Pour the Core: A Hard Cider Festival celebrates the revival of hard ciders and perries brewed from apples and pears. For the festival, the tree covered-landscape just outside of Peconic Bay Winery in Cutchogue fill with more than 30 local and international ciders including Peconic Bay Winery’s True Believer, Angry Orchard, and Magners from Ireland. Seminars teach patrons about all the ways to use versatile cider, from stirring into cocktails to mixing up in cupcakes and pork shoulder. A How to Make Hard Cider seminar demonstrates how to brew hard cider from nonalcoholic cider at home, covering the entire process from picking the right apples to forcing carbonation back into the opened bottles.
Nestled in the fertile New York countryside, Lenz Winery grows a variety of vinifera grapes that include chardonnay, cabernet franc, merlot, and malbec to compose a fine symphony of wines. Wines from Lenz Winery's 70 acres are culled to fruition through meticulous means, bringing the vine to full ripeness and fermentation and allowing each grape to express itself in a fine wine rather than a cheesy poem. Guests of Lenz Winery can bask in the smooth sipping ambience of the premium six-wine tasting flight as they are surrounded by quaint farms and thriving crop fields.
With two locations and 140 acres of picturesque land, Duck Walk Vineyard remains a popular presence on the Long Island Wine Trail, having been voted in 2013 as one of the top wineries in Long Island by "Best of Long Island". Tastings of the winery's many vintages, including reds, whites, ice wines, and fruity dessert wines, draw crowds of visitors to both of Duck Walk's spacious facilities, where live music dramatically shatters listeners' emptied glasses. The festive atmosphere here also makes it a prime setting for weddings, rehearsal dinners, and other private events.
The friendly enophiles at Sannino Bella Vita Vineyard take an interactive approach to wine education, guiding visitors through the ins and outs of the vintner process and offering sips of rich estate wines crafted onsite. Sojourners can venture to the winery to tipple glasses of chardonnay and merlot inside a rustic tasting room situated in a barn built in the early 1900s, or extend their stays with an annual membership to the vineyard’s unique Vine to Wine program. During the course of the year, program members take a hand in every part of the winemaking process, raising grapes from infancy before crushing and pressing them into adulthood at the vineyard’s custom-winemaker center.
The scenic North Fork vineyard is also home to Sannino's bed-and-breakfast, a single Tuscan-style suite that overlooks rows of growing vines and houses numerous amenities including a marble bathtub, 42-inch flat-screen TV, king-size bed, and spacious private living quarters. Complimentary beach passes and tasting tours await overnight guests, as does a full breakfast every morning. Remote wine-lovers can also peruse Sannino's wares online as they envision themselves traversing the verdant property and testing each bottle’s bouquet by closing their eyes and sniffing their computer monitor deeply.
During your tasting for two ($5 value per person), you'll sample five different red and whites from Osprey's superb selection. The award-winning grapen goodness is culled from lively vinifera vines creeping across the 90-acre grape growery. Spend time sipping in Osprey's comfortable tasting room and scouring the sky above the sun-bathed rows of green for soaring ospreys, who guard grapes from liquor-loving kobolds. The take-home bottle of 2006 reserve chardonnay ($15 value), a full-bodied sip that's ripe with aromas of tropical fruit, toasted oak, and vanilla, has a well-balanced acidity that pairs well with seafood and sea-smoothed stones. Check Osprey's Dominion's schedule of events to see when there's live music.
Cars whizzing down the North Wading River road could easily miss Michael Anthony's Food Bar, a handsome restaurant nestled amid leafy trees and residential homes at the threshold of wine country. The lucky patrons who do find the eatery, however, are rewarded with the dazzling site of pristine white tablecloths set with sapphire glasses, colorful hot-air balloons dangling from lofty white rafters, and bright walls speckled with vivid decor. Diners can then take a seat upon one of the soft cushions to nibble on oysters and toast their great discovery with a glass of fine wine.
Meanwhile, in the restaurant's kitchen, Chef Michael Anthony is hard at work folding fresh seafood, premium meats, and imaginative sauces into a variety of small plates, pastas, and seasonal specialties such as the pumpkin chicken with balsamic-rosemary butter or the duck breast with apricot-apple chutney. Michael has spent the last 25 years perfecting his signature "New American Cuisine" recipes, favoring inventive ingredients such as toasted-sage olive oil.