20 Glass-Raising Reasons to Love East End Wine Country

Dessert wine and cheeseboard at fireplace selective focus
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Hamptons and North Fork wineries are open and pouring, and these chillier months present experiences, tasting options, food offerings, unmatched scenery and more reasons to enjoy the offerings of East End Wine Country. As we come down the home stretch of 2020, let’s toast in 20 unique ways.

A smashing success since they began this summer, the Castello di Borghese Vineyard tours hosted by Giovanni Borghese continue into the fall. “Those have been a great opportunity for us to take small groups and give them an immersive experience in terms of learning about how we grow the vines and maintain the vines throughout the growing season,” Borghese says. “After time in the vines, we bring them underground into the cellar and show them all of the equipment and processes that we employ.”

When visiting an East End vineyard, it’s easy to fall in love and wish you never have to leave, and at Shinn Estate Vineyards, you don’t have to. The winery’s four luxurious guest bedrooms offer comfort, sustainability and respite from the cold weather.

This fall and winter, you’ll be surprised to discover new At Home vertical tasting boxes at Roanoke Vineyards, featuring three of the vineyard’s classic wines from three spectacular vintages. Theses portable flights are ideal for spoiling everyone on your holiday shopping list.

RELATED: Sip & Savor the Best of the Best from East End Wine Country

If you’re craving something more than charcuterie to munch while you sip local wine, look no further than the Little Oak Wood Fired Kitchen at Jamesport Vineyards. Unique pies include the Just Peachy (yes, it’s topped with roasted peaches), The Lobsta (lobster and corn) and the Fun Guy (mushrooms and shallots). Rest assured, they have classic cheese and charcuterie options, too.

There are more ways to enjoy wine than by the bottle, just look at all the options in the Bridge Lane collection, from the team behind Lieb Cellars in Cutchogue. The brand’s popular Chardonnay, red, rosé and Sauvignon Blanc are available in canned, bottled, boxed and keg options.

Made with the world-famous wines that Wölffer Estate Vineyard is known for, the wide array of ciders offers a different way to enjoy fall at an East End vineyard. New to the lineup is the Wölffer No. 139 LoRo Cider. “You don’t want it too watery and not too sweet, not sour, that was the game. We found the sweet spot without being sweet,” winemaker Roman Roth says of the 91-calorie LoRo cider.

Perched atop the sweeping bluffs overlooking Long Island Sound, Kontokosta Winery in Greenport offers unrivaled water views to marvel at while sipping award-winning hand-crafter wines.

Through the Merlot for Monarchs Campaign at Coffee Pot Cellars, every bottle of 2013 Merlot sold plants a milkweed at Blossom Meadow Farm to help restore the decimated monarch butterfly population.

Storms, intense heat and other factors can influence the taste of a particular vintage, and learning about them can help you better understand the variance in taste found in wines of the same style but different harvest year. Next time you stop by Clovis Point for a glass, visit the vineyard’s website to read winemaker John Leo’s in-depth vintage notes going as far back as 2003 and get to know the wine you thought you knew.

No matter what fork you’re on, there’s a Duck Walk Vineyards to visit, with locations in Southold and Water Mill. And no matter which one you choose, make sure to try the famous blueberry port, a perfect pairing for these colder days.

If you’ve got it, flaunt it, as the saying goes, and Harbes Vineyard certainly has it. The vineyard features an award-winning lineup of wines praised by the New York Wine Classic. With two silver medals, three gold and a double gold for the Blanc de Blancs, Harbes knows how to steal the hearts of New York wine lovers and experts.

Few pairs are sweeter than chocolate and wine, which Sparkling Pointe offers in spades, but they also offer a pairing most have yet to realize they need to try as soon as possible—wine and caviar. Indulge in three flavors of sturgeon caviar, as well as the incredibly rare Peconic Escargot Snail Caviar.

RG|NY is getting ready for winter in style. While outdoor seating isn’t available this month, the vineyard was the first to announce cozy dining igloos coming this December. “We’ll be drinking wine outside all year round,” RG|NY writes.

The special Dr. Dan’s Signature Collection at Pindar Vineyards honors the late Dr. Herodotus “Dan” Damianos with wines made with grapes from his favorite vineyard blocks. The collection, which currently includes a Gewurztraminer and a white blend, celebrates this Long Island Wine Country pioneer.

Voted the Best of the Best Wine Club in 2019, membership at Pellegrini Vineyards includes three to six wines shopped quarterly, 20% off all wine purchases, complimentary bar tastings, early access to new releases, access to a library of wines sold out elsewhere and more.

The award-winning Ramato orange wine at Channing Daughters Winery is certainly a must-try, just don’t expect it to taste like a mimosa. “No, it’s not made with oranges,” the winery explains. “It’s made with white grapes, leaving the grape skins in contact with the juice. Depending on how long the juice ferments with the skins—anywhere from a few hours to many months—gives it color.”

Who says rosé is just a summer drink? This is your last chance to enjoy a wide selection of classic and sparkling rosé wines and sip them in the comfort of the Croteaux Vineyards Tasting Barn, closing after Sunday, November 8.

The November edition of The Local Apron is available now at Lenz Winery in Peconic, including all the ingredients to cook Pan Seared Goodale Farm Pork Chops with Apple Cabbage Slaw. The package also two bottles of estate wine to help create the perfect homebound dinner for two.

Experience fine wine and a charming ranch aesthetic at McCall Wines in Cutchogue. During your stay, you might be so lucky as to see cows, black pigs or even a dashing stallion.

Weekends at Palmer Vineyards in Riverhead are extra enticing this year, with fresh Peconic Bay oysters from Harvest Moon Shellfish Co. served up alongside the winery’s delicious wines. Enjoy fresh shellfish every Saturday and Sunday through November 28.

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