I am a HUGE lover of wine.
Specifically, I prefer a good glass of red wine, whether it be Malbec or Cabernet, however, I do not discriminate; I will take a nice glass of white wine too.
Recently, I took a trip out to the vineyards in Long Island’s Suffolk County and I had a blast sipping on wine and enjoying the beautiful weather.
My Wine Obsession: How It All Began
Prior to 2012, I drank wine from time to time but never on a consistent basis. I would drink a glass at a holiday party or at a party of a friend, but it was usually not my go-to beverage choice.
And then I went to California’s Napa Valley.
Visiting Napa in the summer of 2012 changed my whole outlook on wine and helped me to discover my passion for a good, full-bodied red wine.
My experiences with wine in Napa fueled my interest to try different wines around the world. In Italy, I drank Italian wine nearly every day. In Amsterdam, I drank a variety of different European wines during a cheese tasting. Here at home in New York City, I like trying various wines at different events and I really enjoy shopping at Trader Joe’s Wine Shop.
Discovering Long Island Wine Country
Last fall while taking a day trip to Montauk from New York City, I discovered a wonderful thing: Long Island’s famous wine trail.
It came as a surprise to me that it took me so long to discover it, as I had attended school in Long Island for four years and lived in New York City for over eight years, and never heard of it.
When I saw the signs pointing to the tail, I promised myself that I would travel back out to that part of Long Island to explore the vineyards and see what they had to offer.
The Wine Tour: Selection Process
As the fall approached, I remembered the promise I had made to myself last year to get out to the Long Island vineyards.
I had a couple of things to consider when choosing to go out to the vineyards: Would I drive out there and do an overnight trip (driving after drinking all day was not an option)? Would I take the train out there? or Would I take a tour?
After consulting with a couple of my friends, we decided to take a tour. The next phase of the process was selecting a wine tour to go on. I had a little difficulty finding up-to-date information, so I reached out to a few of my other friends inquiring about their experiences with wine tours on Long Island.
I decided on selecting a Groupon deal, where I could take a Long Island wine tour with Hampton Luxury Liner for a fraction of the cost of a normal wine tour.
The Wine Tour
The wine tour began in Manhattan, where four buses were waiting for people (like myself) anxious to escape the city and get out to the relaxing countryside to sip glass after glass of wine.
Our first stop on the tour was to Duck Walk Vineyards North. Sitting on a massive 140 acres, Duck Walk produces over 35,000 cases of wine per year. They have two locations on Long Island and large tasting rooms to accommodate almost any party size.
In the hour that we were allotted to spend at the vineyard, I sampled a few of their red and white wines before making my way to the back of the tasting room and outside, where I frolicked through the grapevines and took a couple of photographs.
My group hopped back on the buses and headed about ten minutes down the road to Jason’s Vineyard.
Located on the North Fork of Long Island, Jason’s Vineyard is much smaller than Duck Walk with a total area of 20 acres. The owner, Jason has extensive education in producing wine and studied in Bordeaux, where he learned to produce the finest wines.
Upon arrival at Jason’s, each person on the tour was given four wine chips to select the four different kinds of wine that they would like. I tasted the Golden Fleece, Rose, Meritage, and Malbec. Out of the four, my favorites were the Golden Fleece, which I found to be sweet and light, and the Malbec (no surprise there), which was light, airy, and not too dry.
One thing I particularly loved about Jason’s Vineyard was that it also served as a miniature farm. There were numerous animals there from sheep to a llama (and having a llama is pretty darn awesome).
The last stop of the day was to Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard located a short distance away from Jason’s Vineyard. After piling off of the bus, we were given three hours to explore the property.
One of the great features about this particular vineyard is that there is both a horse and pony rescue center on the property to nurture horses whose lives were at risk.
In their massive tasting house, there is ample space for seating, multiple bars, hot and cold meals, and line dancing!
The Wine Tour: A Review
After reading this post, you might be noticing that something was missing.
If you guessed a tour guide, you would be right.
This ‘tour’ was more of a wine tasting. We were driven from vineyard to vineyard, dropped off at each location by our driver, and told how much time we would have at each place. Wines were poured by friendly staff, but there was no backstory given at any of the places we visited.
If you are looking for a wine tour where you are actually going to be learning about what you are drinking, then this is not the tour for you. One thing I did like about this ‘tour’ however was that it was very simple, affordable, and convenient.
Finally, the tour takes an entire day; it leaves from Manhattan early in the morning, does two pickups in Long Island, brings you to three vineyards (where you will spend a total of 5 hours), and then drops you back off at your pickup points in the evening.