Only 60 miles from New York City lies Port Jefferson, which welcomes boaters to Long Island’s North Shore all summer. And within easy driving distance of Port Jefferson are rows and rows of grapes being cultivated and bottled by some 50 North Fork wineries and vineyards to maximize wine-tasting pleasure.
What Napa and Sonoma are to California, Long Island’s North Fork is to New York: a scenic getaway infused with the sweet scents of cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, riesling and more. For boaters who arrive at Port Jefferson — Danfords Hotel, Marina & Spa takes transients up to 250 feet length overall — tastings can begin right in town, including with tasting menus at local restaurants. Another option is booking a local car service that specializes in touring area vineyards. Start early, drive east and then make your way back to the boat one winery at a time, finishing, perhaps, with short ribs or twin lobster tails at Wave Seafood & Steak, within walking distance of the transient slips at Danfords.
Long Island’s sparkling wines have earned a strong reputation, with Pugliese, Macari and other vineyards having won notable awards. There also are some interesting creations to try, such as Duck Walk’s Vidal Ice Wine (made from grapes frozen on the vine) and Blueberry Port, made from fruit shipped in from Maine.
And speaking of the farm-to-table lifestyle, Sang Lee Farms is in Peconic, near some North Fork wine-tasting routes. Boaters who prefer to bring home bottles and cook their own feast in the galley can do organic provisioning at Sang Lee, where the farm stand is open seven days a week during the summer months.
Just remember to buy some bread too, to soak up the vino along with Long Island’s North Fork magic.
Wineries Near Port Jefferson
Pindar Vineyards grows 17 varieties of grapes on more than 500 acres, producing 70,000 cases of wine a year. Winery tours are available, or boaters can stop in at the tasting bar in Port Jefferson, closer to the marina slips. Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard makes more than just wine. Also look to try the craft beer, cider, artisanal cheese plates and freshly baked pies. Roanoke Vineyards hosts educational events all summer with winemakers, tasting experts and more.