A cool, breezy maritime climate and sandy soils allow Long Island winemakers to work with minimal intervention. Diverse wines here come in all shades—white, rosé, red and orange (juice from white, crushed grapes left in contact with the skins over a longer period of time results in a deep orange hue)—and in sparkling, still, sweet and dry styles. Most of the wineries are located at the east end of the island, a three-hour drive from Manhattan. Wölffer Estate Vineyard, set on a former potato farm, is one of the largest producers and is best known for its Chardonnay, while Sparkling Pointe, on the North fork of the island, hand-tends and harvests its grapes—try the bubbly 2012 Blanc de Blanc with notes of green apple and melon.
Local tip: “I love Long Island’s roadside farm stands. Visit the one at Wowak Farms in Laurel, which in peak season overflows with produce.” —Juan Eduardo Micieli-Martinez, winemaker and general manager, Martha Clara Vineyards
Hudson Valley, one of the oldest winemaking and grape-growing regions in the U.S., is less than three hours north of New York City. The area is dotted with wineries, but the Dutchess Wine Trail, comprising just two vineyards, is well worth a visit. At Millbrook Vineyards & Winery, a laid-back atmosphere begs for a lakeside picnic, and there are daily vineyard and cellar tours that end with a tasting in the property’s 1940s Dutch-style barn. The trail continues down winding, tree-lined lanes, where smaller Clinton Vineyards (check website for opening hours) specializes in sparkling, still and dessert wines. Opt for the Royale Tasting and you’ll be joined by the winery’s owner, 81-year-old wine sage Phyllis Feder.
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