Looking for an unforgettable wine tasting experience? Hop aboard the North or South Ferry and start a wine tasting Long Island afternoon. From tours and tastings to food pairings and the best barrel rooms, Long Island offers the best wines in the world. They’re also a quick ride from Seven on Shelter Island. Here’s everything you need to know.
A wine tasting experience is the perfect way to spend a day on Long Island’s East End. The vineyards on the North Fork create some of the most beautiful wines available anywhere. These wineries love opening their doors for tours and tastings, guided tours and wine club memberships. Many consider the North Fork the Napa Valley of the East Coast. Plus, it’s a can’t miss activity that’ll get you outdoors. It’s a great excuse to drink wine during the day. What’s not to love about that?
If you think a wine tasting experience is the perfect activity to add to your Shelter Island agenda, look no further. Read on as we round up the best wine tasting Long Island so you can get planning. Just remember to arrange your designated driver in advance or rent a driver or bus for larger groups.
With its sandy soil and moderate climate, Long Island is best known for its incredible red wines, like classic Bordeaux blends (called “Meritage” wines in the U.S.), Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The ability to grow these grapes is heavily influenced by the beach topography of the Long Island Sound, Peconic Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean.
The North Fork of Long Island contains the most vineyards. Sandwiched between the Long Island Sound to the north and the Peconic Bay to the south, this wine tasting Long Island region is home to the majority of wineries on the East End. It covers 158 square miles, which includes the peninsula from Riverhead to Orient Point, Robins and Shelter Islands.
What to know about wineries and vineyards on Long Island
- The North Fork of Long Island is home to 37 wineries and 3,000 acres of planted vineyards. This region is the best wine tasting Long Island.
- The largest winery on Long Island is Pindar Vineyards, which spans more than 500 scenic acres. This vineyard grows 17 varieties of grapes, molding them into over 23 varietals and proprietary blends. Pindar produces 70,000 cases of wine a year.
- Cutchogue’s Hargrave Vineyard was Long Island’s first official vineyard. Its success led to a proliferation of vineyards. It was also responsible for preserving the farmland and the bucolic nature of the North Fork. The family later sold the winery in 1999 to the Borghese Family.
The price of a wine tasting Long Island tour can vary greatly. It depends on your choice of transportation, wineries, and special experiences, tours and tastings. Food pairings or private events also factor in. In general, you can expect each tasting to cost anywhere from $15 per person all the way to $95 per person. A tour company might arrange your transportation and access to about six or seven wineries throughout your day. If you choose to drive and arrange the tastings yourself, the price will be more accessible.
The best wine tasting Long Island wineries welcome drop-in tastings and don’t require a reservation, however this very much depends upon the purpose and size of your party. Are you looking for a special experience like a private tour? Are you coming in with a large party? If you are doing a wine tasting Long Island tour to coincide with a special event, start your planning process at least one year in advance.
Wine Tour FAQs
What is the difference between a winery and a vineyard?
A vineyard is the land where grapevines are planted, whereas wineries refer to the place where the grapes are turned into wine. Often, you’ll find a winery at a vineyard, so if you’re visiting, you’ll be able to enjoy both aspects of the wine making process.
What’s so special about Long Island wineries?
New York is the third largest wine growing region in the United States. Dubbed the “Napa Valley” of the East Coast, wine tasting Long Island NY is considered the premier area in the state for wines. It produces over 500,000 cases of wine annually. This is due to the climate of Long Island, which emulates the climates of France’s wine country. Thid can give you an idea of the high quality of wines that are produced in this region.
How many people visit Long Island’s wineries?
Today more than one-million people visit the nearly 40 wineries on Long Island, and enjoy tours and tastings, wine pairings, guided tours and more.
How far in advance would you recommend making reservations at a winery?
This depends upon the purpose and size of your party. If you are making reservations for a special event such as a wedding, start your planning process at least one year in advance.
How many wineries/vineyards are open to the public?
