On a scorching, summer day it is tempting to plan an escape from our NYC Apartments. What if you do not have enough time for a proper cross-country trek much less an international one? How does one get away from the daily craziness without the hassle that comes with prolonged travel?
The Long Island wine country is the perfect solution! With vineyards peppered all over Long Island, the difficulty is trying to figure out where to stay and which vineyard to target. My low-key, intimate wine trail recommendation, provides all the information you will need for a wonderful and relaxing weekend.
It is important to consider your main base. Keep in mind that most wineries are open 11-6 PM (some even 7 PM) with reservations required/recommended.
Do you turn into a party animal in need of a neighborhood bar after sundown? Or do you wish to wind down, after a pleasantly exhausting wine trail exploration? Your nature will determine the type of neighborhood that you want to stay in. While the first thought is to find a geographically appropriate hotel, why not just stay at a vineyard? As you tour neighborhood wineries you will have the comfort of knowing that once properly inebriated, you can simply go upstairs and crash on a fluffy pillow. Rose Hill Vineyards & Inn (formerly Shinn Estate Vineyards) is the perfect central base for your wine exploration. With stunning views, breakfast, complimentary tasting, and access to coffee, snacks, and wines at any time, the staff at Rose Hill lets guests experience luxurious, farmhouse living. Jamesport Vineyards (an elegant and rustic hotel) and Jason’s Vineyards (offering live music) also provide great overnight accommodations. There are many affordable transportation options available, specializing in wine tours, such as Norfolk Wine Tours.
Now that you have the logistics handled… let’s wine!
(must try: Brut)
Specializing in sparkling wines, the 40-acre Sparkling Pointe consistently offers the best of bubbles. With a bright, breezy, and modern décor, the tasting room is reminiscent of an elegant, farm manor.
Castello di Borghese/Hargrave Vineyard
(must try: Cabernet Franc Reserve)
A quaint, local vineyard, with minimal décor, that is known equally for its’ wines, gallery events, and the friendly owner, Giovanni Borghese. Established in 1973, it is the founding vineyard of Long Island specializing in Bordeaux-style varieties.
(must try: Chenin Blanc)
Known for Rieslings and Sauvignon Blanc this 127-acre vineyard was established in 1983. The tasting room, built on top of the cellar, is a restored turn-of-the-century barn. Guests can enjoy the vineyard view from the deck. Featured in the Wine Enthusiast, Paumanok farms has been heralded for their Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Riesling, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot.
(must try: Bordeaux blends)
This 180-acre vineyard, opened in 1995, boasts a large selection, catering to every palate. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, with light accents and a farmhouse vibe. You may even bring your pooch, though you will have to guard your yummy cheese plate.
(must try: Albarinho and Musée)
Built on 32 acres of beautiful land, Bedell is a beautiful, 1980’s country-home estate. The minimal, contemporary décor and countryside setting produce an elegant, yet restful atmosphere. This vineyard typically produces Merlot, Malbec, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc, Syrah, sparkling, and Petite Verdot.
(must try: Sauvignon Blanc)
Formerly the Martha Clara Vineyard, RGNY has been around since 1996. The Vineyard produces Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Pinot Noir, and Syrah on its’ 203 acres. Sold to the Rivero-González family in 2018, the winery is rustic elegant and cozy. It hosts events ranging from stomping, dance parties to “vine and dog.”
(must try: Old Vine Cabernet and Merlot)
Established in 1977, this winery has retained its’ flair for the classics. Boasting rich, complex flavors, this winery is a must-try in the region where Merlot reigns. In a cozy/communal, barn atmosphere, guests enjoy sampling wine and gourmet bites.
(must try: Primo Reserve, Malbec Reserve)
Rustic and regal at the same time, the Raphael Winery is reminiscent of a medieval mansion. Owned by the fourth-generation, winemaking Petrocelli family, the vineyard has been producing wines since 2000.
Wolffer Estate Vineyard
(must try: Rose)
A bit further off the beaten path, but worth the mention, Wolffer Estate produces everything from sparkling wines to the more traditional merlot or cabernet franc. Hosting numerous live events, this place knows how to party. The atmosphere brings the outside inside with a breezy, countryside flair.
Channing Daughters Winery
(must try: Sauvignon Blanc)
Located near Wolffer, Channing Daughters is best classified as an experimental winery. Here, you will find anything from Blaufrankisch, vermouth to Tocai, Refosco, and everything unusual. Set in a country home with an enchanting, landscaped garden.