Boating to Cayuga Lake Wineries

Summer is just a few weeks away, a time of year that for us in the Finger Lakes brings together two pastimes into one wonderful combination: boating to Cayuga Lake wineries.

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Sheldrake Point Winery is the first farm south of the Point. Look for the farm buildings and small H-shaped dock with a “WINERY” sign.

Of the 11 Finger Lakes, Cayuga is the longest at 38 miles in length, is 3.5 miles wide, and is one of only two lakes where wineries are accessible by water (the other being Seneca Lake).

When wine tasting, boating to Cayuga Lake wineries may be a more group-friendly way of travel. While you are captaining a boat, you have more flexibility to enjoy time with your passengers. Alcohol consumption laws do still apply to the captain, however, your passengers are free to enjoy a glass of wine onboard, unlike in an auto.

This summer, we invite you to visit Sheldrake Point by water!

Tie up at Sheldrake Point

Sheldrake Point juts prominently from the western shore of Cayuga Lake. Our property extends to the beach, making our vineyard, tasting room, and artisan gift shop accessible by water. In fact, I tie up at our dock between April and October.

Yes, I may be the only vineyard manager in the Finger Lakes whose summer commute is by water! It takes me only about 5 minutes to motor across Cayuga Lake in my Baja Islander, and the morning sun on our vineyard is always a sight to see as I approach our shore.

Don’t take my word for it—plan to visit Sheldrake Point by boat this summer and see for yourself!

Sheldrake Point Winery is the first farm south of the Point. Look for the farm buildings and small H-shaped dock with a “WINERY” sign. (Note: depth at our dock is 5 feet.)

Or, set your GPS to find us at Lat N42° 39.8442′, Long W76° 41.9354′ (accuracy +/- 10ft).

Visitors with boats up to 35 feet in length are welcome to tie up at any one of our eight dock spaces on our 400 foot beach while sampling and purchasing wines in our tasting room. It is a very short walk from the beach, just across County Road 153.

When you come ashore, remember to leave your beverages on your boat, and that shirts and shoes are required in our tasting room. Groups of 8 or more need to make a reservation.

Any Personal Watercraft Will Do

Dave W boat

I may be the only vineyard manager in the Finger Lakes whose summer commute is by water! Takes about 5 minutes to cross the 3.5 mile wide Cayuga Lake.

Boating to Cayuga Lake wineries isn’t limited to motor boats. If you can travel in it by water, you can visit Sheldrake Point Winery. As long as your personal watercraft can be safely docked or beached, you are welcome at Sheldrake Point.

Come by kayak, rowboat, canoe, or even dragon boat . Our tasting room is a great destination for a paddle. If you are just enjoying our beach, you might even hear the drums of Ithaca dragon boat crews.

Cayuga Lake vacationers out exploring the shoreline are also welcome to tie up or beach at Sheldrake Point. Pick up a bottle for dinner, or stock up on Sheldrake Point wine for the duration of your getaway.

Navigating to Cayuga Lake

If you are going to be boating to wineries on Cayuga Lake, obviously, your boat has to be in Cayuga Lake. But even if you’re not moored on Cayuga, there is access without trailering your boat here!

To the north, the Cayuga-Seneca Canal route cuts through the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge to connect the two largest Finger Lakes, Seneca  and Cayuga , with the Erie Canal. Enter from the Erie Canal at Montezuma Wildlife Refuge, at Lock 1. Continue south to Cayuga Lake. For more information on navigating the Cayuga-Seneca Canal, visit: www.canals.ny.gov/navinfo

The other Finger Lake with water-accessible wineries is Seneca. After Lock 1, take the Seneca River west to Seneca Lake to visit our neighbors.

Beach and dock

Enjoy our beach or dock with or without a boat! The Sheldrake Point Tasting Room is just a short walk across County Road 153.

What if I don’t have a boat?

No problem! You can plan a wine tour by water just as you would by land, with winery charter boat tours that launch on Cayuga Lake. School’s Out Charters  launches from the Ithaca area. Water to Wine Tours  launches from Ovid, with pickups at docks on both sides of the lake.

Summertime Boating to Cayuga Lake Wineries, Including Sheldrake Point

Summer in the Finger Lakes can be a boater’s heaven, and it is also a beautiful time of year to see vineyard farms in full swing of growing season. Visit us and our Cayuga Lake neighbors for a relaxing day on the water, and come ashore for award winning Sheldrake Point wine.

Always practice safety on the water. Wear personal flotation devices, and know your equipment and the features of the waters you are navigating.

David’s background includes four years of grapevine management at Cornell’s Geneva Agricultural Experiment Station and two years of honeybee research in Ithaca. Since 1999, his love of our vineyard is second only to that for his own farm across the lake. Dave and his vineyard crew take great pride tending the 44 acres of vines at Sheldrake Point Vineyard, maintaining the equipment, and planning and preparing for new acreage.