July 10, 2017

Travel Guide: 24 Hours at Long Island's North Fork Wineries

A couple of weeks ago, I took the LIRR out of Manhattan and spent the day out on the North Fork visiting a few Long Island wineries. Let me preface this post by saying that I am no wine connoisseur. I'm not down with all the tannin talk, and I usually can't detect all the notes and flavors described on a bottle label. That said, I can tell a good wine from a decent one and a decent one from a crappy one.

I enjoy champagne, prosecco, and Grenache rosé (and certain California rosés), but I don't go out of my way to drink white or red, so I was excited to try some new wines. One of my mom's cousins lives in Rocky Point with her husband and is pretty familiar with the vineyards out on the North Fork (read: she knows which ones are worth hanging out at). There are quite a few, and you can only drink so much wine visit so many in a day. We visited three, which isn't bad for half a day (cut me some slack with the 24-hour bit in the title of this post), which I've featured here (photos, too!). 

Clovis Point Winery and Vineyard 

Clovis Point was the first vineyard on our stop. The grounds were beautiful and quiet: rolling vineyards (with lots of rabbits), hydrangeas in full bloom, and an outdoor patio. I had a glass of their 2015 rosé, which was good— light and refreshing, a great summer wine. They offer three different tastings, a cold flight (three whites and a rosé for $12), a red flight (four reds for $15), and a master flight (all eight wines for $22). I had been pacing myself/holding out for a tasting at the last winery* our on list, but I would definitely do the cold flight were I to visit again.

Clovis Point hosts local food trucks, as well as live musicians on the outdoor patio, on the weekends, but the tacos available from Saturday's truck were not the best. The brie and cheese plates on the tasting menu are definitely worth it, though. There was also a complimentary plate of cheese, meat, and grapes in the tasting room.

Osprey's Dominion

Of the three Long Island wineries that we visited, Osprey's Dominion was my favorite. The four-acre outdoor space that backs up to the vineyard is spotted with picnic tables, adirondack chairs, corn hole boards, volleyball nets, and giant Jenga games. There's also a small cart that sells beer and oysters and live music on the weekends. It's a really great spot to hang out and enjoy some drinks with family and friends.

The tasting bar is in the middle of a small building where they sell bottles, art, and other things, including rosé cupcakes, one of which I somehow left without. They offer a three-wine flight for $8 and a five-wine flight for $12. You can pick and choose the wines you want to try. I tasted a couple of wines from my mom's flight: a Chardonnay (like I said, I'm not a wine person, but I do know that Chardonnays tend to be... not so good) that came highly recommended by the pourer, which was far too sweet; and a Pinot Noir, with a smokiness and black cherry end that was quite good.

Osprey's also allows you to bring in outside food, which many Long Island wineries don't permit. My group purchased a bottle of their popular Red Blend, similar to the Pinot that I'd tried, for the table; I quite enjoyed it and recommend it to even non-red drinkers.

Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard

This Long Island winery and vineyard is also a rescue horse farm, and 100% of profits made on certain bottles— Mirage, Angel, and Savannah— named after three of their rescue horses, go to Baiting Hollow Farm Horse Rescue Inc., their non-profit. I had a glass of their red blend, Mirage, but I didn't love it. Their 2016 rosé, Pink Satin, was delicious— light and refreshing with a fruity, fresh bouquet.

Baiting Hollow is a medium-sized spot, not as small as Clovis Point but not as large as Osprey's Dominion. The seating is a little tight but still comfortable. There is also a pie tasting bar, which I would have definitely been interested in a few glasses of wine earlier (oops).

*The one vineyard that I had really been looking forward to was Sparkling Pointe, but by the time we finished at Osprey's Dominion, it was too late to get in for tastings :( Some other time!

Have you visited any wineries?

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