16 Best Long Island Wineries for the Perfect Weekend Getaway
In-the-know East Coasters head to Long Island wineries for some of the best vino in the country
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Long Island wineries for the win
New Yorkers pride themselves on a lot of things: being privy to hidden gems, having intel on trendy hot spots and gaining access to some of the world’s best food and drink. And all that is where Long Island wineries intersect.
Savvy residents of the Empire State know they don’t need to hop on a plane to get an amazing flight of made-on-site vino at one of the best wineries in the country. Instead, they just need to take a quick trip on a train or drive a few hours out of Manhattan to the North Fork of Long Island, home to miles upon miles of gorgeous vineyards producing some of the most amazing wines in the country.
Its maritime climate, glacial soils and long, warm summers make it uniquely suited for cultivating grapes. In fact, Long Island wineries are the largest producers of European grapes in the Northeast. It certainly doesn’t hurt that climate, topography, soil type and pH, and even line of latitude, come pretty close to that of the Bordeaux region of France. All that combines to create vineyards that rival wineries in the Finger Lakes, Oregon and Virginia—even the best wineries in Napa.
To make it worth the trip, many Long Island wineries—on the South Fork as well as the more famous North Fork—offer plenty of attractions to make a visit an experience. There are tasting rooms, cellars and winery facilities to meet nearly any literal or figurative taste. A wide array of grapes and blends offers diversity to the palate, and variations on ambiance, style and budget mean there’s a venue for every type of oenophile and occasion. Wine lover? The NoFo’s got you. Romantic getaway? Here’s your gateway. Girls trip? Absolutely. For any of those weekend getaways and more, these are some of our favorites.
Which part of Long Island has the most vineyards?
Pretty much all of Long Island is conducive to growing grapes for wine production, but the towns “out East,” roughly three hours—without traffic—from Manhattan and New York City, have the land and agricultural history for it. You’ll hear through the lovingly tended grapevines that the North Fork, formerly (and, in some places, currently) potato-farming acreage, is the best spot for vineyards to root down (wine pun intended).
While there are some vineyards mid-island and some rather redoubtable ones on the South Fork, it’s not the tony Hamptons that plays host to some of the world’s best viticulture. You’ll find the highest concentration of wineries around Riverhead, where the tail of the fish-shaped island splits. That area also boasts one of the largest acreages of pinot noir on the East Coast (at McCall Wines) and the biggest vineyard on Long Island (Pindar).
Today, there are more than 60 vineyards across Long Island, more than 38 tasting rooms at the height of peak season and upward of 1,200 total hectares of vines. Their close proximity to one another, plus adorable farms and elegant restaurants, makes North Fork wineries a wonderful themed weekend getaway or mini-vacation right on the Long Island Sound.
What type of wine is Long Island known for?
It may sound unlikely, but Long Island has more in common with Europe than California when it comes to wine. Remember, the sandy soil, moderate climate, maritime location, loam pH and latitude align closely with the conditions in the Bordeaux region of France, making it ideal for producing European-style wines. The East End made a reputation for itself with classic Bordeaux blends (known as meritage), as well as cabernet sauvignon and merlot.
But in the more than 50 years since Eastern Long Island established itself as a major player in the wine space, growers have done a lot of experimentation out on the North Fork, resulting in very interesting wines and domestic availability of rarer fruits. Today, the thousands of acres devoted to growing grapes include popular cabernet franc, pinot noir, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon and merlot, and the lesser-known albarino, teroldego, nebbiolo, blaufrankisch, zweigelt, gruner veltliner and more.
Not only that, but Long Island has also made a splash in bubbly and rosé. Long recognized as a seaside spot for the well-to-do, the Hamptons are something of a hidden gem when it comes to the latter. One of the most recognizable and early pioneers of the rosé craze is based right on the South Fork, in the heart of the Hamptons.
How we chose the best Long Island wineries
There are a lot of ways to interpret the term best, especially when it comes to experiential travel, such as sipping your way through the vineyards of Long Island. I’m a native Long Islander, born and raised only an hour from the heart of wine country, and most vineyards on this list are personal favorites. I have lovely memories of time spent listening to live music on a winery patio, petting a visiting dog with one hand and holding a glass of wine in the other, and closing a fall farm or apple-picking visit with a tipple at a tasting room.
