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5 NORTH FORK VINEYARDS TO HOST YOUR WINTER WINE TASTING

LONG ISLAND LIMO WINE TOURS

Spending a Saturday touring Long Island’s North Fork wineries during the summer months has become a tradition for most Long Islanders. The New York Times has reported on the rising popularity of the region’s vineyards for both tourists and locals alike. According to the newspaper, the crowds have become nearly as much a part of the experience as sipping sauvignon blanc.

There’s a lot of reasons to spend a Saturday in winter visiting a local vineyard. While some severely restrict their winter hours, others are especially well-prepared to receive guests November through March. We’ve included details on 5 of our favorites, selected for their warm and comfortable indoor tasting facilities. As an added bonus, fewer crowds could mean better chances of chatting with the staff members about your selections:

Jamesport Vineyards

Step into an unassuming, wood-sided barn from the mid-19th century. The modern interior which houses the tasting room is the perfect place to spend an hour or two. The winery’s sauvignon blanc comes with particularly high recommendations. Tastings are $15, which include two reds and two whites. Limited tours are also available on Saturdays and Sundays by reservations only. Group tastings for parties of eight or more are available by appointment.

Main Rd., Jamesport, NY. 631.722.5256. www.jamesport-vineyards.com

Martha Clara Vineyards

One of the area’s older Vineyards, Martha Clara began as a simple roadside stand. It’s grown to become one of the hottest destinations for weddings in the area, thanks to the barn-style tasting room and the warm, indoor room for guests in winter. While guests who come in winter will miss the live events held in the summer, they’ll still likely be able to catch a glimpse of the facilities’ pet goats or Clydesdales. Tastings are available 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Sunday–Friday, and 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Saturdays.

6025 Sound Ave., Jamesport, NY. 631.298.0075. www.marthaclaravineyards.com

Palmer Vineyards

Described by wine writer Howard Goldberg as “Long Island’s most important winery,” Palmer Vineyards holds that wines receive consistent critical acclaim, particularly the 41/72 merlot Cuvee. It’s a beautiful place to spend an afternoon and look out over the sunset from the indoor tasting room. Tasting fees vary according to selection, and guests are welcomed daily between 11 a.m.–6 p.m.

Sound Ave. & Osborne Ave., Aquebogue, NY. 631.722-9463. www.palmervineyards.com

Paumanok Vineyards

Family-owned and operated by the Massoud family, tastings at Paumanok are held in a room that overlooks the winemaking equipment. Winter hours for tastings are seven days a week, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. through March when the summer schedule of 11 a.m.–6 p.m. resumes. Tastings range in cost from $6–15, though guests who choose to purchase three or more bottles can have the cost credited towards the tasting.

1074 Main Rd., Aquebogue, NY. 631.722-8800. www.paumanok.com

Raphael

At this winery that focuses on high-end merlots, seeing the architecture is well worth every mile of your journey to the tasting. The winery is housed in a lavish mission-style building. Tours are held at noon on Saturdays and Sundays, including a taste of four wines, and cost $20 per attendee. Other tastings are available on site, and guests are encouraged to stay and linger over glasses of the winery’s selection. In the winter months, the facility is open daily from 12 p.m. –5 p.m.

39390 Main Rd. Peconic, NY. 631.765.1100. www.raphaelwine.com

BE SAFE

No one wants to spend their weekend wine tour nibbling on a cheese plate in order to remain sober as the designated driver. Treat yourself to limo service to visit local wineries in style and safety. Provide the Chauffeur with your itinerary, and allow yourself to enjoy an afternoon of visiting the vineyards in the off-season.

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