I’m originally from Long Island and have meant to do a blog post on the Long Island wineries and North Fork Wine Trail for a while now.
Luckily, my best friend Amanda’s recent bachelorette party provided the perfect opportunity.
Even before I was 21, the Long Island wineries were regular excursion for me, as along with 50+ wineries (most on the North Fork Wine Trail, a few elsewhere) there are pie shops (don’t miss Briermere Farms!), fruit stands, antique stores and acres of crop fields, tractors, and whimsical farmland.
The scenery is gorgeous, to say the least, and if you’re staying in NYC it’s a great way to enjoy a slower-paced piece of New York.
Ready to take a day trip to Long Island wine country?
Keep reading for a detailed itinerary.
Psst, don’t forget to pin this post for later!
Long Island Wineries Travel Video
Before reading the post, check out the video above.
You’ll get a nice overview of what exactly makes Long Island wine country so special.
Long Island Wine Country Grape Varietals
Since Long Island’s modern wine culture began in the 1970s, varietals like chardonnay, cabernet franc and merlot have grown plentiful thanks to the region’s maritime climate, glacial soils, and moderate rainfall during growing seasons.
That being said, several winemakers are getting experimental with other varietals, as well.
For instance, Channing Daughters Winery offers a uniquely extensive grape portfolio that includes:
- White grapes: Chardonnay, pinot grigio, tocai friulano, sauvignon blanc, muscat ottonel, malvasia, gewurztraminer, ribolla gialla, and pinot bianco.
- Red grapes: Merlot, blaufränkisch, dornfelder, syrah, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, teroldego, refosco, and lagrein.
They are the only Long Island winery using many of these grapes, though this is just one example of innovation in the North Fork Wine Region.
Best Time To Visit The Long Island Wineries
While many wineries, particularly the large ones like Pindar, are open year-round, for the full experience you’ll want to go when the weather is warm and there are outdoor events going on.
Late spring through November is a good timeframe, though if there is a certain event you want to attend it’s best to plan around the winery calendars.
You can pair your trip to wine country with exploring some of the best hiking trails on Long Island, NY.
Winery Bachelorette Party On Long Island: Getting Around
Because it was a bachelorette party we did it in a more luxurious fashion than I typically would.
We rented a limo from LIVinoTours.com for $1,127 for eight people including lunch, transportation with door-to-door pickup/dropoff, four tastings at each of three Long Island wineries, and tax and tip.
It was absolutely fantastic if you’re okay splurging — although if you have six-to-eight people it’s not too bad — especially since you can drink in the limo.
Pat, our driver, even strayed from the original plan when we decided we wanted to stop at four instead of three wineries.
Not all wineries allow limos, so check this before planning your itinerary. You can also ask your limo driver to drop you out front and not park on the property.
More Ways To Explore The Wine Trail On Long Island
For an additional private winery tour option that includes a lot, click here.
Moreover, if you’re on a budget you can drive yourself, though this is not recommended unless you somehow have a friend who truly just likes to see wineries and not imbibe (you want to be able to drink, after all).
My top suggestion:
Book a public tour, like a 10-hour Long Island Wine Tour from Manhattan, which is less expensive than a private tour and also includes lunch, tastings at three wineries and transport to/from Manhattan.
Making Appointments In LI Wine Country
You typically do not need an appointment to visit the Long Island wineries unless you are in a limo.
If you do reserve a limo they will likely organize your reservations for you.
Day Trip To The Long Island Wineries: Getting There
To visit the Long Island wineries from Manhattan you can take the Long Island Railroad (LIRR).
Grab the LIRR to the wineries from Penn Station to Ronkonkoma and then transfer for the train to Mattituck.
Just be sure to check the schedule, as the train to Mattituck only runs a few times per day.
You can also take the Hampton Jitney on the North Fork Line, with the best stops to get off being Mattituck, Cutchogue, and Peconic.
The wineries are close together, so you can technically walk from one to the other, although better options would be to take a taxi, bike or car.
Your best bet, however, is booking a tour as it will allow you to have a designated driver.
A few excursion options include:
- Long Island Wine Tour From Manhattan
- Mattituck Bike Wine Country and Fruit Orchard Tour
- Private Winery Tour From Long Island
Long Island Vineyard Dress Code
If you’re the type of person who loves wearing floral maxi dresses and giant floppy hats like this one the Long Island wineries offer a great opportunity for that, though I stuck to my normal high-waisted jeans and crop top look.
