After months of blizzards, puddles of brown slush, and frigid rain in New York City, the weather gods have finally decided to relent and bless us with some actual warm weather. (Californians, I can hear your snickering across the country. Shhhhhh.) This, of course, means one thing: it’s time to get serious about planning your next wine tasting adventure.
While the Finger Lakes are where it’s at for truly high quality wine in the state of New York, Long Island wineries are an easy day trip from New York City, making it an ideal introduction to the state’s wineries for both locals and tourists alike. Here are five wineries to put on your itinerary for your next trip to Long Island wine country.
1. Castello di Borghese Vineyard
17150 County Rte 48, Cutchogue, New York
Tasting Room Hours: Daily from 11:00 AM-5:00 PM
This winery is worth a visit, even if just for historical reasons: it was the first vineyard on the North Fork of Long Island. Started in 1973, the winery acquired its current name in 1999, when Marco and Ann Marie Borghese—a Philadelphia couple with Italian roots—took over the operation. Castello di Borghese’s wines have won several awards, including a Silver Medal for their 2009 Riesling at the prestigious San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. While they produce numerous types of wine—including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Merlot—we’re fans of their Cabernet Franc, which has aromas of strawberry, smoke, and caramel.
2. McCall Wines
22600 Main Road, Cutchogue, New York
Tasting Room Hours: Thursdays to Mondays, 11:00 AM-6:00 PM; check website for updates
The second we tasted the Pinot Noir at McCall Wines, we knew that we were going to like the place. The winery is known for their delicious Pinots and Merlot, though they also produce Rosé, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, and a Bordeaux blend. McCall Wines may be less than ten years old—they made their first vintage in 2007—but they’re definitely a worthwhile stop in the North Fork’s wine country. Bonus: keep your eyes peeled for cattle, foxes, pheasant and deer; their farm is serene, yet full of life, at the same time.
3. Kontokosta Winery
825 North Road, Greenport, New York
Tasting Room Hours: Sundays, Mondays, and Thursdays, 11:00 AM-5:00 PM; Fridays and Saturdays, 11:00 AM-6:00 PM
We first learned about Kontokosta’s wines a few years ago when a friend brought a bottle of their wine to one of our parties. It wasn’t until late 2014, however, that we finally got around to paying this place a visit. And oh, how I wished we hadn’t had waited! In addition to falling in love with their Cabernet Sauvignon, we couldn’t stop gazing at the jaw-dropping view of the ocean. Yes, folks: you too can sit outside, sip your silky Rosé, and take in the salty sea air at this winery. I can’t imagine anything more romantic, refreshing, and downright riveting when you’re in Long Island.
4. Sparkling Pointe
39750 County Road 48, Southold, NY
Tasting Room Hours: Daily, 11:00 AM-6:00 PM
Sparkling Pointe is an ideal stop for the bubbly lovers among us: it’s the sole winery in the North Fork that produces exclusively sparkling wines. Come for the highly regarded sparkling wines (they’ve been rated highly by Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator), but stay for a glass of wine on the terrace overlooking the gorgeous views of the vineyard. If you’re hungry, they also feature a food pairing menu to satiate your ravenous appetite.
5. Croteaux Vineyards
1450 South Harbor Road, Southold, New York 11971
Tasting Barn Hours: Daily until Labor Day, 12:00 PM-5:00 PM
Croteaux Vineyards knows a thing or two about Rosé; after all, it’s the only vineyard in the United States dedicated exclusively to producing this type of wine. Though Rosé has become trendy over the past few years, Croteaux’s tasting barn exudes a relaxed ambiance where you don’t have to worry about being part of Manhattan’s It Crowd. The winery uses Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, and Cabernet Franc to produce their Rosés, and they also make some tasty Sparkling Rosé wines. Once you’ve gotten your fix of pink wines, do yourself a favor and check out their cool boutique, which sells colorful scarves, tunics, jewelry and more.
(All costs were paid by me, and all opinions are my own.)