07/16/17 6:01am
07/16/2017 6:01 AM

Long Island, with a centuries-long history of farming, has undergone an agricultural revolution in just a few decades, sparked in 1973 by a pair of pioneers in planting grapes for fine wine, Louisa and Alex Hargrave. READ

02/25/17 6:00am
02/25/2017 6:00 AM

Hargraves

The first day in 1973 that my then-husband, Alex, and I arrived on the farm we’d bought in Cutchogue, on Long Island’s North Fork, to plant the region’s first vineyard, our neighbor Jeanie Zuhoski welcomed us on our long farm road bearing a home-baked pie. READ

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11/20/16 8:50am
11/20/2016 8:50 AM

The Southold Town Planning Board held public hearings last week on several additions proposed to vineyards — discussions that took on greater meaning in the wake of Supervisor Scott Russell’s proposed moratorium on new wineries. READ

Featured Story
11/16/16 10:25pm
11/16/2016 10:25 PM

9T5B9981_web

After recent debates over Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell’s idea for a moratorium on new winery, brewery and distillery development, Mr. Russell and a representative of the Long Island Wine Council spoke at the Mattituck Chamber of Commerce meeting Wednesday night about the proposal. READ

09/05/14 10:39am
09/05/2014 10:39 AM
(Credit: Cyndi Murray)

(Credit: Cyndi Murray)

Tuscan Vineyards could one day become the North Fork’s easternmost tasting room. Purchased in March by a Manhattan businessman, the property contains lush gardens, a man-made pond, and plenty of grapes primed to be produced into wine.

Read more about this new vision for the North Fork Wine Trail at northforker.com.

09/17/13 8:00am
09/17/2013 8:00 AM

Long Island Wine Country Harvest Season

North Fork wines will once again be on the national stage, as the annual New York Farm Day hits Capitol Hill today.

Originally launched 12 years ago, the event at the Kennedy Caucus Room will feature agricultural products from across New York State, introducing agricultural specialists, members of the Senate, and members of the D.C. media to homegrown products.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), a member of the Senate Agricultural Committee, will be on hand, touting everything from New York-farmed oysters, apples, yogurt, gin, beer, beans and more.

“Strengthening our agricultural sector and promoting good nutrition for New Yorkers are essential to our long-term health and economic growth,” Ms. Gillibrand said in a statement.

From the North Fork, the following vineyards will be on display: Bedell Cellars, Jamesport Vineyards, Lieb Cellars, One Woman Wines & Vineyards, Palmer Vineyards, Sannino Bella Vita Vineyard. Wolffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponac will also be featured.

In addition, chilled Satur Farms corn soup will be featured at the event.

For Bedell Cellars, it will be the second time this past year that it’s been on display for D.C. politicians: it was served at President Barack Obama’s inauguration.

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02/07/13 8:00am
Macari Vineyard, Long Island Wine Country

GIANNA VOLPE FILE PHOTO | Workers place protecting nets over vines at Macari Vineyards.

It was a time when potato farms were fast disappearing from the North Fork. Given the expense of farming on Long Island, growers found it all but impossible to compete with potato farmers in the Midwest, Canada and elsewhere. The days when potato fields covered 60,000 acres in Nassau and Suffolk became a memory as farm after farm, from the bay to the Sound, fell to development. It seemed as if the North Fork would soon be no different from Holtsville or most any other place on the West End.

Enter the grape — first planted here commercially by Louisa and Alex Hargrave in 1972. Forty years ago, the couple could never have imagined how those tentative first steps would transform, and help preserve, the region’s centuries-old agriculture tradition.

Many deserve credit for decades of work fighting to maintain the region’s rural way of life; civic groups, environmental advocates and government officials come to mind. But make no mistake, the economy always has final say. As Long Island Farm Bureau director Joe Gergela often says, the best way to preserve farmland is to keep farming profitable. Sure, pumpkins and agritainment have helped, but nothing’s done more for the region and local agriculture than the industry that gave the North Fork its other moniker: Long Island Wine Country.

Row upon row of grapevines, tasting rooms and other supporting structures — not housing developments — have now replaced the rows of spuds and potato barns that long dominated the landscape. Better yet, the vineyard operations have made the region a destination for tourists from near and far. Wineries employ local adults and young people alike and host weddings and other events that supply business for local florists, hotel owners, caterers and restaurateurs, bed & breakfast operators and others. A burgeoning craft beer industry complements the wineries and, with that, some local farmers are taking to growing hops and even barley so beer can be made entirely from local ingredients.

There’s no better time to remember the industry’s contribution to the North Fork and Long Island than now, during the annual Winterfest Jazz on the Vine festival, which kicks off this weekend and runs until March 17. The event was founded to help support the wineries during the slower winter months. Its success has helped Long Island Wine Country evolve into a year-round destination, helping our economy even further.

So here’s to another 40 years of ingenuity and success for the region’s wine industry.

04/21/12 8:00am
04/21/2012 8:00 AM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Buds break early at Paumanok Vineyards in Aquebogue.

In vineyards across the North Fork, the buds have broken, a leafy sign that the time of grapevine dormancy is over and a new growth cycle is well underway.

Bud break is the moment when winter brown gives way to spring green and the vines produce the shoots that produce flowers that produce the fruit that will eventually become wine.

“We saw bud swell last week and definite bud break on Wednesday,” said Joe Macari, who works at his family’s vineyard in Mattituck.

“There’s still some varieties that aren’t opened up, but they should be within the week,” he said.

Mr. Macari added that in 2010, a banner year for the area, bud break came around Apr. 12, with this year only a week at its heels.

Paumanok’s winemaker, Kareem Massoud, said last month that an early bud break following a mild winter has the potential to extend the growing season and maker for riper grapes, though a late frost could freeze off the primary buds and delay it. Though secondary buds would push out from the plants, Mr. Massoud said they would be less productive than the originals.

[email protected]

01/04/11 5:27pm
01/04/2011 5:27 PM

Looking for something different to do during the cold months? How about a free wine tasting?

Shinn Estate Vineyards in Mattituck will be offering year-round residents of Southold and Riverhead townships a no-cost wine tasting once a month from Jan. 14 through April 1.

Each resident will also be able to take a local trivia quiz to be entered into a monthly drawing for a chance to win a magnum of Shinn Estate Merlot. The grand prize will be a case of Shinn Estate Merlot, to be awarded at the end of the season.