Even if the thought of touring wineries bores you to tears, you might want to stop into this center (8260 Pleasant Valley Rd. [County Rd. 88], 607/569-6111, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. daily Apr.–Dec.; 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Tues.–Sat. Jan.–Mar., free admission), one of the largest tourist attractions in the region.
The Pleasant Valley Wine Company is the oldest continuous maker of wine in the United States, founded by a group of Hammondsport  businessmen in 1860.
The visitors center holds historic exhibits and an informative film, screened inside a 35,000-gallon former wine tank. A nearby working model train replicates the old Bath-Hammondsport Railroad, and a tasting bar offers products for sampling.
Everything’s very commercialized and the wine is mediocre, but the place is interesting nonetheless. Winery tours are offered throughout the day.
One of the odder tales in the chronicles of viticulture is that of the battle waged over the name Taylor. Walter S. Taylor, a grandson of the founder of the Taylor Wine Co., was kicked out of the company in 1970 after publicly attacking its “incompetence, greed, and jealousy.” Subsequently, he and his father Greyton began their own winery high on Bully Hill.
In 1977, Coca-Cola bought the Taylor Wine Co. and sued Walter for using his family name on his own labels. The case went to court and Walter lost, only to become a local hero. “They have my name and heritage but they didn’t get my goat!” he proclaimed and flamboyantly struck out the Taylor name on all his labels. “Branded For Life, by a man that shall remain nameless without Heritage” reads the bylines in his brochures.
The Wine and Grape Museum of Greyton H. Taylor (8843 Taylor Memorial Dr., off Rte. 54A, 607/868-4814, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Sat. and Sun. noon–5 p.m. May–Oct., free admission) tells little of this story. Instead, it focuses on antique wine-making equipment and the delicate, lyrical Bully Hill labels, all drawn by “Walter St. Bully.” Adjacent to the museum are the Bully Hill Vineyards, open for tastings. Also on site is the Bully Hill Restaurant, offering great views of the lake (see Food, below).
One of the region’s top wineries is Dr. Frank’s Vinifera Wine Cellars (9749 Middle Rd., 607/868-4884, www.DrFrankWines.com ). Dr. Frank, an immigrant from Ukraine who arrived in Hammondsport  in 1962, was one of the first in the region to grow the European Vinifera grape. Today, his cellars, run by his son, are best known for their chardonnays and Rieslings.
A few miles beyond Bully Hill is the Heron Hill Winery (9301 Rte. 76, 607/868-4241, www.heronhill.com ) offering chardonnays and Rieslings and more superb views of the lake. Established in 1977, the 45-acre vineyard produces about 30,000 gallons of wine a year.
Both wineries are open 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday–Saturday and Sunday noon–5 p.m. May–October.