Over the next month, I will take Pulse readers on a digital version of the ultimate wine tour. I’ll highlight some of the unique, sometimes missed attributes that Long Island’s public wineries and vineyards possess. Being placed in one category doesn’t mean a winery doesn’t fit the bill for another. A word of warning: Don’t take the labels too seriously. A winery with live music may also have great food. Like wine, it’s all in good fun and a matter of personal taste. Here’s to that and all Long Island wineries.
Long Island Wineries for Art Lovers
A tasting room’s architecture often feels like a work of art. The same can be said for the view of seemingly endless vines on a sunny day. But some wineries raise a glass to local artists through exhibits, labeling and decor. For local restaurants that have an eye for art, click here.
Bedell Cellars, Cutchogue
Owner Michael Lynne is a collector of art and some of his pieces hang on the walls of the tasting room, which boasts a sophisticated black-and-silver color scheme much different than the rustic wooden accents displayed at other Long Island wineries. April Gornik, whose work is part of permanent collections at MoMA and The Whitney, is among the featured artists. She created the piece “Clouds Over the Sea,” which she said exemplifies her fixation with landscape and its ability to reflect human emotions, exclusively for Bedell Cellars’ blanc de blancs and sparkling rosé. Phone: 631-734-7537 | Address: 36225 NY-25 Click to sip
Clovis Point, Laurel
Clovis Point hosts art shows and sales throughout the year. Recent ones have included a show and sale by Good Ground Artists, a group of Twin Forks artists, and a photography exhibit by Holly Hunts. Clovis Point is also a weekend hub for live music and a daily hub for one-of-a-kind wines. The 2013 Vintner’s Select Merlot is smoky, full of big fruit and perfect for a cool-weather dinner party. Phone: 631-722-4222 | Address: 1935 NY-25 Click to sip
Martha Clara, Riverhead
One of the Island’s most well-known vineyards, Martha Clara is known for its sprawling 200-acre estate and heralded 2014 Chardonnay, which was voted best in New York at the New York Wine & Food Classic. Perhaps lesser known is the vineyards’ artist in residence program. Local artists can apply to have a showcase and meet-and-greet inside the rustic barn-style tasting room. Those who are nowhere near these artists’ level but still enjoy a little paint therapy can attend Wine Glass Paint & Sips throughout the year. Phone: 631-298-0075 | Address: 6025 Sound Ave. Click to sip
Long Island Wineries: Always Rocking (But Still Chill)
Many Long Island wineries allow local musicians to provide the soundtrack to guests’ tastings through live music. Below, a few favorite spots to jam. To rock out at a local restaurant, click here.
Lieb Cellars, Cutchogue
Lieb Cellars’ signature dry, fruit-forward style has caught the tastebuds of the staff of Ralph Lauren’s Polo Bar in Manhattan. But the winery stays true to its laid-back North Fork roots and allows guests to savor live music, like that of blues guitarist Rob Europe and the Amanda Sprecher Jazz Duo, while they sip. Come fall, keep eyes peeled for the dry sparkling cider made using North Fork apples. The tasting notes include a little cinnamon, a little honey and a whole lot of fall. Phone: 631-734-1100 | Address: 13050 Oregon Rd. Click to sip
Palmer’s outdoor space includes Adirondack chairs and picnic tables right in front of the vines, patio seating and live tunes. Listen to hits of Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen covers as well as mellow jazz tunes while sipping Albariño wine. It’s winemaker Miguel Martin’s specialty and inspired by his Spanish heritage. Phone: 631-722-9463 | Address: 5120 Sound Ave. Click to sip
Pindar Vineyards, Peconic
Started by Dr. Herodotus “Dan” Damianos, Pindar is one of the “founding” vineyards on the North Fork. Its wines, now made by Edward Lovaas, are distributed around the country and the tasting room is regularly packed with tourists. But the ambiance is still laid-back, the decor still wooden and rustic and the sunflowers still brighten the dimly lit tasting room every summer and fall. During cooler months, the super-sized tasting room remains home to live music by local artists and come summer, it all moves out to the Pavillion, where guests can also find a bevy of food trucks like Noah’s on the Road. Phone: 631-734-6200 | Address: 37645 NY-25 Click to sip
Long Island Wineries for Good Bites
Some varietals (hello, light and fruity rosé) are fine to be enjoyed on their own. But pairing wine with the perfect plate can heighten the experience—and let’s face it, keep you in the game longer.
Paumanok Vineyards, Aquebogue
Paumanok’s food includes cheese, sopressata and, on weekends, oysters, all of which pair well with the wines. Spring for a bottle of the 30th Anniversary Special Edition, a complex red blend that even Wall Street Journal wine critic Jay McInerney praised, writing it, “bears comparison with Napa reds costing two to three times as much.” Phone: 631-722-8800 | Address: 1074 Main Rd. Aquebogue Click to sip
A Tuscan-style escape, Raphael boasts an elegant monestary-like tasting room with hanging chandeliers, lauded wines by Anthony Nappa and tapas to write home about. The pizzas pair perfectly with the 2014 Estate Merlot, which shows notes of blackberry, graphite and black olive and the food-friendly 2014 Chardonnay is an ideal match for any of the cheese plates. Phone: 631-765-1100 | Address: 39390 NY-25 Click to sip
Sparkling Pointe, Southold
Sparkling Pointe recently popped a cork and raised a flute to its co-winery of the Year win at the 2017 New York Food & Wine Classic. Guests have been toasting to its menu, which includes seasonal specials like lobster slides and staples like Tate’s Bake Shop cookies, truffles and cheese, for years. It’s all served in an elegant, white-walled tasting room, adorned by poppy art and a dazzling chandelier. Phone: 631-765-0200 | Address: 39750 County Rd. 48 Click to sip
Under-the-Radar Long Island Wineries
Martha Clara and Macari, Sound Ave. and Main Road—they’re on every Islander and tourists’ radars when they come to wine country. But a few off-the-beaten path wineries have managed to stay under-the-radar. Discover a gem.
Shinn Estate Vineyards & Farmhouse, Mattituck
People thought Barbara Shinn and David Page were crazy for opening a vineyard on Oregon Road. Though the couple sold the vineyard this spring, the polished, earthy 2014 Mojo Cabernet remains as a reminder they were onto something. The Tuthill-style home serves as the tasting room and is surrounded by lush gardens that welcome guests to a zen escape. The patio includes plush seating, high tops and an outdoor bar. The intimate tasting room is adorned by wooden placards like “tranquility” and “serene,” in case guests need a reminder of why they came to the North Fork. Phone: 631-804-0367 | Address: 2000 Oregon Rd. Click to sip
Suhru Wines, Peconic
The family-owned winery was established by Sue and Russell Hearn in 2008. Russell, who brought 30 years of winemaking with him from Australia, serves as the vintner. The 2016 Dry Reisling has notes of peach and apricot and a zingy mid-palate acidity. It complements seafood, Asian cuisine, spicy foods and barbecue. Phone: 631-603-8127 | Address: 2885 Peconic Lane Click to sip
T’Jara Vineyards, Peconic
Russell Hearn doubles as the winemaker at T’Jara, which he co-owns with partner Jed Beitler. The vineyard released its first wines in 2010 from the 2007 harvest, making it one of the newer kids on the trail. T’Jara specializes in red wines. The 2007 Merlot, barrel aged for 28 months, has aromas of black cherry, blueberry and bing cherry that follow seamlessly onto the palate. There’s also a 2007 Reserve, a red blend made with six varieties. It’s lush, flavorful and rich at the finish. Phone: 631-905-7550 | Address: 2885 Peconic Lane Click to sip