Where the Long Island Expressway ends, lies a beautiful countryside and a montage of Vineyards. Our favorite vineyards can be found on both the North Fork and South Forks of Long Island. Mostly family owned and operated with a variety of wines that range in style from classic to esoteric, and with tasting rooms that vary from Country Chic to Romanesque. Most vineyards are open year round so you can take advantage of them any time of the year and choose from an array of seasonal events including live music, 5 course dinners in the vines or a fall barrel tasting during harvest. The staff at Shelter Island House wants to let you know about our top 5 Long Island vineyard picks and why they are some of our favorites local wineries.
Top 5 East End Wineries:
1. The Old Field Vineyard– The rustic barn tasting room is just one our favorite mentions about this unpretentious and only mother daughter run vineyard on Long Island. Most importantly the artisan wine is delicious, and you can meet the winemakers/owners who are routinely in the tasting room to pour your wine, discuss their growing techniques and the history of the near 100-year-old family farm. We also can’t deny the location is awesome, right on the bay and ever so close to Shelter Island! If you are looking for a waterfront wedding venue, their wine, location and attention to detail can’t be beat! Beyond that the “hands on approach” is a true understatement, as each bottle is hand bottled and hand labeled by the owners. Top it off with further devotion to a sustainable practice through hand harvesting, leaf pulling and pruning really defines their business ethic and is reflected in their sublime wines.
2. Paumonak Vineyards -To describe this vineyard as having award-winning wines is no joke, as Paumonak Vineyards have been declared New York Winery of the Year twice at the New York Wine & Food Classic. We love this vineyard not only for its exceptional wines, but also for the array of tours. Their tours range from self guided to the very cool VIP tours that conclude with a private tasting on the balcony overlooking the vineyards – note this tour includes a scrumptious chilled bottle of the of the Paumanok Blanc de Blancs served in Riedel crystal Champagne flutes! We would also suggest you take advantage of the local oysters served on the deck on Saturdays during the summer months and their barrel tastings weekends in November, or by appointment!
3. Wölffer Estate Vineyards – Winemaking is at the heart of this 55 acre chic estate, a former potato field and now arguably the most popular winery in the Hamptons. If you are already visiting Shelter Island House you can try the spectacular and trendy “Summer in a Bottle” Rose or the Classic White, or Cabernet Franc readily at our on-site Tavern restaurant! However, a trip to the beautiful vineyard is not to be missed, especially for the year round events all with live music. Sunset Friday and Saturdays in Summer, Candlelight Fridays in the fall, and if you have always wanted to stomp grapes, then the annual Harvest Party will not disappoint! Hard cider fans, you are at the right vineyard, as Wölffer Vineyards have perfected apple wine with their white or rose dry cider.
4. Lenz Winery – This is a classic Long Island winery that offers some world class Old Vine wines that consistently stack up with impressive scores in blind tastings against legendary California and European vineyards. Following a high touch philosophy to maintain some of the most mature vines in the area ensures quality grapes and quality wines. We love Food Truck Fridays at Lenz where visiting food trucks offer awesome food options from pizza to sliders to charcuterie and fine cheese. The various food trucks are on-site every Friday and at the ready to quench your hunger and allow you to pair some delicious artisan food with the delightful Lenz wines. “Dinner in the Vines” is another vineyard treat, timed with their annual fall harvest celebration. This event is a true collaboration of local chefs, partnering with local wine producers to literally wine and dine you with a 5 course wine dinner, all served in the middle of the Lenz vineyards.
5. Bedell Vineyards – We love the modern design and the posh wines of this vineyard! Once you taste these delectable wines you will agree why the press has given them several rave reviews and why Bedell Wines was a select wine to be served at the 2013 Presidential Inauguration. Beyond the quality, green farming techniques and sleek design, we really like this vineyard for the amazing outdoor patio overlooking the expansive vineyard. When the cooler temperatures arrive we love tastings in front of the cozy fireplace with plush seats. Wine club members have their privileges here when it comes to events and pricing so take advantage! We like their wines so much we have 2 of them on our wine list, you can enjoy the bright acidity of the Sauvignon Blanc or the lush tannins of the Merlot at The Tavern at Shelter Island House.
We invite you to start or finish any visit to the local vineyards with a stay at Shelter Island House and to indulge in our East End Wine Tour package, our premier package includes: pick up & drop off from the hotel, chauffered journey in a luxury passenger van, visit to three local wineries with complimentary tastings, delicious box lunch with local wine and a visit to a farm stand when in season! See you in the vines!