Not a lot has changed in the 35 years its been since America's first wine trail opened in 1983. There is still the rolling hills covered in vineyards and sprinkled with wineries. However, in a lot of ways, things are very different now compared to 1983.

The number of wineries on Cayuga and other Finger Lakes has exploded, from just a couple of dozen to more than 100. The region has become a destination not just for wine but for breweries, distilleries, and farm to table dining.

The Cayuga Wine Trail was the first of it's kind in the United States. It brought together four different wineries, Lucas, Plane's (now Cayuga Ridge), Americana and Frontenac. All of the wineries pooled their resources to run events and promote themselves. The idea was that one winery may be worth a visit, but a group becomes a destination.

The concept caught on and there are now 17 different wine trails across New York State and 319 across the country according to the national trade group Wine America. "It's flattering to think what was pioneered here has been copied in so many places," said Dave Peterson, owner of three wineries and the current president of the Cayuga Wine Trail Board. "The whole idea was to promote collaboration, instead of competition, with our wineries," he said."  "and that's worked". It's a different time than it was in 1983, "Peterson said. "So we're working on a strategic plan to determine where we go from here, how to promote ourselves."


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