According to the Long Island Wine Council, there are 37 wineries located on Long Island. All but two of them are open to the public. Two are only available via appointments, and one will be open soon.
Which wineries host weddings or large parties?
If you’re thinking of wine tasting Long Island NY, 26 wineries are available to weddings or other large parties. Check out LongIslandWineries.com’s easy to use winery finder to find out which winery best suits your needs.
Are buses, limos or vans allowed to enter the vineyards?
Not all the vineyards allow buses, limos or vans, but many of them do. If they do, they may charge an added “coach fee” to your winery experience. Additionally, all wine tasting Long Island NY wineries require advance reservations with buses or limos. You should check with your winery of choice beforehand to make sure you are aware of all of the requirements.
What sort of events would be suitable to hold at wineries?
Wineries are beautiful venues that offer guests a wonderful wine tasting experience in Long Island, NY. They’re a great setting to celebrate any number of events, including weddings, picnics, corporate outings, ladies day outs, general social events, birthday parties, bachelor or bachelorette parties, or bridal showers. They also make a wonderful afternoon on the North Fork.
Do you need to make reservations to visit a winery?
You do not need to necessarily make a reservation to do a wine tasting Long Island NY (unless it is one of the two wineries in Long Island that requires appointments). This is especially true for smaller parties.
Can you visit more than one winery in a day?
Yes! Many of the North Fork wineries are located close to one another. That’s why you may see a lot of Long Island Winery Tour buses throughout your wine tasting experience. These tours usually take their guests to multiple wineries in one tour. You can have a similar experience by going independently. Just pick and choose which wineries seem most appealing to you.
When is the ideal time of year to visit a Long Island Winery?
The Long Island wineries are a perfect destination all year long. However the best time to enjoy a wine tasting experience in Long Island is during springtime and autumn. Many visitors visit during the summertime simply because it’s a nice activity to do on a hot summer day.
Wineries and Vineyards on Long Island
1. Macari Vineyards Tasting Room
150 Bergen Avenue, Mattituck, NY 11952
This tasting room sits on the edge of a nearly 500-acre vineyard and farm in Mattituck. Located on the North Fork of Long Island, it offers a variety of wine tasting experiences for small and large groups. Each are led by a Macari Wine Educator. Tastings are available by appointment on its covered deck or in the barrel cellar, as well as private experiences in the Private Tasting Suite. Ask for a special tasting and you’ll luck out with a charcuterie board and cheese. Or pop in on a Sunday for the rosé brunch, featuring three rosé blends and bites catered by Chef Lauren Lombardi.
2. Kontokosta Winery
825 North Road, Greenport, NY
Perched atop a series of sweeping bluffs overlooking the Long Island Sound, Kontokosta Winery is a unique wine tasting experience given the beauty of its surroundings. The Kontokosta family owns and manages the vineyard and farm operations on a day-to-day basis, allowing them to shepherd the vines sustainably and at their best ripeness. It boasts some of the best views in the area, and has a laid-back vibe, good wine, and indoor and outdoor open seating. You can buy by the glass or bottle or little tasting boards, and snacks are available for purchase. FYI – there’s a $5 reservation fee required, but as a token you get to keep your wine glass.
3. Pindar Vineyards
Peconic, NY 11958
An icon of the East End, Pindar Vineyards features award-winning wines inspired by founder Dr. Herodotus “Dan” Damianos. He helped create the winemaking industry on Long Island in the early 1980’s. 41 years later, Pindar Vineyards is one of Long Island’s best-known wine producers. It encompasses more than 500 scenic acres and 17 varieties of grapes crafted into 23 varietals and proprietary blends. Pindar produces 70,000 cases of wine a year, making it the largest vineyard on Long Island. Be sure to stop in on a weekend for live music.
