Summertime lovin’ mixes with nothing better than a day at the wine vineyard and a quick getaway out of the city. I look nowhere else than to my pal’s at Wine Awesomeness to guide us New Yorker’s on where to venture to that’s close by in the North Fork, Connecticut and Pennsylvania where we can indulge and relax with some fancy grapes.
If you’re looking for a quaint place with heaps of New England charm to catch up on that R&R you so desperately need head to Stonington, Connecticut. The area is practically awash with endearing B&Bs and country charm.
First stop: Jonathan Edwards Winery. Known for its east meets west coast wine concept, Napa Valley wines flow freely here. The Napa Valley Petit Sirah is a must-try. Equipped with a patio and local cheese accompaniments, JE is the perfect place for some sun and a picnic. If your schedule allows for it, catch one of the shows from the winery’s Summer Sunday Concert Series. Or there is a complimentary tour of the winery daily at noon that you won’t want to miss.
Off to Maugle Sierra Vineyards we go, where chewy, jammy and fruity is the name of the game. Enjoy the sun whilst lounging on the deck sipping the semi-dry Estate St. Croix, aged in American and French Oak barrels with a strong presence of blackberry and plum. If you’re a sucker for dessert wines and feel like taking a risk, buy a bottle of the Espíritu de St. Croix. It is not available for tastings, so purchasing is your only option if you want to get your hands on this sweet nectar of the gods. Maugle also offers live music on occasion, in case you want to plan ahead to eat, drink, and be merry amongst the beat.
In the mood for a side of culture with your wine? Make the short drive to Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. The valley was designated an official American Viticultural Area in March 2008, and it wasn’t for nothing. Also, if you have been itching to make some time in your busy schedule to see more art, now is your chance.
First stop: Franklin Hill. With wine names like Desire, Crush and Bliss, you cannot pass this up. Plus they have a cat named Funny Face that greets you at the door. If you are fascinated with fun wines, look no further than Carnival. This award-winning sweet white wine is infused with cotton candy, leaving you with happy thoughts of summertime amusements. Or if you binged on Cool Ranch Doritos and Twizzlers the whole ride, you may want to get your hands on some Thin. This acai berry infused sweet red has the calories of a dry red with no sacrifice in flavor.
Next up: Vynecrest (photo above). A bit off the beaten path, Vynecrest has a more tranquil feel than Franklin Hill. Grab a taste of the Chambourcin if you want something different with soft notes of cherry and blackberry and a velvety French Oak finish. When you are ready to head to the outdoor seating and relax with a glass of wine, do yourself a favor and pair the Chambourcin with the pork taco.
A more typical wine destination, the Hamptons offers all the vaca glitz and glam you have secretly been craving. The Wölffer Estate vineyard is known for their food-friendly elegant wines and ciders. That’s right: get your palate set for some rosé cider. P.S. Wölffer also offers morning and evening yoga sessions. If you stop by on a Sunday between nine in the morning and one in the afternoon, they serve champagne on the terrace.
Continuing onwards to Channing Daughters in Bridgehampton. The winery uses stainless steel tanks and barrels, but also has a collection of Slovenian, American and Hungarian oak barrels in use. They also co-ferment white and red fruits. Do some research before your trip to see if you can make it to one of the classes offered at the winery. Equipped with a sculpture garden, Channing Daughters offers a place to reflect on your time in the South Fork and your next wine destination. Just make sure you try the Blaufränkisch before you head back to the city.