excellent) advice on how to accomplish the posing. Having never done a Kubota pose, their assistance was very welcome. 

Make a point of trying their 2014 Vidal Blanc. You’ll know why when you taste it.




Six Mile Creek Vineyard completes this set. Located about four miles east of Ithaca on Rt 79, the winery overlooks the Six Mile Creek valley. The rolling and protected terrain is perfect for growing the Cayuga and Vignoles grapes, and lends itself perfectly to a romantic wedding.

With its pond, expansive flower filled trellis and paths, the Six Mile Creek Vineyard’s site can create an intimate feeling, yet it is large enough to host hundreds of people. 

I can’t say enough about the people of Six Mile Creek. Their friendliness is beyond measure. And their Quintessence is tasty beyond measure.

As I said, this is by no means a complete list. Other wineries that host weddings in our region can be found at http://wineryweddingguide.com/NewYorkFingerLakes.html, including all here except the Thirsty Owl.

And you don’t need the excuse of a wedding to visit these wineries. Plan a day – or two – or three to experience some of the world class wines - and home town friendliness these wineries offer.

After all, they are all easily within reach.

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