Popular holiday event returns to Seneca Lake wineries
SENECA LAKE--Deck the Halls is back. After a two-year, COVID-related hiatus, the Seneca Lake Wine Trail's holiday event brought hundreds of wine enthusiasts to the region last weekend. Hundreds more are expected for the second weekend of the event, scheduled for Dec. 2-4. Tickets for the 29th annual Deck the Halls event were sold out weeks ago.
During the first weekend, Nov. 18-20, 18 Seneca Lake Wine Trail wineries participated. Each location prepared a food and wine pairing and offered wine tastings to ticket holders. At the first stop of the day, ticket holders also received a grapevine wreath and a unique ornament. At every other stop, participants received an ornament to add to the wreath.
At Lakewood Vineyards, guests enjoyed Cheesy Bacon Ranch potatoes paired with a long stem red wine before moving on to the tasting area, which was decked out for the season with lights, Christmas trees, and Santa's helpers in charge of pouring.
"This event holds a special place in my heart," said Liz Stamp, who chairs the events committee for the Seneca Lake Wine Trail and is recognized as the originator of the Deck the Halls event. "It's our capstone event ... our thank you to everyone who enjoys wine."
Although initially scheduled for earlier in the season, Deck the Halls has bookended Thanksgiving Weekend/Small Business Saturday for several years.
"We hope that the event helps to extend the tourist season for the region," Stamp said. "It also provides life blood for the trail so that it can get the word out."
With 29 years in the books, event organizers have learned a few things, Stamp added.
"In the beginning, people started wherever they wanted, usually at one end of the lake," Stamp stated. "This meant that the wineries at the ends were hit hard early in the morning and then were empty later in the day. Now we assign starting wineries. It's more manageable for the wineries and more enjoyable for our guests."
Organizers want to make sure all guests - including designated drivers - enjoy the event. Designated driver ticket holders received a souvenir travel mug and food with a non-alcoholic beverage at each stop.
If you didn't make the event or did and would like to recreate some of the foods you tasted along the way, download the "Deck the Halls Recipe Book" at https://tinyurl.com/28mez7kx.