top of page

How to Navigate the North Fork Wine Trail - and Three Wineries that Met the Mark


How to Navigate the North Fork Wine Trail

Long Island’s North Fork Wine Trail, on the east end of New York, has increasingly become a go-to destination for wine tourism. Surrounded by the Long Island Sound and the Peconic Bay, it boasts more than 50 wineries, mainly family-owned. The region is about two hours from Manhattan. The North Fork Wine Trail itself is only about 23 miles long, running along two parallel roads. A few of the wineries have existed since the 1970s; some are relatively new and many have changed ownership.  

 

I’ve been to a number of North Fork wineries in the past few years with my mother, who lives in Queens. All of those that I’ve visited provide enjoyable experiences. Some of my favorites have been award-winning Paumanok Vineyards, pretty, quiet Lieb Cellars, Jamesport Vineyards (famous for its homemade wood-fired pizzas), and intimate Suhru Wines, with just a handful of tables in the tasting room and – last time I visited – generous with its cookies.

 

Unfortunately for visitors, most articles about Long Island’s North Fork Wine Trail simply list some or most of the wineries open to the public but don’t explain much about what to expect. The wineries differ considerably, which affects the vibe and the experience. Some of them have better views than others, and not all of them feature events or live music.

 

More importantly, the wineries on Long Island’s North Fork differ in some ways that can fundamentally impact your visit. Some don’t take reservations, so you can be turned away, particularly disappointing after a long drive to get there. Some only have outside seating, so if the weather is bad you’re out of luck. One with views of Long Island Sound charges a fee just to enter the premises, which can be an unpleasant surprise. 

 

And unlike some wine regions, such as Sonoma, California, the wineries on Long Island’s North Fork produce a wide variety of wine, so if there are styles or varietals you prefer (or want to avoid) check their websites when you’re planning.

 

This is definitely a wine region where I recommend mapping out your time in advance, especially if you’re not staying locally. 

 

For this most recent trip, I had certain criteria. As always, the wine needed to be of good quality.

 

But this time around I also wanted to:

 

·         Try wineries I hadn’t been to before

·         Make advance reservations to ensure we had a table, and an indoor one in case of inclement weather

·         Go to wineries that offered flights/guided tastings so I could try a variety of the winery’s wines

·         Ensure that there were some food options.

 

We ended up having a great, relaxing day in three different winery settings. All three wineries we visited are family-owned and originally different wineries under new ownership (and with new names).


RGNY Winery


The first winery we visited was RGNY Winery, in Riverhead. Originally Martha Clara Vineyards, RGNY was established in 2019, but the family has owned wineries in Mexico for years, which explains some of the Mexican touches at RGNY. The tasting room is large, with inside and outside seating.

How to Navigate the North Fork Wine Trail

Since this was our first winery of the day, we opted for the “Tasting Experience” so my mother could learn more about what to look for when comparing, sniffing, and sipping wine. The wines were also paired with particular foods. Our guide, Alison, was terrific and very informative.


We sampled:


A sparkling rosé 😊 just to welcome us

Riesling Scielo 2019 😊++, paired with brie cheese

Viognier 2020 😊😊, paired with manchego cheese and apricots

White Merlot 2019 😊😊, paired with Mexican quince fruit

Tinto Scielo 2022, a Bordeaux blend of five reds 😊😊, paired with olives and chorizo


How to Navigate the North Fork Wine Trail

Terre Vite North Fork Winery & Vineyards


The second winery we visited, Terre Vite North Fork Winery & Vineyards, in Jamesport, is more low-key, with an Italian heritage and design. Formally Diliberto, it’s a smaller winery, with a nice outdoor area in the back, including a gazebo. The food menu is broader, and included bowls and panini sandwiches as well as cheese/charcuterie boards. There was a guitarist on the porch.

How to Navigate the North Fork Wine Trail

Here I opted for the seasonal flight (mom had a glass of Sauvignon Blanc 😊+).


I sampled:


“Sole” Chardonney 2022 😊😊+

White Merlot 2023 😊++

Cabernet Franc 2021 😊+

Mercato, a nonvintage red blend of 50% Cabernet Savignon and 50% Merlot 😊+


Ev&Em Vineyards


We rounded out the day at our third winery, Ev&Em Vineyards, in Laurel, formerly Laurel Lake Vineyards. Ev&Em’s catchphrase is “where Napa meets the Hamptons on the North Fork of Long Island” but I thought it was much more chill and welcoming than either Napa or the Hamptons. Its tasting room looks like someone’s comfortable den, with high ceilings and a fireplace in the corner.

How to Navigate the North Fork Wine Trail

It offers both indoor and outdoor seating, plus an area overlooking the vineyards, which is where we sat. We sampled the “classic” flight of its flagship wines:


Chardonnay 2022, in stainless steel 😊+

Chardonnay 2022, barrel fermented 😊+

Cabernet Franc 2021 😊+

Cabernet Savignon 2021 😊😊


I hope this information on how to navigate Long Island’s North Fork Wine Trail - and three wineries that met the mark - helps you map out your visit to this region. Cheers!

 

What North Fork wineries do you recommend, and why?  Let us know!  We’re at info@winewithourfamily.com

 

If you enjoyed this article, visit our website and check out some of our related ones:

 

Comments


bottom of page