Skip to site content
Group Travel Leader Group Travel Leader Group Travel Leader

It’s Personal in the Finger Lakes

If you have never tried a grape pie before, you’re missing out on something extraordinary.

I had never tried a grape pie — or even heard of it — before arriving in South Bristol, a small town in Ontario County, in New York’s Finger Lakes region. But at Arbor Hill Winery, John Burch was delighted to introduce me to this traditional local dessert.

“We ship grape pies all over the United States,” he said. “This area is the grape pie capital of the world.”

Burch fetched me a fresh grape pie from the refrigerator. Always served cold, these treats come in tart shells about the size of a coffee coaster, making them the perfect size for a single serving. They are filled with a compote of locally grown concord grapes and burst with flavor in your mouth. The taste is cool, sweet and just a bit sticky, like a gourmet jelly, and unlike any other traditional pie you’ve likely had.

Grape pies aren’t the only local delicacy on hand at this establishment. Arbor Hill produces 29 wines and 55 other gourmet food products, all with regionally sourced ingredients. The company also features an establishment called Brews and Brats, which specializes in house-made sausages and craft beers. Groups can arrange for tours and tastings of all the signature products.

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.