How can the LIRR quench your thirst for an escape to the wine regions of California and France? A number of top-rated vineyards and wineries are just a ride away, saving you time and money you could be spending on drinks. Make any day feel like happy hour at the best vineyards and wineries on Long Island, New York.
Channing Daughters is the only winery on Long Island’s East End growing many of its two dozen-plus grape varieties. What sets this Hamptons vineyard apart even more than its exclusive products, however, is its inclusive pricing. Here, six-wine tastings ($12) and a look at one of New York City’s most interesting art collections can be bought without breaking the bank. Now, that’s something worth drinking to.
Complete your Hamptons experience with a visit to the chic Wölffer Estate Vineyard. Celebrities, Sagaponack vacationers, and trend-devotees (Wölffer is the vineyard behind that Instagram-famous Summer in a Bottle rosé) all rub elbows at this European-inspired attraction. However, you’ll likely be too consumed by Wölffer’s award-winning wines to notice them.
If there’s such a thing as a family-friendly vineyard, Macari Vineyards is it. The 500-acre Mattituck property is now run by two generations of the Macari family, whose vineyard rows share the land with Sicilian donkeys, Texas longhorns, and other friendly animals. While the vineyard isn’t open to children, discovering its renowned wines for the first time will make you feel like a kid again.
Wine lovers from around the region flock to McCall Wines for a reverent taste of one of the wine world’s rarest grapes, the Pinot Noir. Since the mid-1990s, this boutique winery has drawn on French influences to create its Pinot Noir and Merlot varieties, distinguishing itself from its New York peers in the process. Burgundy and Bordeaux-style reds transport the tastebuds, while features such as a tasting room converted from a former horse stable and a wind-powered farm ground McCall firmly in New York.
At Pindar Vineyards, discover why Long Island’s largest winery also happens to be one of its best. What began as a family project has grown into a 500-plus-acre vineyard yielding 23 different wines. Bonus: Pindar’s commitment to eco-friendly practices means your wine habit just became guilt-free.
At Paumanok, the Native American word for “Long Island,” community is key. That’s why wine-tasters here are joined by a member of the Massoud family, Paumanok’s owner and operator, and why the vineyard’s vibe is more intimate than intimidating despite its many lofty award wins. With a regional cheese or charcuterie plate in one hand and a pour from one of Paumanok’s annual 9,000 cases of wine, getting to know your neighbors has never been more fun.
Lord of the Rings producer Michael Lynne has another hit on his hands with Bedell Cellars. The critically-acclaimed wines here were served at the 2013 U.S. Presidential Inauguration, and like any big hit, Bedell has even stirred up some controversy in the wine world with its racy “Taste White 2016” labels. Enjoy the star treatment yourself at the Cellars’ elegant tasting room, decorated with Lynne’s own contemporary art collection.
Bring your parents to Lieb Cellars, a classic Cutchogue estate known for its reserve wines, best enjoyed at the winery’s Wine Dinners and live music evenings. Bring your siblings, on the other hand, to Lieb’s younger label, Bridge Lane. Here, five wines designed for “casual sipping” live up to their purpose among multi-colored picnic tables, turntables, and chalkboard menus.
Escape New York for the Mediterranean with help from Raphael. Here, a winery modeled after a Tuscan villa greets guests, who can look forward to top-rated red Bordeaux blends, Cabernet Franc, and Chardonnay among others. Owner John Petrocelli’s Italian influences can be observed further in Raphael’s cheese and charcuterie accompaniments and informal, intimate tours.
It’s all about the bubbles at the aptly-named Sparkling Pointe, a North Fork spot specializing exclusively on the production of Méthode Champenoise Sparkling Wines. Befitting the bubbly-only estate are glamorous features such as glass chandeliers and an outdoor lounge complete with umbrella-equipped tables. Tip: don’t miss Sparkling Pointe’s mouth-watering collaborations with Birds & Bubbles, Four & Twenty Blackbirds, and more.