Harvest is over and peak winery-season has come to an end—but for all of us Long Island natives and locals, now is actually the best time to head out east and see what our little island has to offer. The sheer number of wineries and their proximity to each other is intimidating. Which ones should you stop at? How do you avoid the weekend crowds? Here are a few tips to get your started.
Go in the off-season
The best time to visit Long Island wineries is when they won’t be crammed by tourists. And that time is going to be now, while it’s chilly outside. Sure, you won’t be able to see the rows and rows of green grapes growing, but you will be able to witness something those tourists don’t get to see: snow-covered grape vines!
Don’t cram too many wineries into one day.
Keep it small. Don’t pick more than four wineries to hit in one day. Even that’s a lot. Spending more time at fewer wineries will always make for a better experience than rushing from place to place to hit the 15 on your list.
Bring a DD!
This one is pretty self explanatory. Don’t drink and drive, folks. Plus you can sip without worry. If you’re coming from afar and making the trip an all-day affair, the train is a great way to get out there.
Visit the smaller places.
When a tourist comes to Long Island wine country, they are probably googling ‘best wineries on Long Island.’ Their search will bring up some giants like Wölffer. But just because the place doesn’t have a whole PR team getting their name out there doesn’t mean they don’t have great wines. An added bonus? They don’t attract the massive crowds that clog up the tasting rooms. And some of these places have the best views.
Don’t go in with a set plan.
Well, kinda. Know a few places you wanna hit. But you never know what you’ll find along the way — live music, restaurants, farmer’s markets, great wine (duh). So map out your trip, just don’t map it out too much. Hit the places you definitely want to get to, but stop for those fun little surprises along the way, too. Like, doughnuts at NoFoDoCo. Or pizza at Avelino. The list goes on and on.