Driving out to the wineries on leisurely weekends is a cherished routine for legions of Long Islanders. Many set out to sip a specific favorite varietal (Duck Walk Blueberry Port? Pindar Winter White?). But others look forward to eating at a go-to winery. Some wineries are quickly gaining reputations as places for a scrumptious bite to eat as well as fine vino. And since fewer vineyards are letting visitors bring in picnics, the option to nosh on premises could be what makes a good Sunday afternoon outing great. Wine tasting the day away on an empty stomach is not the best idea after all. In that spirit, check out four wineries that are fabulous for foodies.
Shinn Estate Vineyards, Mattituck
This certified sustainable winery right in the heart of North Fork wine country recently released a new blend, Rose Hill Rosé, with notes of strawberries, rose blossom and tropical fruits. And for hungry guests in the tasting room, it offers charcuterie platters with an assortment of prosciutto, salami and local cheeses including manchego, brie, gouda and cheddar with whole grain mustard and crackers. There is also an authentic marinated olive medley and North Fork potato chips (which happen to be produced on the farm right next door).
Part of Shinn Estate Vineyards is the Farmhouse Inn B&B, where the good times (and good eats) continue. Farmhouse guests are treated to local cheeses and meats paired with their non-vintage red blend and 2017 Coalescence (white table wine) during the daily happy hour and homemade cookies left at their bedsides. A full country breakfast awaits guests in the morning including housemade scones and granola, made-to-order waffles (which always get high marks), local breads, fresh fruit and buttery quiches. Phone: 631-804-0367 | Address: 2000 Oregon Rd Click to go
Harmony Vineyards, Saint James
Those coming from the west will hit this winery before any others, a boon for those who would like to save a little travel time. Located just west of Stony Brook, its restored waterfront tasting room dates all the way back to 1690. It’s known for Bordeaux-style red blends, Chablis-style chardonnays, along with gourmet plates and year-round farm-to-table Sunday brunches.
Some of the components of the famous brunches vary from week to week. But a few of the standards are an organic egg/omelette station and carving board with beef or turkey, pancake towers with homemade preserves and Nutella, kale salad with cranberries, feta and toasted walnuts and gluten-free black bean brownies. Reservations are required for both the 10:30am and 12:15pm seatings.
Those visiting at other times (perhaps Saturday or Sunday from 2pm to 5pm for the live music, or Friday nights in the summer when a movie is shown outside) can pick from a few other treats. Think a grilled chicken Caprese wrap with fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers and pesto; a vegetarian creation called the farmer’s delight made with grilled organic zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant and red onions tossed in a balsamic dressing with roasted red peppers; and white bean hummus on a whole wheat wrap. Phone: 631-291-9900 | Address: 169 Harbor Rd Click to go
Sparkling Pointe, Southold
A producer and purveyor of award-winning sparklers, the aptly-named Sparkling Point was dubbed the 2017 Winery of the Year in the New York Wine & Food Classic. The owners have devoted the entire property and their efforts to sparkling wines produced in the traditional méthode champenoise with only the classic champagne grape varietals—pinot noir, pinot meunier and chardonnay. Each lovely cuvée is paired with a food, whether New York State artisanal cheese, local oysters, Vosges Haut-Chocolat, local European-style bakery items, charcuterie or seasonal savories. Each tasting experience (which has to be booked ahead of time) is led by a wine educator. Phone: 631-765-0200 | Address: 39750 County Road 48 Click to go
Diliberto Winery, Jamesport
This distinctive winery on the North Fork is built to invoke a small piazza in Italy. In a departure from the typical wine tasting experience, there is no bar to stand at. Instead, visitors are seated at a table either on the outdoor patio or in the tasting room made to resemble an outdoor café with murals of a Tuscan mountain town.
Also worth noting: it’s the only winery on the North Fork that won’t admit anyone younger than 21, including infants. And that might be for the best since the pizza it’s known for is definitely of the grown-up variety. Pizza Salvatore is made to order with a thin, crispy crust, laden with fresh sliced tomatoes, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and fresh basil and oregano. The 2014 Cantina, a blend of a spicy cabernet franc and a fruity merlot, pairs perfectly with the pie.
Another popular offering is the Italian plate, full of cheeses, Italian meats, dried fruit, nuts, taralli (an olive oil-laced Italian snack, similar in texture to a pretzel) and Alfonso and Greek Queen olives.
Those who can’t bear to go home after such a satisfying day can stay over in the luxury apartment Diliberto’s rents out, complete with a kitchenette, large open living room and cathedral ceiling. Phone: 631-722-3416 | Address: 250 Manor Ln Click to go