The majority are objectively excellent experiences, praised on Tripadvisor by savvy travelers and lauded by sommeliers and wine experts. We’ve selected wineries that make their own wine, wineries with awards and accolades, tasting rooms with unique character and sustainability-focused pioneers. These wineries define Eastern Long Island and make it one of the best places to travel in 2023.
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Best for: Elegant, intimate tastings
Founded in 1980 by Susan and Kip Bedell (the latter earning the moniker “Mr. Merlot” from Wine Spectator), this facility has a tradition of sustainability-minded vineyard techniques that remains in place to this day, nearly a quarter-century since its sale to another wine-loving family. It’s thanks to winemaker Richard Olsen-Harbich of Bedell Cellars that the region is on the map—he wrote the North Fork of Long Island American Viticultural Area application that won the appellation in 1986.
Rest assured, though, that this winery is far from stuck in the ’80s. The contemporary tasting room is classy and intimate (perfect for a couples getaway), featuring a loft under vaulted ceilings, a cozy fireplace and enormous windows. Outside, there’s a mahogany pavilion and lush gardens. Don’t miss the contemporary art collection—use the Artist Series labels as your guide.
Best time of year to visit: Year-round
Tasting prices: $15 for a flight of three tastings; customize for $18 or add individual tastes for $6 each
Must try: Coquillage 2021, a hand-harvested 100% chardonnay that was fermented with wild yeast in stainless steel and aged on foraged local seashells for notes of the sea
Best for: Winemaking enthusiasts
One of the best gifts you can give a wine lover is a peek behind the scenes. Pellegrini Vineyards offers exactly that. The 14,000-square-foot complex includes a modern production facility that lets guests sneak peeks at the wine as it’s made. The fact that it’s the brainchild of a former New York City graphic designer shows in the dramatic and welcoming ambiance, which is far from sterile or commercial. Private tastings are best done from the second floor of the two-story tasting room, which features hand-hewn beams and oak posts and the best views of the grounds. Outside, trellised walkways lead to a courtyard with a classic Italian cloister design.
As for the wine quality? This was the first vineyard on Long Island to earn 90 points from Wine Spectator, so clearly form doesn’t override function at this winery.
Best time of year to visit: Year-round
Tasting prices: $16 per person for reserved groups, plus 18% cash-only tip for a four-wine tasting, or $30 per person for a five-wine flight for a more exclusive selection
Must try: Vintner’s Pride 2015 cabernet sauvignon, which was hand-harvested from a select block of vines
Best for: Expansive vineyard views
With more than 300 acres growing 52 grape varieties and turning them into 70,000 cases of wine per year, Pindar Vineyards in Peconic is Long Island’s largest, which makes it all the more impressive that it’s powered by wind turbines. (A bonus if you’re looking for sustainable travel ideas.) Equally impressive is that it began as a backyard project for the Damianos family before evolving into the flagship it is today. An expansive, wood-dominant tasting room with soaring ceilings and plenty of seating makes it good for groups, as does the policy of allowing guests to arrive with their own blanket and beach chairs in summer and fall.
Best time of year to visit: Year-round, with private tours by appointment in winter and live music and events in the summer
Tasting prices: $35 per person for a tour and tasting
Must try: Pythagoras, an affordable Bordeaux blend made to celebrate Pindar’s 15th anniversary of winemaking, and 2019 Mythology, a signature blend that has received national rave reviews
Best for: Old World white wines
The second generation of the German and Lebanese Massoud family continues to keep tongues wagging and awash in excellent whites. Paumanok Vineyard‘s grapes are dry-farmed, eschewing drip irrigation methods to produce smaller grapes with a high skin-to-pulp ratio. This, in turn, results in concentrated flavors that express terroir in the wine. (The wine term terroir refers to the combo of soil, sun and climate that give character to the grapes.)
Only 12,000 cases are produced each year, and you can sample them in a spacious tasting room built directly over the barrel cellar or on a deck overlooking the vineyards.
