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Seneca Lake

The Largest of the Finger Lakes

Seneca Lake is the largest Finger Lake by volume and is the second longest by length, just shorter than Cayuga Lake. Seneca Lake is very deep, reaching depths exceeding 600 feet. This creates the perfect environment for grape growing and is at the foundation of the wine industry in the Finger Lakes.

Seneca Lake Quick Facts

  • Area - 43,343 acres
  • Length - 38 miles
  • Shoreline - 75.4 miles
  • Max. Depth - 618 feet
  • Max. Width - 3 miles
  • Elevation - 445 feet
  • Cities - North End: Geneva, South End: Watkins Glen

Microclimates and Finger Lakes Wine

The many wineries in the Finger Lakes Region are well known for their cool climate white varieties such as Riesling and Chardonnay and red varieties such as Cabernet Franc and the bold, spicy Lemberger which is an Austrian-Hungarian variety. Seneca Lake is the perfect growing location for these varieties in particular as well as others due to the large lake having deep waters and rolling hills along the banks of the lake creating a perfect microclimate for growing temperatures throughout the season.

Extended warmth in the region leads to longer growing seasons, allowing the grapes to ripen longer and create more sugar in the berries which enhance flavors in the juice which will ultimately become wine. Finger Lakes wineries produce award-winning wines on a domestic and International scale that compete with wines from around the world, in large part thanks to Seneca Lake. The many wineries on Seneca Lake are well-known for cool climate white varieties such as Riesling and Chardonnay and red varieties such as Cabernet Franc and the bold, spicy Lemberger which is an Austrian-Hungarian variety.

Watersports

In order to experience the lake from every angle, you have to get on the water and enjoy some of the many watersports that Seneca Lake has to offer. Stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing, and boating are all great ways to get out on the water and really experience the feeling of the lake. 

You can launch your own boat at a number of the parks located around the lake or you can rent from a local business like Fuzzy Guppies or Stivers Seneca Marine. You could also take a boat tour for a casual tour of Seneca Lake. Captain Bill’s Lake Cruises in Watkins Glen offers a variety of tours including 1-hour sightseeing tours and dinner cruises.

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