The North Fork of Long Island is chock full of many things, especially grapes. Once the first warm day of spring hits, vineyards across the island are populated with wine lovers, looking forward to tastings by the glass, pairing meats and cheeses and driving home with several bottles of grape goodness in the back seat. It’s a day out to relax, have fun with family and friends and enjoy the weather. But with so many wineries to choose from, how do you pick just one?
Martha Clara Vineyards
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 from spring through the fall season.
Favorite wines: riesling, a medium bodied blend; pinot grigio, perfectly crisp for a hot summer day and the Estate Reserve Viognier with unique notes of coconut, pineapple and peach blossoms.
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.
Also visit Sparkling Pointe, 39750 County Road 48, Southold, NY 11971, whose estate grown sparkling wines are produced in the traditional Méthode Champenoise. For more information, call 631-765-0200 or visit www.sparklingpointe.com.