The North Fork of Long Island is chock full of many things, especially grapes. Although extremely popular in the spring and summer, vineyards are also crowded during the fall season, especially for adults who want a break between apple and pumpkin picking with the kids.
Wine lovers from near and far look forward to tastings by the glass, pairing meats and cheeses and leaving with several bottles of grape goodness to take home. It’s a day out to relax, have fun and enjoy the crisp autumn weather.
But with so many wineries to choose from, how do you pick just one?
6025 Sound Ave.
Riverhead, NY 11901
Perhaps one of the most popular wine destinations, Martha Clara Vineyards has something for everyone—animals and hayrides for the kids, food trucks for the trendy teen, a multitude of wine for adults and live music for all. Guests must buy a box of the vineyard’s oyster crackers, which are more of a sweet cookie than a salty cracker. The beautiful tasting room and sitting area features exposed wooden beams and wall to wall windows letting in sunlight and fresh air. If you plan on stopping here, make sure you get in on the earlier side of the morning as bachelorette parties and birthdays tend to frequent Martha Clara through the fall season.
Favorite wines: Riesling, a medium bodied blend; pinot grigio, perfectly crisp for warmer autumn day and the Estate Reserve Viognier with unique notes of coconut, pineapple and peach blossoms for that reminder of summer.
2114 Sound Ave.
Calverton, NY 11933
Upon embarking on the Long Island Wine Trail, connoisseurs of the grape will find the first winery on Sound Avenue to be Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard. While many wine enthusiasts may have intentions of exploring several vineyards, one step into the quaint farmhouse will prove that is not necessary.
Sharon Rubin Levine is one of the owners of Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard and Horse Rescue, a lovely farm house with a large front porch where guests can taste wines, relax with a glass or purchase wine and gifts to take home. Open year round, there is something for everyone, including live music, food and horse rides for the kids. Choose from several select and varietal wines such as rosé, white and red wines.
Favorite wines: Sam’s Legacy, a reserve Merlot; and the extremely popular dessert wines—Sweet Isis and Cheval Bleu—which have won gold medals.
36225 Main Rd.
Cutchogue, NY 11935
One of the most popular vineyards for weddings, Bedell Cellars is breathtakingly beautiful and wine-making is an art form. All of the wines are made from sustainably grown grapes on some of the oldest grapevines in the country.
Favorite wines: Cabernet Franc, made with red fruits for a juicy deliciousness; chardonnay with a creamy texture and notes of green apple and sparkling rosé with guava and cranberry for a refreshing sip.
37645 Main Rd. (Route 25)
Peconic, NY 11958
Known for its lovely tasting room with stained glass windows and beautiful pick-your-own sunflower fields, Pindar Vineyards is a favorite stop of many on the wine trail. Tastings are highly recommended to get a feel for what you would like to order by the glass to take outside. Two large roof-covered decks draw crowds outside to enjoy some wine and food (outside food and drinks are allowed outside the tasting room, which is a huge hit with guests).
Favorite wines: Summer blush and its unique strawberry flavor; Gewürztraminer dessert wine with sweet honeysuckle and tangerine and the newest release, a syrah that hits all the right notes.