Long Island wineries offer a diverse array of the region’s best pours
Since the early 1990s, the fertile stretches of Long Island have been home to vineyards producing some of the Northeast’s top bottles. These four top-runners of the region’s wine industry not only offer tastings and special events galore, but their picturesque settings make visits as enchanting as the flavors poured from their bottles.
Holding claim to one of the most recognizable names in the regional winemaking industry, Duck Walk Vineyards has been producing award-winning wines since it opened in 1994. Now producing more than 35,000 cases each year – everything from blends and varietals to sparklings and desserts – Duck Walk now has two locations: its flagship estate in the Southampton hamlet of Water Mill, where a Normandy Chateau-styled estate house provides the backdrop for sumptuous wine-tastings, and a second outpost in Southold on Long Island’s North Fork. The classic reserve chardonnay is a favorite, but for those looking for some adventure in their glass, the Vidal Ice Wine is made from grapes frozen on the vine. (231 Montauk Hwy., Southampton)
Planted in 2001, Clovis Point Vineyards draws its name from the stone spear tips of the Clovis Indian people believed to have inhabited the North Fork lands some 10,000 years ago – a symbol now emblemized on the labels wrapped around their merlots, chardonnays, cabernets, and rosés. A renovated potato barn with an expansive porch serves as a rustic tasting room here, where well balanced wines repeatedly hailed as both earthy and graceful can be sipped alongside live music, special wine dinners, and art events scattered throughout weekends into early fall. (1935 Main Rd., Jamesport)
Producing some 7,000 cases each year of 26 different bottles, Channing Daughters Winery gains the respect of many an experienced palate for its artisanal approach to winemaking. With expansive sets of grapevines in the North Fork, Hamptons, and mainland Long Island, the winery produces classic pinots and cabernets, but its prize creations are its more obscure varietals – Malyasias, Dornfelders, Tocal Fruilanos – that are atypical to the region. Each grape is channeled through a different combination of yeast, filtering, tanking, and barreling processes. The resulting complex flavors and textures are best explained during tastings in the winery’s shingled, homey headquarters overlooking the vineyards where sculptures created by owner Walter Channing hold court among the vines. (1927 Scuttlehole Rd., Southampton)
Set on more than 100 acres of what was once a potato farm and then grounds for thoroughbred horses, Martha Clara Vineyards keeps its mission simple: to make the best wines that Long Island’s fertile soil can produce. Sparklings, whites, reds, rosés and reserves are traditional in style but robust in flavor and best experienced on the estate’s wildflower-filled grounds where tours are given via horse-drawn carriages. Cooking lessons, concerts, art installations, and the like also accompany special tasting events in the sprawling white estate home. (6025 South Avenue, Riverhead)