Christopher Halajian on the Best Wine Regions in New York

Few people know that New York is home to some of the best “new world” wine regions. In fact, it doesn’t seem like the type of place where you could find an estate where you can drink without the police being called! But the reality is that the town of Southold, for instance, as well as many others, have been candidates for some of the best wines in the country and have now been included on the wine route for certain parts of the country. In fact, every Monday, people can start on the route as a group, something that Christopher Halajian has also taken part in. So what are some of these fantastic wineries?

Christopher Halajian on New York’s Wineries

There is actually a very long vineyard history in New York. Some 200 years ago, the Dutch settlers started to grow vines. But over the past three decades, there has been a veritable explosion of wineries. Over 200 exist, up from just 19 around 30 years back.

Chautauqua-Lake Eire

The first notable region is Chautauqua-Lake Eire, where some 20,000 vineyard acres are found. Around 90% of those are Concord grapes, used for juice rather than wine. However, the remaining 10% produces beautiful Riesling, Seyval, and more. Popular wineries include:

  • Forestville’s Merritt Estate Winery, which produces Vidal Ice Wine, Late Harvest Delaware, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chautauqua Niagara, Chardonnay, and Gewurtztraminer.
  • Fredonia’s Woodbury Vineyards, producing Glacier Ridge Red, Cabernet Franc, White Renard, Riesling, Chardonnay, and Seyval.
  • Westfield’s Vetter Vineyards, producing Late Harvest Vignoles, Pinot Grigio, Dry Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Chambourcin, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • Westfield’s Johnson Estate, producing Chautauqua Rouge, Concord, Seyval Blanc, Chautauqua Blanc, Liebstropfchen, and Vidal Blanc Ice Wine.

Long Island

There are some 1,900 acres to enjoy in Long Island, specializing in Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Merlot. The best wineries include:

  • Cutchogue’s Castello Di Borgese, producing Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Meritage.
  • Alquebogue’s Paumanok Vineyards, producing Sauvignon Black Late Harvest, Chenin Blanc, Dry Riesling, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • Riverhead’s Schneider Vineyards, producing Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Potato Barn White, and Chardonnay.
  • Cuutchogue’s Galluccio Family Wineries, producing Cabernet Sauvignon, Meritage, Merlot, Pinot Gris, and Rose.
  • Peconic’s Osprey’s Dominion Vineyards, producing Flight Meritage, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Gamay, Merlot, Port, and Chardonnay.
  • Cutchogue’s Bedell Cellars, producing Gewurztraminer, Main Road White, Main Road Red, Viognier, Merlot, and Chardonnay.

North Fork

Last but not least, there are the 1,900 acres in the North Fork region, where some 4,000 tones of grapes are produced each year, specializing in Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Merlot. Notable wineries include:

  • Cutchogue’s Peconic Bay Winery, producing La Barrique Chardonnay, Dry Riesling, Riesling, Rose of Merlot, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • Riverhead’s Martha Clara Vineyards, producing Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier, Semillon, Syrah, Estate Reserve Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc.
  • Southold’s Corey Creek Vineyards, producing Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir Rose, Merlot, and Chardonnay.

Tours and tastings are available at most of these wineries and certainly worth the time if you are a wine lover yourself.