There are some fancy, elaborate winery buildings and tasting rooms in the Finger Lakes. Shaw Vineyard on Seneca Lake has more of a rustic building and tasting room. It seems they let the wines speak for themselves. The tasteful simplicity of the tasting room and the very knowledgeable person pouring the wine seemed to enhance the experience of and focus on the wines.
We learned that Steve Shaw, the grape grower, winemaker, and owner, grew up in the Finger Lakes and uses sustainable agriculture practices. As we tasted through a few whites and a number of reds, we learned a little about wild yeast and orange wine (they do make one – white wine made with grape skin contact, which leads to an orange color) but mostly we focused on our enjoyment of the wines. There are no distractions or shiny bells and whistles, and the wines hold their own.
One neat tidbit we discovered is that the label on the pinot grigio-sauvignon blanc blend depicts a painting Steve Shaw’s son made as a young child (around the age of three years, if I recall correctly). The original is hanging on a wall of the tasting room; an absolutely charming addition to the décor (see photos below). His son is an adult now and I (mostly jokingly) asked if he pursued a career in art (from a developmental perspective, the painting is good for such a young child). I learned that the label on the LiBella Pinot Grigio is a more recent drawing by the son, so he has carried on his artwork, at least on wine labels.
We thoroughly enjoyed the wines, particularly the reds, and were happy to make a purchase given our enjoyable winery experience that simply allowed a good product to shine.