A Toast to Winter Wining at East End Wineries

Macari’s Bergen Road Bungalow. Macari’s Bergen Road Bungalow.
Macari Vineyards’ Bergen Road Bungalow.
Photo: Carl Timpone

Hamptons and North Fork wineries are welcoming the East End community into their vineyards and tasting rooms for a holiday season full of cheer, merriment and world-class wines. Check out their winter plans.

Castello di Borghese Vineyard is charging ahead with private tours this winter, which allow guests to get an immersive look at the vines and underground cellar as owner Giovanni Borghese offers insight into the winemaking process. Outdoor seating is available, as are deliveries and curbside to-go. “We expect there to still be a thriving outdoor scene,” Borghese says, adding that this year’s mulled wine is sure to warm guests up. “We’re going to try to make our outdoor scene as accommodating and comfortable as possible.” castellodiborghese.com

Five cozy igloos have arrived at RG|NY for the month of December, each able to shield eight guests from the cold as they sip premier wines and nosh of small plates and cheese boards. The 2.5-hour reservations include a bottle of sparkling white wine. Tasting and blending sessions continue this winter where guests can meet an expert and blend their own wines to taste and bottle. Take-home kits are also available, which can still be led by an expert via private Zoom meeting by scheduling the session over the phone. Be on the lookout for details about the upcoming La Luna winter event, when the wine picked by guests of the October harvest event will be released in bottles and in the tasting room. “Everybody finished the harvest and now we’re all celebrating together,” RG|NY Creative Director Amanda Rivera says. “Not everyone is doing something like that, and it’s kind of exciting.” rgnywine.com

Channing Daughters' 2019 HEART Series.
Channing Daughters’ 2019 HEART Series. Photo: Courtesy Channing Daughters Winery

Channing Daughters Winery recently released an exciting white blend labeled as the 2019 Heart Series, which is packaged in bottles that showcase the art of 12 local artists, and that’s just the first of wines to come in the upcoming months. “We will be releasing new wines throughout the winter,” General Manager/Partner Allison Dubin says. The holiday season will also see gift baskets featuring Channing Daughters wines paired with items from East End producers including Sagaponack Distillery and The Bee’s Needs. channingdaughters.com

This season Jamesport Vineyards has made the decision to limit tastings to the adults-only tasting room, where reservations are required, though an outdoor heated tent is available for those who want to enjoy offerings from the Little Oak Wood-Fired Kitchen. The kitchen will be serving up additional small plate options and tasty bites to shake up their menu of mouthwatering pizzas. “It definitely does separate us that we’re able to offer a different variety,” owner Ronald Goerler says. “In addition to the cheese plates and charcuterie boards that we have, we are able to offer things that are a little more substantial.” jamesportwines.com

Wölffer Estate Vineyard recently disgorged its Noblesse Oblige 2017 Extra Brut, which can be picked up at the winery drive-thru and tasting room this winter. “It is a stunning sparkling wine in the classic methode champenoise style,” winemaker and partner Roman Roth notes, adding that a new cider is on the way. “Something you’ve never tried before! After many tests and trials, we have crafted a new cider that will bring us all a little balance! More to come when this is released beginning of 2021.” Soothing warm drinks have also been added to the tasting room menu this season, including a German-inspired mulled wine called Glühwein. wolffer.com

Secret Santa Mystery Wines at Lieb Cellars.
Secret Santa Mystery Wines at Lieb Cellars. Photo: Courtesy Lieb Cellars

Open seven days a week throughout the winter season, Lieb Cellars is offering indoor tastings in their festively decorated tasting room. Because capacity is limited, reservations are strongly recommended. The gift shop is packed with new goodies including wine gift packs, “Lieb Experiences” and the ever-popular Secret Santa Mystery Wines, which are sure to bring joy and cheer to whoever receives one for the holidays. “We all need as much cheer as possible,” Lieb General Manager Ami Opisso says. liebcellars.com

With a seasonal closing date of December 20, Raphael is packing in a season’s worth of vineyard experiences into a few short weeks. “We are trying to keep a sense of peace and tranquility when guests visit and are able to offer them a sense of normalcy when they visit,” says Special Events Coordinator Julie Petrocelli Vergari. A 20th anniversary flight comprises the winery’s 2019 vintage Chardeaux, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Riesling, and the premium red flight offers the newly released 2017 Estate Malbec, as well as the 2014 la Fontana, 2015 First Label Merlot and 2014 Primo. raphaelwine.com

