The North Fork of Long Island in New York has long been in the shadow of its much more famous southern sister, the appropriately named the South Fork. The South Fork is home to the Hamptons and the glamorous throngs that flock there all summer.
The North Fork was historically an agriculturally-based region, which made for a low-key lifestyle. By the 1970s, however, the staple crop of boiler potatoes had fallen out of favor as the American public turned to baking and frying potatoes, which meant that many North Fork farms struggled to stay afloat. Large swaths of land were emptied as younger people left the area in search of work.
As it turned out, vinifera grapes seem to really like the same soil and a few intrepid young winemakers attempted to plant vines. Now, over 30 years later, the North Fork of Long Island is a recognized AVA with over 50 wineries dotted along the main routes heading east.
Within this list, you’ll discover some of the Best North Fork Wineries and why they’re worth visiting. Plus, learn about our favorite way to tour the region, and see recommendations for great restaurants and hotels to stay at in the region.
IN THIS GUIDE:
Long Island is shaped like an elongated fish, with Brooklyn and Queens nestled in its west-facing head. The North Fork is accessible by taking the Long Island Expressway to the last exit and then heading out on Route 25 or Route 58. If you need to rent a car, take a look at current rental car deals here on Expedia.
From Connecticut, two different ferries access the north side of Long Island: the New London ferry docks in Orient and the New Haven line docks in Port Jefferson. The Long Island Rail Road is another option, but service to the North Fork is much slower than it is to the South Fork and therefore, a weekend makes more sense than a day trip. No matter how you get there, though, it’s a very accessible and necessary break from the hustle and bustle of New York City.
While you can’t go wrong with any of the wineries listed below, we highly recommend seeing the beauty of the North Fork from a more holistic perspective. East End Bike Tours offers a unique guided farm and wine country tour that has received nothing but excellent reviews from our readers. You’ll travel by bike and not only stop at hand-picked wineries, but you’ll also get to experience the serenity of the beaches, have picnics, take part in olive oil tastings, and enjoy the local cuisine. The tour operator also conducts photography so you can keep the memories for a lifetime. They’re also super flexible and offer pickup from your desired meeting point.
Located in Aquebogue, Paumanok is one of the first wineries you’ll encounter heading east. Drawing its name from the indigenous word for Long Island, Paumanok is an absolute staple. Be sure to try the Chenin Blanc – it’s a personal favorite!
Formerly Shinn, Rose Hill produces some of the most interesting wines found on Long Island. Check out their cozy tasting room located in an old farmhouse and taste through a wide range of options. Visit for a tasting, or extend your stay in one of the well-appointed guest rooms at their Farmhouse Inn.
Located in little Peconic, Lenz has established its name as one of the best all-around producers on the North Fork! And while you may be tempted to stick to the better-known varieties, check out Lenz’s Gewürztraminer for a dose of floral summer.
The Old Field is the history of North Fork wineries summarized in one tasting room. Still family-run, owner Ros will pour from their lineup and talk shop about the changing face of the North Fork, of winemaking, and of life in general. On chilly days, the small wood-burning stove warms the air and takes you back in time.
Perhaps the polar opposite, Sparkling Pointe’s bright and airy tasting room offers Long Island produced Sparkling Wine. All are made in the traditional method. Most surprising is the Carnaval Rouge made from Merlot, which brings earthy spice to balance out the residual sugar. Grab a chilled bottle for your picnic!
At Raphael, it’s easy to forget you’re on Long Island! The tasting room and estate have a very Napa-feel, and the wines also definitely are crafted in a very New World direction. Check out La Fontana, a Bordelais blend that’s remarkably versatile.
Since the North Fork is a bit of a trek, give yourself a full weekend there to really be able to decompress. After all, do you really want to have to drive back to New York after a day of wine tasting?
Located at Stirling Basin in Greenport, the Townsend Manor Inn provides classic East Coast lodging in a historic house. Additional options include the colonial Captain’s House or a Waterfront Cottage.
It was a struggle to decide where to place this because both the food and the accommodation are stellar! So, we’re going to recommend both. Stay for the weekend and make sure to dine here at least once. The wine list is unparalleled in the area with a well-planned mix of local and international selections.
Kill two proverbial birds with one stone by staying on-site at a vineyard! Located in Cutchogue, Sannino offers peace and quiet in the heart of Long Island wine country. Grab a glass or two of wine while you’re there!
We admit we’re suckers for old-school motels! Silver Sands hugs the Long Island Sound, allowing guests to just tumble right out onto the beach. It’s a great little find!
Get fueled up for a long day of wine tasting at Erik’s! Grab a classic egg sandwich or go big with a stack of pancakes. Your stamina will thank you later.
If you’re tired of wine tasting, switch it up with saké! Stirling offers an impressive range of sakés with classic Japanese fare to go with it.
Kate’s is the perfect stop-off for a light lunch or mid-afternoon snack. Guests are encouraged to create their own cheese boards or choose from a wide selection of pre-curated boards. Ask your server to match your board with a local wine available by the glass!
Since you’ll be in the heart of Long Island’s agriculture, why not take advantage of that? At Sang Lee, you can shop the freshest produce and put together a killer picnic basket.
And while Briermere Farms is certainly no secret, it would feel wrong to neglect it. Briermere’s pies are really the draw, so much so that there are often lines out the door of eager customers. They’re all stellar, but rhubarb’s sweet-sour balance is perhaps best of all.
Modern Snack Bar is an iconic North Fork eatery where time seems to have stood still. Indulge in nostalgia with a Rueben, sauerbraten or a slice of lemon meringue pie.
Check out this fabulous 100-year-old carousel in Greenport! Only $2 per ride, it’s open every day during the summer and on weekends off-season. You can pretend you have a kid around somewhere if you’re self-conscious of hopping on as an adult!
A little side trek off Main Road reveals a lovely little freshwater lake popular among fishermen. It also makes a delightful swimming hole if you are averse to all that saltwater.
If you’re ready for a break from wine, take a ferry from Greenport to Shelter Island, a small haven between the forks. Most of it is a nature preserve with fantastic hiking trails and bird watching.
Plan Your Getaway
The forks of Long Island can be very busy during summer weekends, so if possible, plan your trip for mid-week – or better yet, make an entire week out of it! However, fall might just be the most beautiful time of year to visit. Harvest sets in, and the colors of autumn are stunning. Unfortunately, the rest of the world is beginning to catch on to the attraction of the region, so plan accordingly. The North Fork is worth the trek any time you choose to go!
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