Gotta keep that Brooklyn street style even when in the countryside, right?
I’ve gone with friends before who have worn plain jeans and tees, too.
There’s no strict dress code, but the atmosphere definitely calls for some fun, whimsical outdoor dress, bright colors and big shades if you’re that type of person.
Long Island Wine Country Passport + Tasting Fees
Our limo price included tastings, but if you’re doing a pay-per-tasting itinerary expect to pay around $10-$20 per five-tasting flight depending on where you go.
It’s also easy to find bottles for $25 or less though, again, some wineries are pricier than others.
Sign up for the free Long Island Wine Country Passport, which gets you a complimentary tasting when you buy any in-house tasting.
To learn more about the passport call 631-722-2220 or email [email protected]
Make sure to verify the dates the passport is good for, as well.
While many wineries offer food, I like to bring my own homemade picnic basket to ward off drunkenness and save money.
Cheese, meats, fresh fruit, crudite, chips, and crackers are all great suggestions, as is something more substantial like a sandwich.
You can typically bring a cooler into the vines with you, or an uber-cute picnic basket like this one.
Long Island Wineries That Allow Outside Food
Speaking of outside food, here is a quick list of some Long Island wineries that allow outside food:
- Osprey’s Dominion
- Pellegrini Vineyards
- Sherwood House Vineyards
- Jason’s Vineyard
- Pugliese Vineyards
- The Old Field Vineyards
- One Woman Winery
- Bridge Lane
- McCall Wines (Mondays-Thursdays only)
- Laurel Lakes Vineyards (Mondays-Fridays only)
Wineries often change their rules, so I suggest calling to confirm that you can bring outside food once you choose the winery you want to visit.
Long Island Wine Country Events
In spring, summer and fall there are often events going on at different wineries, like live music and food pairings.
Check the Long Island Wines website to see what’s going on when you’re in town.
Wineries Near NYC By Train
If you’re looking for wineries that are walkable right from the train, I suggest choosing a few in Mattituck, which you can reach via Long Island Railroad (LIRR).
Here are a few options:
- Macari Vineyards
- Shinn Estate Vineyards and Farmhouse
- Scarola Vineyards
- Bridge Lane Tasting Room
And there you go; a perfect Long Island wine train trip from NYC planned for you right there.
A North Fork Bachelorette Party: Top Winery Picks
Now for the important part:
Where to go!
Every winery has its own offerings and vibe, so it’s definitely not monotonous.
For a diverse itinerary that includes party vineyards on Long Island as well as more chill options, I recommend:
1. Lenz Winery
This spot does something unique that’s not common on Long Island, a gewürztraminer (typically a spicy German grape) done in a drier French style.
There are picnic tables and (sometimes) food trucks outside and opportunities for beautiful photos in the vines.
There’s also a tunnel outside where you can take fun silhouette shots with backlighting.
See below for my Fosse-inspired photo!
2. Harbes Farm
Harbes Farm has many attractions on site: pumpkin picking, hayrides, pony rides, apple picking, a farm market, a homey bakery, corn mazes, gem mining and, of course, wine tasting.
This is a fun spot for families, though I’ve gone here with friends and dates and love doing the tastings inside a rustic barn.
If you’re looking for the best Long Island wineries for a bachelorette party, this one should definitely be on your list.
This is where I go to pretend I’m the type of person who likes to bathe in money.
Well, sort of.
Their prices are actually reasonable — prices start at about $29 per bottle — though the experience of sipping bubbly on leather couches literally within the vines feels luxurious.
This tiny quiet winery is where Amanda got engaged.
The owner/wife is a beekeeper and the owner/husband is the winemaker (he also makes wine nearby at Osprey’s Dominion), so you can purchase all-natural beeswax products and learn about the mason bee.
When you do a tasting you’ll get a cork to write something on — or put your “vibe” on — as they say.
The cork gets put onto the 18 foot long, 7-foot tall Winosaurous cork dinosaur outside.
Amanda’s fiancé Mike actually proposed to her by writing “Will you marry me?” on a cork from a bottle of wine they’d sipped on a prior visit.