Best time of year to visit: Year-round
Tasting prices: $45 per person for groups of four to 10; includes four wines, cheese and charcuterie, served outdoors
Must try: Chenin blanc, which is unique to the region and among the best outside of the Loire Valley
Sparkling Pointe Vineyards & Winery
Best for: Classic sparkling wine
Committed to traditional méthode champenoise and dedicated to Champagne-area varieties, Sparkling Pointe is well known among local Long Islanders with literal Champagne taste. On its 40 acres in Southold, you’ll find pinot noir, pinot meunier and chardonnay grown under the oversight of award-winning winemaker Gilles Martin, a native of the very same region in France this winery focuses on. Its tasting house is modern and quietly luxurious, with crystal chandeliers and endless natural lighting—the only thing brighter than the colorful Brazilian art on the walls. A VIP Bubble Lounge and terrace by the lawn offer other areas where you can enjoy caviar service and local New York State cheeses with your sparkling wine.
Best time of year to visit: Year-round
Tasting prices: $20 for a Flagship Flight, and $30 for the Prestige Flight, both of which offer three tastings
Must try: Reserve Blanc de Blancs; the 2014 edition won a national champion trophy in a blind taste test at the 2019 Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships in London
Wölffer Estate Vineyard
Best for: Rosé all day
There was once a time when drinking pink wine like white zinfandel was shamefully sniffable. But in 2014, blush wine became representative of a lifestyle, as Vanity Fair put it. And it was thanks to this winery. Wölffer Estate had been making pink wine on its South Fork acreage in Sagaponack since 1996, but it wasn’t until the release of social media darling Summer in a Bottle and a subsequent shortage that rosé reached prominence.
Of course, it helps that it was made by the president of the Long Island Wine Council, Roman Roth, who also happens to be the first and only winemaker of the estate. A rustic-modern tasting room, open daily and until late, truly welcomes visitors to sip the day away. Forget Cancún—this is the adult spring break you deserve.
Best time of year to visit: Year-round
Tasting prices: Flights start at $15; the sommelier-led private Cellar Experience with cheese, charcuterie and Grand Tasting flight is $150 per person
Must try: Insta-famous Summer in a Bottle Long Island Rose and Christian’s Cuvée Merlot, the winery’s top-scoring Robert Parker Wine Advocate wine
Duck Walk Vineyards
Best for: Something sweet
Another Damianos family winery, Duck Walk Vineyards has a location on each fork of Long Island, but the Water Mill property in Southampton is its flagship. Both feature live music every weekend from May to October, and both allow you to bring your own snacks (helping you travel on the cheap) and leashed pets. But only the South Fork winery offers lunch prepared by a local celebrity chef as a stop on the Hamptons Pour and Pedal bike tour. And how’s this for ambiance: Tastings take place in a château among the vines.
Best time of year to visit: Year-round; Saturdays and Sundays from May to October offer live music; closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays in winter
Tasting prices: $15 per person for a sampling of four of Duck Walk’s award winners, including reserves and dessert wines
Must try: The super-sweet dessert wine Aphrodite, made from late-harvest gewürztraminer; the Vidal Ice Wine, made from grapes frozen on the vine; and the proprietary Blueberry Port
Channing Daughters Winery
Best for: Art and exclusiveness
Over two dozen varieties of grapes are grown on Channing Daughters‘s 28 acres, many of which are exclusive to this property, part of the South Fork trifecta of must-visit vineyards. This Bridgehampton winery bolsters its stock with less-rare grapes sourced from neighbors on the North Fork, giving its wines a deep sense of place—it uses grapes from all three Long Island American Viticultural Areas.
The winemaker here, Christopher Tracy, was a chef and sommelier before taking on this role, which is why there’s so much diversity in the winery’s production, blends and tasting flight themes. We could perhaps trace the sense of creativity back to the vineyard’s founder, who was passionate about the arts. You can find Walter Channing’s sculptures in the tasting room and the vineyards, his art turning the winery into even more of a tourist attraction.
Best time of year to visit: Year-round (heated, covered patios make outdoor tastings possible in every season)
Tasting prices: $28 for a flight of five
Must try: Anything from the Heart Artists Series, which features special, limited-run labels created by local artists and suitable for collection
Best for: Professionally guided tastings
Named one of Reader’s Digest‘s best wineries in the United States, this 500-acre vineyard in Mattituck may be one of the more recently established North Fork wineries, open only since 1995. But that also makes it among the most polished experiences you’ll find. All tastings are led by a Macari Wine Educator and run by appointment only. You choose the venue: a spacious covered deck, a barrel cellar or heated vine-side glamping tents. All include cheese and charcuterie, and the latter two up the ante with a locally made baguette and mezze dishes, respectively. Make this day trip a little more special by adding a specialty cake and/or customizing a table menu for the Bergen Road Bungalows.
