Long Island’s North Fork American Viticultural Area (AVA), in Long Island’s Suffolk County, boasts about 50 wineries and vineyards. The nearby Atlantic Ocean, Long Island Sound, and Peconic Bay moderate the temperature fluctuations, enabling vintners to grow a remarkably diverse range of varietals. It’s about one and a half hours east of New York City, an easy day trip or weekend destination.
But it can be difficult to select which wineries you’ll visit on Long Island’s North Fork. Unlike some other wine regions, such as France’s Burgundy region, where different localities specialize in particular varietals, or Mendoza, Argentina, which is comprised of three different valleys each offering different experiences, your Long Island North Fork wine experience can be customized based on various factors to best maximize your trip.
The wineries are jumbled together in roughly two lines, running approximately from Aqueboque in the West to beyond Greenport to the East.
So how should you craft your Long Island North Fork wine experience? Most articles about the wineries either list them in alphabetical order or in a seemingly random hodgepodge, depending on who the reporter interviewed.
Since there are many different ways to craft your Long Island North Fork Wine Experience, here you really need a strategy.
I suggest that readers start planning a trip to the North Fork by category. Then it’s easy to either stick to a particular category or mix and match to create a diverse visit. However you choose, you’ll be able to create a unique Long Island North Fork wine experience and sample a variety of different wines.
I’ve done some of the research here so you don’t have to.
Please check the wineries’ websites once you’ve narrowed down your choices to make sure that the information is up to date. It’s also helpful to double-check whether you need a reservation; some wineries won’t take walk-ins.
The Award Winners
The North Fork produces some very fine wine; the region dominated the New York State 2021 New York Wine Classic competition. Pindar Vineyards in Peconic won the Gold Cup and Paumanok Vineyards of Aquebogue was named the winery of the year.
To round out a trip to the honorees, add in McCall Wines, which won best Pinot Noir with its 2014 Reserve Corchaug Estate Wine.
The Type of Food
It’s smart to make sure that at least one winery you plan to visit offers food to absorb some of that alcohol. It’s also fun to pair the wine with the food the winery recommends. But this too varies on the North Fork; what wineries you choose to visit may depend on what you’d like to eat. For instance, some of the wineries have food trucks on the premises; others, such as Lieb Cellars in Cutchogue, offer cheese and charcuterie boards. Jamesport Vineyards, in Jamesport, is well known for its wood-fired pizzas. Some of the tastings at Macari Vineyards in Mattatuck include a catered lunch.
Where Size Matters
The size of a winery or tasting room can impact the type of experience you’re looking for. For instance, Suhru Wines in Cutchogue has just a few tables in its tasting room, and can only accommodate groups of six or fewer. Lieb Cellars has only a small patio and a smaller indoor tasting room; its group maximum is 10 people. Both of them do not allow limos or buses, even for drop-offs. But Lieb’s affiliated winery, Bridge Lane in Mattituck, will accommodate larger parties, limos, and buses.
The Singular Sensations
If you’re into particular types of wine, you can customize your trip that way. For instance, if you like sparkling wine, head to Sparkling Pointe in Southold; it specializes in the “methode champenoise.” Croteaux Vineyards, also in Southhold, is the only vineyard in the United States that exclusively produces rosé wine.
We hope you find these recommendations on how to craft your Long Island North Fork wine experience helpful on your next outing there! Please feel free to contact us and share your thoughts on the best ways to organize a Long Island North Fork wine experience.
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