Fall 2023 Wine Guide: East End Harvest Events & Great Bottles
Locals know that fall is the best time of year to visit Long Island Wine Country. Between the pastoral settings, changing foliage, and dizzying diversity of native grapes, wine styles, and tasting experiences and events, LI Wine Country is a centerpiece of the shoulder-season on both forks of the East End.
As the weather turns, help our local wine-growers and -makers capture the bounty of the fall harvest season. After all, in just half a century, they have helped establish the East End of Long Island as one of the more unique and exciting terroirs on the planet.
North Fork Wine
Bedell Cellars, in Cutchogue, is one of the more decorated wineries on the North Fork. VinePair awarded Bedell’s 2021 Pinot Gris an astounding 92 points and made it on to their list of “Best Pinot Grigio’s for 2023.” The Pinot Gris 2021 is made from young vines that were planted at Bedell in 2016. It’s crisp and light, yet boasting a deceptively full mouthfeel and beautiful aromatics, perfect for Fall.
Another big hit was its 2019 Musée, ‘The Grand Vin of NY,’ with its powerful core of dark, ripe fruit and a complex array of flavors and textural nuances. The 2019 vintage shows ripeness levels rivaling that of Bedell’s legendary vintage of 2010.
“The 2019 vintage on the North Fork was one of the finest of the last decade and allowed me to make this beautiful red blend – the first one since the vintage of 2015,” Bedell winemaker Richard Olsen-Harbich said. “It’s probably the wine I love to make the most as it captures the true potential of our terroir. I consider this wine to be the pinnacle of quality and prestige in the region and it will age gracefully for decades to come. One of the most collectible and rare wines produced on the East Coast of the United States.”
Bedell also released its 2022 Sauvignon Blanc that likewise embodies the quintessential characteristics of the North Fork, boasting a refreshing acidity, low alcohol content, and distant minerality, making it a delightful choice for those seeking a sophisticated and harmonious white wine to usher in the Fall.
Paumanok Vineyards was named winner of both the Winery of the Year and the prestigious 2023 Governor’s Cup, the top prize at the 37th Annual New York Wine Classic competition. The Aquebogue-based winery, celebrating its 40th anniversary, won the Governor’s Cup for its 2019 Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc.
“This recognition means a lot to us,” said Kareem Massoud, Paumanok’s winemaker and president of Long Island Wine Country, a trade group that represents East End wineries. “It validates our long-time dedication to producing high quality wines.”
Paumonok will hold its Harvest Festival Saturday and Sunday, October 14 and 15, with German fare and wine fermenting as they celebrate the 2023 harvest.
For lovers of sparkling wines, Jason’s Vineyard was voted Best Sparkling Wine in The New York Wine Classic for its bubbly Rosé 2021, while Sparkling Pointe took home Best of Class for Traditional Method with its 2018 Méthode Champenoise Blanc De Blanc.
Mattituck’s Macari Wineyards were established in 1995, although the Macari family at one time made wine from the basement of their home in Corona, Queens. The vineyard, formerly a 500-acre potato field, nowadays produces wines ranging from Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay to Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Merlot.
Sannino Vineyard, owned and operated by Anthony and Lisa Sannino, scored a Best of Class award for a 2022 Single Vineyard Pinot Grigio.
On September, 29, the Cutchogue vineyard welcomes back Executive Chef Christopher Kar from The Dimon Estate for its Annual Harvest Moon Dinner — a four-course meal, specially paired with Sannino Wines.
Among other 2023 New York Wine Classic ‘Best of Class’ winners from the North Fork: Borghese Vineyard, which took honors for Best of Class for (unoaked) Chardonnay with its 2020 Chardonnay; Osprey’s Dominion, which earned the 2023 Best of Class award for its 2019 Reserve, Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as a Best of Class for a Red Blend with its 2015 Flight Meritage Red Blend; and One Woman, recognized as a 2023 Best of Class for its 2019 Sauvignon Blanc.
South Fork Wine
Wölffer Estate Vineyard, which makes some of the region’s most noted wines, won The New York Wine Classic’s ‘Best Pink Wine’ for its 2022 Estate Rosé.
Between the picturesque vineyard and wine stand down the road, Wolffer’s South Fork locale is a perfect autumnal setting to watch the leaves change while sipping one of their award-winning wines (or ciders).
You can also head to Wolffer’s Annual Harvest Party on Saturday October 7 from noon-4 p.m. to celebrate its 33rd harvest season with a family-friendly event filled with award-winning wines and ciders, carefully curated to complement various foodie bites.
Get competitive with adult barrel-rolling and grape-stomping, along with pony rides, hayrides, a bouncy house and more.
Experts in a vast array of fascinating grape varieties, Channing Daughters in Bridgehampton grows and create wines from over two dozen varieties, including Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Tocai Friulano, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat Ottonel, Malvasia, Gewurztraminer, Ribolla Gialla and Pinot Bianco; red varieties include Merlot, Blaufränkisch, Dornfelder, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Teroldego, Refosco and Lagrein.
It’s known as the only winery on the East End growing and producing wines from many of these grapes.
Duck Walk was the dream of founder Dr. Herodotus “Dan” Damianos, one of the early pioneers of the winemaking industry on Long Island. Between the Chateau-style building in Water Mill, a true Hamptons landmark, and a North Fork location, Duck Walk produces some 5,000 cases of wine a year and has been recognized for excellence in national competitions.
From Vidal Ice Wine made with grapes actually frozen on the vine, to Blueberry Port crafted from wild Maine blueberries, to the unique Pinot Meunier, Duck Walk creates distinctive wines in a variety of eye-catching styles.