There are over 40 licensed wineries currently operating on Long Island, and, with a space of just 3000 acres for cultivation, the focus here is most definitely on quality rather than quantity. North Fork, a 30 mile long windswept peninsula between Long Island Sound and South Fork, is home to some of the area’s finest wineries and vineyards, making this the place to go if you want to sample the very best wines that are produced on Long Island.
The Lenz Winery
With a vineyard that stretches for just 70 acres, the Lenz Winery is relatively small, but this is one of North Fork’s original wineries, having been founded in 1978. All of the wines produced by the Lenz Winery are estate bottled, meaning that they have been created only from the grapes grown on-site at the vineyard, and to extremely high standards too. The Merlot is the speciality here, and the winery’s gorgeous patio decks are the perfect place from which to enjoy a glass of this.
Mattebella Vineyards is a small family farm with a single vineyard, with a strong focus on sustainable and organic farming. This approach results in grapes that are extremely rich and pure, and the wines produce here, while there may not be a huge variety of them, are a beautiful reflection of this.
One of the most lavish wineries that you will find in North Fork, Bedell Cellars almost feels like a winery that you would find in Napa, with an air of grand luxury to it. However, considering that their selection of wines are regularly voted as some of the best in New York, and were even served at Obama’s inauguration, it is no surprise that they are quite an exclusive winery, and if you were hoping to enjoy a tasting in their early 20th century farmhouse tasting room, it would be best to book in advance. However, for those that walk in on the day, a glass of one of their artistically blended wines can still be enjoyed on the outdoor pavilion.
Clovis Point Vineyard and Winery
With just a humble eight acres of vineyard, Clovis Point places a focus on craft, small batch, artisan wines, and have been making a name for themselves recently for the Cabernet Franc that they produce. Traditional North Fork winemakers assert that the Merlot is the red grape that grows best in the region, but the Cabernet Franc is definitely up-and-coming, and the best version of this is to be had at Clovis Point, along with a delicious cheese plate and pastoral views of their vineyard and cornfields.
While Long Island may not be a world-famous wine region, the wines produced here are definitely complex enough to stand strong against the bigger, international names. The majority of the wineries to be found in North Fork are relatively small, but this only means that the emphasis is firmly placed on quality, and this is something that you will no doubt appreciate as you tour through the area.