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north fork wines, long island wines
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0/Colin Gregory Palmer
North Fork, Long Island, New York

Wine Getaway: Long Island

June 10, 2009
by Sarah Amandolare
Featuring a gorgeous landscape on the Atlantic Ocean that’s ideally suited for grape growing, Long Island has rapidly become a major player in wine production. The region’s most prized area is the North Fork, where vineyards and award-winning bottles have drawn comparisons to Bordeaux’s world-renowned offerings.

Welcome to the Long Island Wine Region

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For an introduction to the vineyards and wineries of Long Island, visit the Long Island Wine Council Web site. The site provides background information on the region, event listings and news, such as recent award-winning wines.

Long Island is an approximately 120-mile stretch of land that extends into the Atlantic Ocean with a “maritime climate, geography and soil characteristics” that are suited to wine production, according to the Long Island Wine Council. The wine industry on Long Island has only been in existence for about 25 years, but has grown rapidly to include “3,000 acres of vines” strung across more than 30 wineries, most of which are found on Long Island’s East End “on the North and South Forks.”

Exploring the North Fork

To get a close look at wineries on the North Fork, head to North Cork, a Web site that offers overviews and photos of many wineries, along with ratings from Yelp users. Visitors to the site can sign up to rate and review wineries. North Cork has similar listings of North Fork farm stands, restaurants and places to stay, but the wineries section is the most helpful.

A Bordeaux Connection

Many find similarities between wines from the North Fork and Bordeaux. According to Appellation America, that “comparison really isn’t so far fetched.” Most of the grapes planted on Long Island’s North Fork are “Bordeaux varieties,” such as Merlot and Cabernet Franc, but the same is true for vineyards across the United States. The difference is the North Fork’s climate, which is similar to that of Bordeaux and is influenced by the three “bodies of Gulf Stream-influenced water” surrounding the peninsula. The North Fork climate is “very moderate,” which allows for a longer growing season than New York’s other wine growing regions.

Appellation America lists the North Fork’s most recognized grapes, and all of the wines produced there. Use the search function on the right sidebar to find a wine to please your palate.

Newsday.com’s Explore Long Island explains how to visit Long Island wine country by trolley, bike, charter tour, van, limo or coach, and suggests companies to tour with, such as Winding Road Tours. Don’t miss the short videos on a few different wineries you might want to visit.

Planning Your Getaway

Once you’re ready to make the trip to Long Island wine country, visit the findingDulcinea Web Guide to Wine Travel. You’ll learn about wine travel in the U.S. and Europe, get maps of wine regions, discover companies that provide wine tours and find out about events for wine enthusiasts.
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