With grape power comes grape responsibility.
An increase in boorish behavior on the part of some Finger Lakes winery tourists has led to the Safe Group Wine Tours Initiative.
It's a cooperative effort of the Keuka, Cayuga and Seneca wine trails. Taking a page from the rules of soccer, tour groups who exhibit intoxicated and/or disruptive behavior will get yellow-card warnings. Repeat offenders will get red cards that will deny the company or groups admittance to any of the 50 or so participating wineries.
As tourism increases throughout this slice of New York's wine country, chauffered vehicles have become more popular so visitors can visit more winery tasting rooms without worrying about driving. Conversely, more groups and individuals have overdone that freedom, leading to instances of verbal abuse of tasting room staff, public urination and other raucous behavior.
According to the wineries, overindulgence comes mainly from drinking on commercial vehicles, not from visiting tasting rooms. State law allows open bottles in livery vehicles.
Some tour groups prohibit consumption of any alcoholic beverages in limos or buses. Some even warn customers in advance that disruptive behavior will result in their immediately being dropped off the tour.
ON THE WEB
• Finger Lakes Wine Tours (private and public)
• Dowd's Guide to American Wine Trails
• Finger Lakes Wine Center at Sonnenberg
• New York Wine & Culinary Center