Don’t hesitate to stray afield! You might find yourself among Texas longhorns and other animals that contribute to the vineyard’s composting program.
Best time of year to visit: Year-round
Tasting prices: $40 per person for one-and-a-half hours in the Estate Room during winter; $75 per person for the Macari Barrel Cellar Experience; and $125 per person for Bergen Road Bungalow tents for parties of four to eight people
Must try: Fan favorites include Chardonnay Estate, Rosé and Dos Aguas, a red blend named for the two waters—the Great Peconic Bay and the Long Island Sound—that the North Fork divides.
Rose Hill Vineyards
Best for: Overnight stays
Bring an overnight bag when you visit this small, intimate and peaceful winery. With four bedrooms and a complete breakfast in the historic farmhouse, it’s the quaint country bed-and-breakfast of your dreams, especially since there are more than 40 other North Fork wineries within 10 miles of this Mattituck gem. (Is this ringing a bell? You may be thinking of Shinn Estate Vineyard, which recently changed its name to Rose Hill Vineyards.)
All stays come with a complimentary tasting of the sustainably grown wine. It’s produced on 22 acres using alternative power, biodynamic farming and wild yeast. If you choose to make it a stopover and plan to sip on the patio or in the vineyard, go ahead and bring your dogs; provided they’re well-behaved, they’re welcome in outdoor (but not indoor) areas.
Best time of year to visit: Year-round, but tastings and light bites are offered only on a first-come, first-served basis from Thursday to Monday
Tasting prices: $28 for a five-varietal seasonal flight, $30 for red and $44 for a Disset Chocolate pairing
Must try: Sample the seasonal blends and include the Non-Vintage Red Blend, which the New York Times chose as one of its top 20 wines under $20
Bridge Lane Wine
Best for: Casual wine drinkers
Wine doesn’t have to be snobby or stuffy … or so Bridge Lane Wine believes. It’s the first brand to offer canned wines from New York and wine in a keg. The label is an offshoot of the esteemed Lieb Cellars collection of vineyards, and at this location, you can try a limited selection from what’s become the most widely distributed Long Island wine brand. This is the place to go for sustainable wine: All its estate-grown fruit is certified sustainable by the nonprofit Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing.
Best of all? The tastings run later than others, with the last call ringing in at 6:30 p.m., even outside of peak season, which runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Here, you can sample modern, casual wines in a tasting room you’d describe the same way or at a rainbow-colored picnic table on the lawn. Visit between April and November for games of shuffleboard and cornhole. The casual vibe doesn’t end there. You’re even welcome to BYO snacks.
Best time of year to visit: Year-round, but it’s closed Monday through Wednesday during the off-season
Tasting prices: $18 for a five-wine tasting (plus an automatic 20% gratuity), as well as Lieb Cellars Estate wines by the glass and bottle
Must try: Go with Bubbles slim cans for casual celebratory sipping, but see if you can get a glass of the Lieb Cellars Live Cellars Reserve Pinot Blanc, which is made from mature vines, or the Meritage Red, a complex Bordeaux blend aged in Hungarian oak barrels.
Best for: A unique tasting “room”
Highbrow meets lowbrow at this extremely experiential winery and sustainable vineyard, which uses wind turbines for energy and supplies the Long Island Power Association with clean power as well. McCall Wines boasts the largest acreage of pinot noir on the East Coast and specializes in Bordeaux and Burgundian grape varieties, all of which sound very fancy. That is, until you realize that it’s also a cattle ranch and that the best tasting rooms are actually private and located in the former horse stable.
This novel experience is limited to six guests and 90 minutes, so reservations are preferred. There are six stalls indoors and 10 outdoors, but both types are covered, so you can sip in rain or shine.
Best time of year to visit: Spring through summer; it’s closed in winter, and the tasting room reopening date varies each year
Tasting prices: Starts at $20 per person for three-wine flights; $75 per person for a Vineyard Tour and Reserve Tasting, during which you can also see the cows raised for organic, grass-fed beef
Must try: Hillside Courchaug Estate Pinot Noir, which is hand-harvested from a special corner of the estate
Best for: Larger groups
Many of the Long Island wineries on the North Fork don’t allow limousines, large groups or dogs. The good news is that this one does, provided you make a proper appointment for parties up to 14 and leash your four-legged friend. The better news is that Lenz Winery is also one of the most esteemed, all-estate-produced wineries on the North Fork, home to some of the oldest Merlot grapes in the United States and led by Eric Fry since its inception in 1978 until his recent retirement.
