Dr. Frank joins the trend of elevating the wine-tasting experience

 Instead of the sip, spit and run experience that has been part of wine tasting in the Finger Lakes for decades, Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery is inviting visitors to sit and enjoy the view.

Dr. Frank is opening a rooftop terrace at its Chateau Frank location next week. Guests will have the option of four different flights of wine, accompanied by locally produced cheese, while sitting at tables and enjoying a spectacular view of Keuka Lake and the wine country.  A wine educator will also offer information about each wine as well as the history of the winery, started in 1962.

The view and wine flights invite visitors to Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery to linger a while.
The view and wine flights invite visitors to Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery to linger a while.

“Our aim is to delight our customers with stories from four generations of family winery history in a relaxed setting overlooking Keuka Lake. The Finger Lakes is a world-class winemaking region, and our experiences that we offer should reflect that,” said Meaghan Frank, general manager and great-granddaughter of the winery’s founder, Dr. Konstantin Frank.

Most Finger Lakes wine tastings are conducted indoors standing up at a bar, but some wineries are starting to offer a more premium experience. Dr. Frank’s new venue, Terrace at 1886, will charge $25 for flights, which include four samples of wine and paired cheeses from Lively Run Creamery. Flights are available Monday through Thursday. The other days of the week, Dr. Frank offers a different premium experience including vineyard or cellar visits along with tastings and paired food.

“I see more and more wineries creating segmented spaces within their tasting rooms to provide different experiences based on customer preferences,” said Sam Filler, executive director of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation. “I think that consumers value a special and personal experience. Some are willing to pay more for a ‘premium experience,’ and some enjoy grabbing a bottle and a cheese platter while sitting on Adirondack chairs viewing one of their favorite New York lakes, rivers or oceans.”

Lakewood Vineyard near Watkins Glen, for instance, recently completed a louvered roof over its year-old patio bar so that sun can be let in and rain kept out while visitors enjoy tastings outside. That’s one of several spaces on the property where Lakewood conducts tastings.   The Hudson Valley’s Millbrook Vineyards and Winery recently upgraded its second-story tasting room to look more like an elegant hotel lobby complete with fireplace and a view of the winery.

Dr. Frank’s new venue is located atop the former home of the late Willy Frank, the founder’s son and Meaghan Frank’s grandfather. When poor weather drives people inside or visitors prefer not to climb to the top of the building, wine flights will be offered in the building’s 1886 Room. The stone building, now a historic landmark, was constructed in 1886. A spokesman said the top of the two-story building is accessible to wheelchairs by way of a ramp and elevated terrain behind the building.

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