We know the New Yorker’s summer Friday dilemma- stay and sweat it out in the empty city, or plow through a few hours of traffic to a breezy beach escape. If you’re heading to the Hamptons this summer, make your drive a wine tasting road trip instead of a white-knuckle stress fest. Here are the best stops along your way to taste Long Island’s finest grapes and pick up a few bottles for beach barbecues. And remember, always – always – taste responsibly and use a designated driver!
Let me guess, you’ve only been to Brooklyn Winery for someone’s rustic-chic wedding reception, or maybe on a particularly classy Tinder date back in 2013. In fact, this working winery in the heart of Williamsburg is totally legit, sommelier approved, and any eastbound road trip should commence here. Read the menu carefully, ask about the barrel-fermented Riesling, and prepare to have your urban wine drinking reality shifted.
If you feel like you need to rinse off the hipster, Harmony is the perfect next stop. Just a twenty-minute detour off the LIE, nothing about this place is user-tested or even of this millennium. However, the wines are solid and the sprawling waterfront estate is picture perfect. It’s the perfect place for an early lunch and a summer white on your way to the beach.
Featured on every heavy-hitting wine list in the city, Paumanok Vineyards is the gold standard for Long Island wines, and well worth a small side trip to the North Fork. The winery serves fresh Long Island oysters to the beach crowd on Saturdays; pair them with the minimalist series Chenin Blanc and you’ll think you’ve been transported straight to the Loire Valley.
Channing Daughters Winery
Just north of Bridgehampton, down the charmingly-named Scuttle Hole Road, you’ll find an even more charming little tasting room surrounded by vines. Channing Daughters is a small but mighty operation, producing wines from over two dozen varietals, many of them Italian. The winery is known best for its rainbow of gluggable summer rosé’s, but if you’re feeling adventurous, try some of their funky fresh orange wines instead.
Wölffer Estate Vineyard
Just six minutes east of Channing Daughters you’ll find Wölffer Estate Vineyard; a winery and tasting room that will clear up any doubts- you’re officially in the Hamptons. Airy, high ceilings, elegant candelabras and weathered driftwood barstools set the scene, and this tasting room and patio are always buzzing in the summer. You can get lost in a tasting of top-notch desert wines, or just buy a bottle and head to the sunset picnic party held in the vineyard on Friday and Saturdays.