Looking for more local color? Get this: The land was formerly cultivated as a potato farm. The farmhouse was once the private home of the founders and their successors, the Carrolls. And the tasting room is the original potato barn, which has won architectural awards for the adaptive use of the facility. From there, you’ll be able to see the barrel room, tank room and case storage, all under exposed beams underlined by an expansively long bar.
Best time of year to visit: Year-round, with outdoor heaters and blankets supplied in the winter and live music in the summer
Tasting prices: $30 per person for a five-wine seasonal tasting; $35 per person for a Grand Flight tasting; and $40 per person for a Chocolate Pairing
Must try: Old Vines Merlot for obvious reasons
Castello di Borghese Vineyard
Best for: Local history enthusiasts
Those who like to travel with a sense of place will definitely want to make a stop at this antique potato barn in Cutchogue. Castello di Borghese was the first vineyard in the Long Island winery movement, founded in 1973 by Alex and Louisa Hargrave, whose heritage (beyond their Philadelphia roots) dates back to medieval Italy’s nobility … hence the Old World name and emphasis.
Here, every step is still done by hand, from pruning to picking to corking to labeling. The old-fashioned production of this family owned and operated winery makes for lower residual sugar and sulfite levels, and it lends itself to traditional aging methods. Bonus: The vineyard hits its 50-year anniversary this year, making it an extra-special time to go.
Best time of year to visit: Year-round
Tasting prices: Starts at $15 per person for a flight of five and $30 per person for guided tours, when in season
Must try: Reserve-level red wines, but particularly the cabernet franc, which has the most pronounced terroir
Best for: Transportive Italian estate opulence
Whether you consider Raphael Winery akin to a Long Island Gatsby mansion or genuinely reminiscent of the Italian monasteries of the founder’s ancestral home is up to you. But there’s no question that this giant Mediterranean-style property, terra-cotta roofs and all, stands out from the potato farms of Eastern Long Island.
Opulent design isn’t the only nod to the home country that this ornate, dramatic estate provides: The winery is built 12 feet underground to allow for the use of sustainable gravity flow for winemaking—and to make the cavernous ballroom-style tasting room more energy efficient.
Best time of year to visit: Year-round from Thursday to Monday; live music continues throughout the winter months
Tasting prices: $25 for flights of up to four wines and $35 for Premium, First Label and Dessert Wine flights
Must try: Any of the reserves for a taste of the Old World the winery tries so hard to channel
The Old Field Vineyards
Best for: Waterfront sips
Many Long Island wineries have vineyards that sprawl across expansive grounds, which means many tasting rooms are land-locked. Not so with this small-scale, historic venue that dates back to 1660. At The Old Field Vineyards, tall, old-growth trees give way to Peconic Bay views, a charming vista from which to sample wines from an estate that puts out only 800 cases a year for direct-to-consumer sales. Why so few? This diamond in the rough maintains sustainable, labor-intensive practices, such as harvesting, pruning, leaf pulling and labeling by hand, with no aid of tractors; fertilizing with waste from the on-premise chickens; using wild yeast; and implementing organic sprays only when natural pest control—such as bats, barn swallows, dragonflies, frogs and ladybugs—fall short.
The tasting room is naturally small, rustic, rough and authentically farmlike. But the newly renovated Historic Round House offers a spot steeped in history (the building is circa 1860) for tastings by parties of up to 10 people.
Best time of year to visit: Year-round, but summer is best for tastings by the bay; winter tastings are Saturdays and Sundays only
Tasting prices: $15 for a flight of five reds, $17 for a chilled flight of four and $22 for a mixed flight. Old Field Vineyards–led outdoor tastings start at $30 per person for flights of five, and every guest, up to a party of six, is required to buy one bottle each. Tastings in the Historic Round House are $200 for three hours (with waived corkage fees) and a minimum purchase of four bottles, and outside food is permitted.
Must try: Sparkling brut made with pinot noir and chardonnay grapes, handcrafted with bottle-fermented techniques and notable for its tiny bubbles