Long Island Wines – Not to Be Overlooked

image of five bottles of Long Island Wines

Roughly 75 percent of adults in the U.S. drink wine. And most people who really know wine can list the top places where a wine comes from. But even as a New Yorker, I rarely think of Long Island Wines.

“Local wine” felt to me like a touristy, craft-fair version of wine. I preferred wines from California, France, Italy…I was a bit snobby, I’ll admit. I’ll bet most people feel the same way…except maybe the people that live on the east end of New York.

There are literally dozens of wineries on the east end of Long Island. You could spend DAYS dining and enjoying the wine tourism in the area. You can find wine tastings, dinners, music in the vineyards, and even bicycle tours on both forks. Long Island is certainly a unique terroir with good, ever-evolving winemakers who believe in what they are doing. With this in mind, let’s get into the wines!

Personally, my favorite wines from the region have been sparkling rosés, even though I’m more of a cabernet, merlot, and zinfandel kinda guy. I recall sipping a sparkling rosé with friends on a blanket and listening to live music in Wölfer Estate’s Wine Stand, in the vineyard many years ago. The entire experience, including the wine, was perfect.

Most of the cabs that I’ve sampled from Long Island had a vegetal quality that is completely different from any other region I’ve tasted. Cool winters here on Long Island prevent grapes from attaining the “BIG, BOLD” Napa-style reds that most people search for. Whereas LI reds have more restraint and are easier to pair with wider varieties of foods, especially locally grown foods. Pinot blanc seems to be well embraced by LI winemakers and would be excellent with local oysters and other shellfish. Whatever your tastes, you’re sure to find a varietal you actually like here on Long Island…even if it’s a “blueberry port.” Most recently, I had a merlot from Long Island…sorry, I can’t recall which winery. But it could easily stand up to some of its European cousins. My point? If you enjoy wine, check out Long Island.

No matter your wine tastes, Long Island is a region that should not be overlooked in your journey to enjoy wine and learn more about it. It could take weeks or even months to fully explore all that Long Island wineries have to offer. I recommend checking out LIwines.com to learn more about the region and to plan a trip to the East End of Long Island, whether you physically go there or just order some of your favorite varietals from Long Island to try with your next holiday meal so you can live like a local, vicariously through your palate.