Just 90 minutes by car from New York City, another world exists.
The East End of Long Island is home to thousands of acres of vineyards and dozens of wineries producing world-class wines, all there for the tasting. Long Island’s unique climate and geographical location provide an excellent environment for grape growing. All told, around 35 classic European varieties of grapes are grown there.
You can visit more than three dozen scenic vineyards offering wine tastings, tours, cultural and other special events. Listen to live music, watch a cooking demonstration, chat with an author about his latest book, or simply watch the sun set over the vineyard as you sip a glass of wine.
Interspersed with the vineyards are quaint villages, farm stands and a variety of restaurants. You can even pick strawberries or pumpkins, depending on the season, of course. There are also antiques, chocolate and bakery shops, and an assortment of boutiques.
A “rural” road trip with stops for fine wine and great food is welcome anytime of year. On the North Fork, wineries can be found along the Main Street, Sound Avenue and few of the lanes that bridge those. In the Hamptons, wineries are located just off NY Route 27.
Wine Country Tour Tips
- Visit www.liwines.com for additional information, event schedules and to request a Tour Guide brochure and map.
- First-timers should consider the North Fork route. Select several wineries and start at the eastern-most destination and work your way home. Morning
people might start the day with a beach stroll at Orient Point State Park or an early lunch at Claudio’s in Greenport before hitting the wineries.
- Most wineries charge a small fee for tasting flights. This is a good way to discover a new favorite. If you’ve been to the particular winery before though, consider ordering a single glass of a favorite variety or sharing a bottle with your party.
- Go with a beer drinker… so you have a designated driver! A variety of companies offer limo and van/bus services for day trips as well.
For a relaxing destination, I’m partial to Corey Creek’s tasting room. On a sunny day, you’re sure to meet their friendly, lazy cat, and it’s usually easy to find a quiet table overlooking the vineyards. Please share your favorite finds. Salute!
Souvenir Storage Tips
Store your bottles out of light, on their sides to keep their corks moist, at a temperature that’s not much cooler than a dark basement and in a location free of vibration or anything that may emit strong odors. Avoid the boiler room. It may be dark, but it will cook your wines. Don’t have a basement? Consider the bottom of a dark closet or cabinet that doesn’t get much activity.
Also, avoid kitchen racks, especially atop a refrigerator. Those refrigerator racks receive too much light, heat and vibration—all enemies of wine.
Finally open a bottle and don’t finish it? Recork it carefully, store it in the fridge, and it should remain OK to drink for a day or so. To keep wine longer, transfer the leftover wine to a smaller bottle that can be sealed so there is less air.