Nothing says fall like a tour through Long Island Wine Country, spending a weekend enjoying the local viticultural offerings and drinking in the beauty of the vineyards and wineries. With glasses raised and pours at the ready, East End winemakers share their insider tips for making the most of touring and tasting in Long Island Wine Country.
James Waters, Owner, Waters Crest Winery
Don’t expect to see and try everything in one day. There is just too much to do and see. Make a week out of it, or at least a few days! There are many incredible B&Bs to choose from. Really experience what the North Fork has to offer—world-class wines, world-class dining experiences. There is something here for everyone. Local wines, beers, spirits. Farm fresh produce, cheeses, seafood. The list goes on and on. It is always a great idea to hire a driver, or designate a driver if you know you will be out tasting wines all day.
Rosamond Phelps Baiz, Winemaker and Proprietor with husband Christian F. Baiz, The Old Field Vineyards
Always taste every wine two times before making a decision—the first taste is likely to be very different from the second as your taste buds adjust to the flavors. Check to see if buses/limos/vans are allowed at the vineyard you would like to visit. If you are six or more people you will need to have a reservation, so call ahead. Do not bring alcohol to the winery; it is illegal. Remember to respect the place you are visiting—they are peoples’ homes.
Richard Pisacano, Owner, Roanoke Vineyards
We urge tasters to focus on their own impression of wine. It’s easy to be influenced by preconceived ideas like packaging, variety, price, fanciful names or the atmosphere. Finding wine that you truly enjoy is personal and requires focus. Never taste wine with your ears. Forget what you’ve heard and taste the wines. Every winery has something special.
Kelly Urbanik Koch, Winemaker, Macari Vineyards & Winery
Don’t forget to ask lots of questions and learn as much as you can about the wines and wineries you are visiting. We are eager to teach people about our unique and beautiful little corner of the wine world. If you enjoy the wines, please help spread the word about our wines and our region.
Juan Eduardo Micieli-Martinez, Winemaker and General Manager, Martha Clara Vineyards
Come during the week if possible. I understand that most people have weekends off, but take a vacation day or play hookie! Yes, I am condoning playing hookie. I would recommend selecting a few wineries to visit, don’t try to cram too much in a day. It’s supposed to be enjoyable, not a race.
Anthony Nappa, Winemaker and Founder, Anthony Nappa Wines
When visiting Wine Country, experiment outside of your comfort zone, try new things. One of the best attributes of Long Island Wine Country is our diversity in grapes grown and wine styles.
Have a plan. You can only hit three to five wineries in a day—don’t rush, enjoy yourself. Come during the week or off-season. Serious wine aficionados can get more attention and information. Get off the beaten track. Although great wine can be had at the bigger venues, avoid crowds and groups in the smaller tasting rooms, where oftentimes it’s the only place those smaller production wines are available. Relax! Its only wine, and you’re on vacation.
Dan’s Harvest East End, the food-and-wine classic, takes place on August 22. Hosted by celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian, it will showcase more than 40 winemakers and 30-plus top regional chefs and purveyors. Tickets start at $125 and $275 for VIP admission. The event will be held at McCall Vineyard and Ranch in Cutchogue. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit DansTasteofSummer.com.