My friends and I shared a $19.99 bottle of stainless steel fermented sauvignon blanc that was budget-friendly and delicious with notes of honeydew and lemon zest.
This is one of the pricier vineyards — their flights are 5 wine tastings for $20; however, I love their reds and feel they produce a higher quality than some of the other producers.
There’s also more of a polished, modern feel than some of the other more rustic wineries. I usually don’t like merlot, but theirs is heavenly with notes of blueberries, spice, and earth.
Bedell’s 2009 merlot was served at the Presidential Inauguration!
This is a great stop for those who love being active when they drink with lawn games like corn hole, volleyball, bocce, and can jam abounding.
There’s a definite “American Pride” theme with lots of American flags, a wooden stage with live local music and an American flag backdrop, picnic tables, and a Chill & Grill zone where you can grill your own meats and veggies.
Make sure you try their unique and slightly spicy carménère with tastings ranging from $8 for 3 wines to a 5-tasting Reserve Flight for $15.
This stop gets pretty packed on weekends (see video below), but it’s really fun with live music and artisan vendors selling their wares.
There’s a very social atmosphere, and their merlot rose is stellar, especially at only $23.99 per bottle.
Basic tastings range from $4 for one to $16 for six.
One of my favorite NYC day trips: heading out East to Long Island Wine Country! There are over 50 wine producers on Long Island, and if you drive down Sound Avenue you'll see a different vineyard/winery option every few feet. Each winery has its own unique personality, too. Here's a glimpse of Baiting Hollow Winery, one of the more popular options.
Posted by Jessie on a Journey on Sunday, April 24, 2016
These guys were the first on Long Island to hold a farming distilling license, and you’ll be able to taste wines AND spirits made using biodynamic methods.
They also have an Inn if you’d like to stay overnight.
They do a really nice cabernet franc, a grape Long Island is known for, with red cherry and spice essences.
Their small-batch grappa is also a must!
Where To Stay In Long Island Wine Country
Staying the night in Long Island Wine Country?
These local accommodations will enhance your trip:
Mattituck, New York
Take your winery visit to the next level by staying overnight at one.
The family-owned Shinn Estate is known for its biodynamic wines, and you’ll be in pure countryside heaven when staying in their whimsical yet modern farmhouse.
Sit in the wine library or perhaps on the outdoor patio adorned with barrel tables overlooking the vines while sipping a glass of vino — complimentary during their wine and cheese happy hour.
Don’t leave without saying hello to the chickens and tasting their eggs during a complimentary breakfast.
Cutchogue, New York
This cozy adults-only property was originally built in 1921, though has been renovated to include modern touches.
Three unique guestrooms featuring cheerful decor offer the perfect starting point for exploring the local wine culture.
In fact, the hotel is within two miles of seven Long Island wineries — including one that can be accessed through the backyard of the property.
Savor a complimentary made-from-scratch breakfast, sit in the Adirondack chairs or on the porch sipping wine, and get a sumptuous onsite spa treatment.
Aquebogue, New York
How about a vineyard vacation that is also set on the water?
Stay in one of the 18 individually-decorated rooms — each outfitted with private yards, balconies or patios, and rain showers — for a getaway right on the Peconic Bay.
After touring the nearby North Fork wineries, go for a swim, play some bocce ball, or opt for a relaxing in-room massage.
In terms of nearby wineries, Jamesport Vineyard, Paumanok Vineyard, and Sherwood House Vineyards are all within three miles of the hotel.
Recommended NYC Hotels
If you’re staying in NYC and doing Long Island Wine Country as a day trip, a few budget-friendly hostels and hotels I recommend include:
- Row NYC Hotel (Times Square)
- Broadway Hotel & Hostel (Upper West Side)
- Hostelling International (Upper West Side)
- The Peninsula New York (Midtown West)
- Aloft Harlem (Harlem)
- Park Central Hotel New York (Theater District/Midtown)
While you hope everything runs smoothly, sometimes travel just doesn’t go according to plan.
This is why I recommend always purchasing travel insurance. The scary truth is it only takes one bad accident to lose everything — or be thankful you were covered.
Personally, I use SafetyWing, as they’ve got a large network, offer both short-term and long-term coverage (including limited coverage in your home country), are budget-friendly, and offer $250,000 worth of coverage with just one low overall deductible of $250.
Have you visited the Long Island wineries? Please share your experience in the comments below!
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