As the North Fork Wine Trail prepares to toast the golden anniversary of its founding, new vineyards continue to put down roots, further growing a region ripe for harvest season tasting tours.
Dozens of wineries have opened on the East End since Hargrave Vineyard in Cutchogue put the region on the map in 1973 — and among these vineyards are at least eight new wine companies that have opened in the past five years.
Here are those eight new North Fork wine operations to try.
New North Fork Wine Producers
Founded in 2017, this winery’s two winemakers boast five brands between them. As If is winemaker Alie Shaper’s premium wine series inspired by her move from New York City to the North Fork. Brooklyn Oenology pays homage to Shaper’s roots in the borough by incorporating Kings County artists on the labels. Haywater Cove is Shaper’s non-vintage wine series tribute to a sleepy corner of Peconic Bay. Winemaker Robin Epperson-McCarthy’s label draws on her training at vineyards in New Zealand, Tasmania and Australia. And CANette, as the name suggests, is a line of canned wine spritzers that the duo collaborate on with flavors such as pear, watermelon blueberry and pomegranate. 2885 Peconic Lane, Peconic, chroniclewines.co
ABC News broadcast journalist Dan Abrams purchased the former Laurel Lake Vineyards property in 2020 and renamed the vineyard in honor of his two children, Everett and Emilia, before relaunching last year. But it’s more than just a name change. “The wine at Ev&Em is fundamentally different than Laurel Lake,” Abrams told Dan’s Papers wine columnist Linda Delmonico Prussen. “There is much more careful selection of grapes, much more acidity and more complexity.” The result is a more modern, refreshing taste, and he expects his Pinot Noir to be very special. A standout wine available at Ev&Em now is a non-vintage red inspired by the lighthearted style of Beaujolais wine and made from Long Island’s soon-to-be-signature grape cabernet Franc. evandemvineyards.com
A non-contiguous extension of the award-winning Macari Vinyards’s 160-plus-acre vineyard in Mattituck, the 20-acre Meadowlark North Fork debuted in Cutchogue this summer. It offers a luxurious, elevated tasting experience as well as an elegant events space in two buildings, the Perch and the Wine Bar. The Wine Bar building is bright and airy and the perfect setting for sampling Macari’s new releases and wines not available at the Mattituck vineyard. The Perch is also available as an event space. The sparkling wine is a crowd pleaser, red wine drinkers will love the limited-run merlot, and the sauvignon blanc is a hit with white wine lovers. meadowlarknorthfork.com
Don’t let the name fool you. Montauk Daisy is produced on the North Fork, not at the easternmost tip of the Hamptons as the name suggests. The label, which launched in 2021, is a labor of love of husband-and-wife founding team Juan and Bridget Micieli-Martinez. Montauk Daisy’s two debut wines, a 2019 rosé and a 2019 chardonnay, hit the market in the final weeks of 2020 and quickly set themselves apart from the similar varietals. It has since expanded its portfolio to include a cabernet sauvignon, merlot, riesling and more. Although it does not have a tasting room, Montauk Daisy can be found at select East End locations and ordered online. montaukdaisy.com
Buggy tours through grape fields, charcuterie served among luscious vines and hosting an array of special events has made this 150-acre winery founded in 2020 a draw. The winery in the heart of North Fork wine country has seen an influx of day trippers and overnight guests booking one of the five rooms at its quaint five-bedroom historic farmhouse — one of the oldest in all of Cutchogue. “What’s unique about Peconic Bay Vineyards is we offer a lot of in-vineyard experiences,” Ken Cereola, general manager of the winery, told Dan’s Papers. “We try to get people outside of the tasting room and out into the vineyard area.” peconicbayvineyards.com
POPPY & ROSE WINE CO.
This fledgling wine label held a release party September 9 at hard cidery Woodside Orchards in Aquebogue, where winemaker Kelly Koch unveiled the exciting new wine brand featuring label artwork by local artist Kara Hoblin. Koch was previously head winemaker for Macari Vineyards, is co-owner and cidermaker at Woodside and was named a 40 Under 40 Tastemaker in 2020 by Wine Enthusiast magazine. Her launch includes a rosé, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc. Wines available for purchase at Woodside Orchard in Aquebogue.instagram.com/poppy.and.rose.wine
Maria Rivero González, whose family helped launch her eponymous wine brand in their native Mexico a decade ago, acquired the former Martha Clara Vineyards in 2018 and launched RGNY a year later. The idea behind RGNY Wines is that innovation is key. “We offer a modern approach to wine while embracing traditional winemaking techniques,” said Lilia Perez of RGNY Wines. “We are passionate and serious about our winemaking. We want our visitors to go back home with a complete wine experience. One that they can share with others and that, hopefully, creates an interest to explore and learn more about the wine culture widely.” rgnywine.com
Randy Frankel and his wife, Barbara, purchased Shinn Estate Vineyards in Mattituck, later rechristening it Rose Hill Vineyards & Inn in 2017. “You feel like you’re on the Silverado trail in Napa Valley,” Frankel said. “It’s hard to believe you’re less than two hours away from 8 million people.” Rose Hill includes an inn with four guest rooms, an outdoor patio and seating next to the vines. Its so-called Library Tasting Room was recently redone with a bar from a London pub, circa 1921. Last year, the Frankels purchased the three-parcel, 66-acre Ruland Farm property in Mattituck and are preparing to turn it into what Frankel says will be the “most beautiful vineyard on the North Fork.” rosehill-vineyards.com
-With Linda Delmonico Prussen, Kristen Catalano, Bernadette Starzee and David Taylor