New York State is rated fourth best in U.S. wine production with California, Washington and Oregon as the top three. Whatever the official ranking, New York wines are some of the finest you’ll find in any region of the country. The state’s 200-plus wine growers are divided into two main growing regions: Finger Lakes and Long Island. The Finger Lakes area in upstate New York is the largest wine growing region, while the North Fork region of long Island is home to about 50 of the state’s wine producers. The South Fork also has a few wineries.
Out of the two regions, Long Island wine tours attracts the most attention due to it being only 2.5 miles from New York City. Many people are surprised to learn that there are 3,000 acres of lush, green farmland that plays host to 60 vineyards on Long Island. Louisa and Alex Hargrave, who established Hargrave Vineyard on the site of an old potato farm, introduced grape growing to this area in 1973. The Hargraves winemaking became such a huge success that they influenced others to follow suit. Now, the North Fork region has become a much sought-out tourist destination for wine buffs, as well as, serious wine connoisseurs. By the way, the original Hargrave Vineyard was sold to new owners in 1999 and has been renamed Castello di Borghese.
Although still relatively young, the wine making establishment on Long Island is home to some top-rate wineries including: Bedell, Channing Daughters, Corey Creek, Jamesport Vineyards, Lenz, Lieb, Macari, Martha Clara, Osprey’s Dominion, Palmer, Paumanok, Peconic Bay Winery, Pellegrini, Pindar, Raphael, Roanoke, Shinn and Wolffer. While there are a lot of wonderful wineries that grow grapes here, a majority of them are too small to play host to large groups of tourists. Therefore, the most popular wine tours will only take you to see a couple of large estates and a few smaller ones that have open facilities for tourists.
However, don’t think that this limited selection will make your tour dull – in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Long Island wine tour operators go out of their way to make sure you and your group have a great time. During your tour, you’ll be able to taste a selection of red and white wines, go behind the scenes of winemaking, get up close and personal with wine makers and even ask them questions, enjoy a wonderful buffet lunch, see the sites and sounds of wine country and there may even be some great live music. If you want to extend your stay, there are several cozy bed and breakfast inns that can pamper you with fine lodging and great food.
Reasons to Go On a Long Island Wine Tour
While you don’t particularly need any special reason to visit Long Island wineries, here are a few suggestions you might find helpful:
Escape the City – Getting tired of the concrete jungle? Get away for a day by going out to the countryside and breathing in some fresh air while enjoying some wine tasting. Discover that “other” part of New York that you’ve only heard rumors about.
Birthday Celebration – A wine tour is the perfect birthday celebration idea that is unique and involves an array of family and friends. Most wine tours are family friendly and can also accommodate children in private groups. In addition to tasting wine, you can stop off and go site seeing in one of the picturesque towns.
Bachelorette Party – A fun way to celebrate a bride-to-be’s last bash is by going on a private wine tasting tour. A bachelorette tour includes good friends, lots of great tasting wine and food, plus lots of laughs and fun memories.