4. Wölffer Estate Vineyard
139 Sagg Road
Sagaponack, NY 11962
For a “scene-and-be-seen” experience, Wölffer Estate is the go-to vineyard in the Hamptons. There, you’ll find a luxe wine tasting experience. On a Friday, it comes alive with singles, couples and young families. Everyone’s sipping blends outside and taking in the beauty of the East End. Founded by Christian Wölffer in 1988, Wölffer Estate spans 175 acres in Sagaponack. It produces some of the most premium, distinctive wines, ciders and spirits. We love its White Horse wines and its Summer in a Bottle, Wölffer Finca wines, ‘Pink’ Gin and a non-alcoholic Petite Rosé Verjus. Come fall, it’s all about Wölffer’s dry ciders. This flagship Hamptons hangout is perfect anytime of year.
5. Channing Daughters Winery
1927 Scuttle Hole Road
Bridgehampton, NY 11932
Also on the South Fork, this winery features six separate vineyards on its farm, each planted from 1982 to 2007. This Hamptons mainstay was the brainchild of Walter Channing. His fascination with Italianate grape varieties led him to a 28-acre plot of land in Bridgehampton. The winery is known for churning out the finest wines from over two dozen varieties.
Channing Daughters white grapes:
- Pinot Grigio
- Tocai Friulano
- Sauvignon Blanc
- Muscat Ottonel
- Ribolla Gialla
- Pinot Bianco
Channing Daughter Red grapes:
- Cabernet Franc
- Cabernet Sauvignon
6. Terra Vite
250 Manor Lane
Jamesport, NY 11947
This three-acre vineyard is located on one of the most picturesque roads on the North Fork on Manor Lane. With home vines set behind the winery and tasting room, they’re planted, handed-tended to and nourished by Salvatore Diliberto for over 20 years. Stop by to sample vigorous Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot varieties. If you’re lucky, you might get to sample some oysters and other scrumptious snacks like a cheese and charcuterie board. On a beautiful day, you can sit outside.
7. Duck Walk
231 Montauk Highway
Water Mill, NY 11976
Pindar Vineyards founder, Dr. Herodotus “Dan” Damianos founded this Hamptons vineyard in 1994 with his son, Alexander. House in a Chateau-style building in Water Mill, this true Hamptons landmark became home to what has quickly evolved into one of the most well-known names in Long Island wine. Duck Walk Vineyards has two locations – the flagship winery in Southampton and a newer outpost on the North Fork added in 2007. Surrounded by 30 beautiful acres of Sauvignon Blanc grape vines, Duck Walk Vineyards North is an ideal location to taste Duck Walk’s renowned wines while enjoying a Long Island wine tasting experience.
8. Paumanok Vineyards
1074 Main Road
Aquebogue, NY 11931
Founded in 1983, this 127-acre estate is owned and operated by Ursula and Charles Massoud and their three sons. It features premium grapevines like Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and more. Stop by on a sunny day to sip some wine on its beautiful deck or pair its famed Festival Chardonnay with cheeses, meats and baguette as well as fresh, local oysters. If you like what you try, you can join its wine club.
9. Bridge Lane
35 Cox Neck Road
Mattituck, NY 11952
Bridge Lane is a cool take on the winery feel. This small farm-winery on the North Fork of Long Island is the second label produced by Lieb Cellars. It’s named after the farm road adjacent to one of Lieb’s vineyards. The grapes for Bridge Lane wines are grown sustainably on Lieb’s estate vineyard and sourced from some of the best vineyard sites in New York State. The winery prides itself on cultivating unique, high-quality, dry wines made from grapes that are sustainably farmed and made at its winery.
The wines are made in small batches, and “crafted” by a passionate team with pride in their product. Come for the wines, stay for the games of cornhole and shuffleboard. Its large outdoor patio is perfect for a hang and sip session on one of its Adirondack chairs or inside its cozy tasting room.
If the best wine tasting Long Island experience is what you’re after, Shelter Island is the perfect jumping off point to explore the most beautiful vineyards on the East End. Contact Seven on Shelter to set up your experience.