Sannino Vineyard is open for indoor seating seven days a week throughout the winter, offering their seasonal specialty wine slushies and warmed spiced wine to guests looking to try something new. These unique libations are not to be outmatched by the recently released 2017 Teroldego, a red variety traditionally found Northern Italy. “We allowed these grapes to partially dry on racks of hay like the traditional Amarone method,” says Sannino Director of Operations Marisa Sannino. “You should expect higher acidity as you would with traditional Italian Teroldego. This wine is impressively full bodied, with bold dried fruit tones. Allow this wine to breathe before enjoying. We recommend opening this bottle an hour before enjoying.” sanninovineyard.com

Macari Vineyards has unveiled a winery glamping experience that their guests won’t likely find elsewhere. Cozy and captivating, Macari’s Bergen Road Bungalows, furnished by local designer Jesse Elliott and boutique White Flower Farmhouse, give private groups an intimate setting to enjoy some of the North Fork’s most celebrated wines and lunch from Chef Lauren Lombardi. Each tent is outfitted with a mix of vintage and contemporary furnishings, local artwork, a range of vinyl music and classic games—all available for purchase. “We knew we had to get inventive to give our guests something safe and fun during the winter, while prioritizing the health and comfort of our team,” says Gabriella Macari. “The fact that we’re able to support some of our favorite North Fork creatives in the process only makes it more exciting.” macariwines.com

Per tradition, Coffee Pot Cellars has extended their December hours in anticipation of taking one month off and reopening in February, and there’s plenty to get excited about this month, starting with the addition of Good Food Award–winning Blossom Meadow Farm mini jam jars to the gift shop. “With the popularity of charcuterie plates, we heeded the call and began making 1.5-ounce net weight jars in addition to our 4-ounce and 9-ounce offerings,” says Laura Klahre of Coffee Pot Cellars and Blossom Meadow Farm. While the tasting room is too small to accommodate guests inside at the moment, visitors are invited to warm up their insides on the unheated porch with a glass of the new 2015 Meritage—super lush and complex with round, ripe tannins. coffeepotcellars.com

With new owner Sean P. Kelly, big changes have come to Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard. The gift shop and on-premises horses are no more, with each steed being adopted to a forever home. Holiday baskets are still available, as is the seasonal food truck, though picnicking is not permitted at this time. The outdoor seating area with deck heaters and a heated tent are available through mid-December, when seating will move completely indoors. “We plan to keep a relaxed yet safe atmosphere for our guests even with the very limited indoor space we will have,” Tasting House Manager Rose Vasta says, adding, “We will have a new release in December, but it’s a secret!” baitinghollowfarmvineyard.com

The Clovis Point Tasting Room.
The Clovis Point Tasting Room. Photo: Courtesy Clovis Point

Clovis Point Vineyard & Winery invites the East End community to have fun and give fun this holiday season. “If you bring in a new, unwrapped toy, you get a free glass of Chardonnay or Merlot,” General Manager Heather Consoli says, alluding to the Toys for Tots drop-off box at the winery. Reservations are required for all visits this winter, with a $20 deposit per guest, which will go toward money spent during the tasting room or heated patio visit. The fun continues on Friday, December 18 at 6:30 p.m. when Clovis Point hosts the Winter Holiday Trivia Night, which includes a glass of wine in the $15 registration. clovispointwines.com

Where there is wine, there is often cheese, and that is abundantly true at the Suhru Wines Wine & Cheese Virtual Tastings series, which continues on Sunday, December 6 with an exploration of rich, winter cheeses that pair wonderfully with sparkling wines and seasonal reds. Those who enjoy this collaboration with Cheese Grotto can even schedule a private virtual tasting. “We always strive to offer the highest level of service to our guests and will continue to adapt to the ever-changing world around us!” Director of Sales & Marketing Shelby Hearn says. One wine that is a must-taste this season is Suhru’s 2019 Teroldego, a lesser known Northern Italian varietal that offers warm baking spices on the nose and notes of red raspberry on the tongue. suhruwines.com

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