Last November, just at the tail-end of the season, I took my sister on a media trip to Long Island Wine Country. This trip was a long time coming for me, as I was supposed to be there in May of 2014, but since I broke my foot, I had to cancel my trip. But fear not, because I finally got my chance to sip my way through the wineries with a great group of bloggers. We had so much fun on this trip. If you haven’t been to these wineries, you need to think about booking a trip with your spouse or girlfriends – what a place!
Getting to the North Fork
Getting to the Long Island wineries of New York is easy. We are about an hour and fifteen minutes drive from the Cross Sound Ferry in New London, CT. Once you arrive, parking is free and you can hop aboard on foot or even bring your vehicle! We found the ferry to be spacious, comfortable and fast! There’s food and drink available on the ferry too. Reservations are required and you can now easily plan your trip from your smartphone. You can go this season for as low as $24.75 per car and driver! Not bad, right?
Once we arrived at Orient Point in New York, we were greeted by Jo-Ann Perry, our personal tour guide and driver for our overnight stay. Jo-Ann is the owner and operator of Vintage Tours and she was incredible – so knowledgable about the entire area, answering our questions, dropping us off everywhere we needed to be and most importantly, acting as our designated driver as we sipped our way through the North Fork wineries. There really is no other way to do it if you ask me. Leave the driving behind and book a wine tour with Vintage Tours. You won’t be disappointed. Here’s what she offers:
- pick up and drop off services to lodging, marinas, train and bus.
- chauffeured journey through the beautiful wine country of North Fork
- air conditioned, 14 passenger vehicle
- tours of quaint, family owned wineries of the area
- boxed lunch with wine at winery
- stops at local farm stands for fresh produce and homemade goods
- An amazing time
Our first stop on a cold, damp November day was Waters Crest Winery, where we sipped some award winning wines and had a fantastic boxed lunch waiting for us. We met Jim Waters, who talked to us about his vineyards, his varietals and his recent vintage where he had so many grapes he didn’t know what to do with them all due to the amazing spring we had last year. We got to taste some of his blended wines and learned that the North Fork area’s soil matched that of the Bordeaux area in France, making for some lovely red wine! He also enlightened us with the fact that the North Fork is the sunniest part of New York State – which is great for these local vineyards! Who knew?
Next up on our tour was a visit to Kontokosta Winery in Greenport for a wine tour and tasting. This waterfront winery, with expansive green fields all around, was by far, my favorite winery based on the wine AND the location and ambience. The natural style of this post and beam structure will entice you. We tasted one yummy sauvignon blanc that my sister and I fell in love with – so much so, that she even purchase a few bottles to take home to enjoy over Thanksgiving dinner. This wine was perfect. I could have stayed all day. Honestly, I did NOT want to leave Kontokosta and I’m definitely going back there again someday with Chris. Such a gorgeous spot – in fact, I think we could even have Emily’s wedding there someday.
On our second day, amidst sunshine and blue skies, we go to visit Sannino Bella Vita Vineyard in Peconic. We enjoyed a tasting and a tour led by the owners, Anthony and Lisa Sannino. We enjoyed great company, a boxed lunch and plenty of learning through their Vine to Wine Program. We even sipped a delicious mulled wine that was to die for. I’d go back again just to sit in that cozy, warm barn and sip on that hot mulled red wine. It was heavenly.
My sister and I got to stay at the HarborFront Inn, which was absolutely perfect in every way. The hotel is simple, yet luxurious, offering free Continental breakfast with your stay, free wi-fi, an outdoor heated pool and water views. The decor was modern and the bathroom was impressive – plenty of space and a great design. After a long day of wine touring, our every need was met. We had comfortable beds, a balcony and a refrigerator for keeping my breastmilk cold! I highly recommend the HarborFront Inn at Greenport. If you’re looking for a quieter, more intimate kind of lodging you could choose from the quaint B&B styles offered by Fig & Olive or Ruby’s Cove. No matter where you stay, be sure to check out downtown Greenport for great places to eat and shop. I wished we had more time to peruse the streets and explore. There’s even a carousel!
Other Things to Do
- Gingerbread Cookie Decorating at Gingerbread University
- Harbes Family Farm
- Candyman Chocolate Factory
- Strawberry Festival
- Live Music at the Wineries
- Greenport Harbor Brewery
No matter what season you decide to visit, you’ll see why the North Fork should be a bucket-list destination for everyone. Book your trip today.