Frequently Asked Questions
1. Where can I purchase grapes or juice for home winemaking?
Several wineries and/or vineyards sell their grapes, such as: Jamesport Vineyards (631- 722-5256) Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes; Clovis Point (631-722-4222); Comtesse Therese (631-765-6404) minimum half ton; Peconic Bay (631-734-7361).

2. I love Long Island wine. What can I do to support the industry?
Thanks for your support. You can join the Long Island Wine Ambassadors, a volunteer group which assists with regional pours, distribution of marketing materials, events and administration.  For mor information please call 631-722-2220 or e-mail info@liwines.com

3. What else can we do when visiting the East End wineries?
There are so many wonderful things to see and do on the East End. For tourism information please go to the Regional Links page and click on the appropriate links.

The Farm Stands with their fresh produce are a great attraction. You can find out more by clicking on the Long Island Farm Bureau's website link. An example of one of these is Long Island Wine Council member Harbes Family Farm which has two locations on the North Fork in Jamesport and Mattituck.

4. Do any of the wineries have Wine Clubs?
Yes, a number of them do, including: Bedell Cellars, Bridge Vineyards, Castello di Borghese, Channing Daughters Winery, Corey Creek Vineyards, Jamesport Vineyards, Laurel Lake Vineyards, Lieb Cellars, Macari Vineyards, Martha Clara, The Old Field Vineyards, Pellegrini Vineyards, Roanoke Vineyards, Sannino's Bella Vita Vineyard, The Tasting Room, Vineyard 48, Waters Crest Winery and Wolffer Estate. For further information, please visit their individual websites by following the links on the Vineyard & Winery page on this site.

5. Do the vineyards take coach tours?
All wineries require an advance reservation for coach tours and most have some type of fee. The majority of them do accept coaches on that basis. Please visit the Vineyard & Winery page for links to the individual vineyards' websites.

6. Do the vineyards accept tour buses?
Many of them do. Please see the Vineyard & Winery page for this information. All of them require advance reservations and some of them charge a fee for coach parties.

7. Are there any courses available where I can learn about wine?
Long Island Wine Country’s All-Inclusive wine making course - Vine University, where we teach wine-making to wine lovers who seriously want to learn how to make it themselves – while having fun at the same time. At Vine University, Waters Crest winemaker Jim Waters will conduct an in-depth winemaking experience and send you off with the tools you need to get started on your own. Enrollment: Please call (800) 551-0654 for information or check our website at www.waterscrestwinery.net for further information

Wine Camp is a 4 Day/3 Night escape on the North Fork. This is a vacation and life experience that includes meals, tastings, lodging and a case of wine to take home with you from the vineyards at which you work. There are several participating wineries that will host seminars/activities and tastings. For more information: www.winecamp.org.

Channing Daughters Winery on the South Fork holds wine tasting classes once a month, nine months out of the year (excluding Oct, Dec & Feb). The classes focus on specific grape-growing regions or grape varieties from around the world and are led by Channing Daughters winemaker and partner Christopher Tracy who also selects the wines. Reservations are necessary (call: 631-537-7224) and prices vary depending on the class.

Sannino's Bella Vita Vineyards, the first home winermaker's center on the North Fork, affords you the opportunity to experience the entire winemaking process from vine to wine. You will produce your own custom barrel of wine to share with family and friends. For more information, call 631-734-8282.

International Wine Centers offers beginner-to-advanced wine courses for wine professionals and wine lovers who are serious about learning. The programs include the courses of the respected Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET®) in London, which are the traditional preparation for those who aspire to become Master of Wine candidates; these courses include exams that enable students to earn internationally-recognized WSET credentials. Classes take place in Manhattan and Connecticut. For details on the classes, visit www.internationalwinecenter.com or call 212-627-7170

Another great opportunity now available is Wine Spectator magazine's on-line wine school, launched last year. WineSpectatorSchool.com offers comprehensive wine courses for consumers and trade professionals who want to enhance their understanding and appreciation of wine. The curriculum includes modules that highlight the Long Island wine region and tutored tastings that recommend our wines.

8. Where can I buy Long Island wine?
Aside from at the wineries themselves, you can find Long Island wines on the menu at many top Long Island and New York City restaurants and in a growing number of retail stores in New York City, on Long Island and elsewhere in the Northeast. In addition, a few wineries have distribution in Florida, California and elsewhere. For more detailed information, please go to the vineyards & winery page on this site and go to the individual wineries' web sites.

9. Which wineries have half bottles of wine available?
Bouke' - Bouquet Red Dessert Wine & Bouquet White Dessert Wine, both 375 ml.
Jamesport - 631-722-5256: Island Blanc; Island Rouge; Late Harvest Riesling
La Comtesse Therese - 631-871-9194: 2001 Traditional Merlot
Martha Clara - 631-298-0075: Ciel Dessert Wine & custom favors
Palmer - 631-722-9463: Custom gifts and favors Red blend $6.00/ White blend $5.00 includes custom label.
Peconic Bay Winery: 631-734-7361, Barrel & Steel fermented Chardonnay
Pindar - 631-734-6200: Cabernet Port; Late Harvest Gewurztraminer; Johannesburg Riesling Ice Wine
Pugliese - 631-734-4057: Late Harvest Riesling, Late Harvest Niagara
Wolffer - 631-537-5106: 2001 La Ferme Martin Chardonnay, 2000 La Ferme Martin Merlot

10. Do any companies do tours of the wineries?
There are a number of different companies that offer bus and limousine tours of the vineyards. Four Long Island Wine Council affiliate members to consider are:

Long Island Wine Tours
www.longislandwinetours.com
Call: 631-775-8686
E-mail: liwinetours@optonline.net

Long Island Vineyard Tours
www.livineyardtours.com
Call: 718-946-3868
E-mail: livineyardtours.com

Regency Transportation
www.regencylimos.com
Call: 631-543-2500
E-mail: regencylimo@aol.com

Vintage Tours
www.northfork.com/tours
Call: 631-765-4689
E-mail: vintagetour1@aol.com

11. When was the the LI Wine Region established?
The first commercial vineyard was planted in Cutchogue on the North Fork of Long Island in 1973. Seventeen acres were planted by Alex and Louisa Hargrave, who are considered to be the founders of Long Island's modern day wine industry.   Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc were planted in 1973. In 1974 they planted Chardonnay, Merlot, and Riesling. Their winery, Hargrave Vineayards opened two years later.  Today, there are over 60 licensed producers on Long Island with more than 40 open to the public for tastings.

12. How many visitors do the wineries host per annum?
The list of enthusiastic wine lovers has grown every year. We hosted 500,000 visitors in 2000 and 940,000 in 2003. Last year we estimate there were 1.3 million visitors to Long Island Wine Country!

13. Do all vineyards have their own winery?
No, some vineyards only grow grapes and sell them to various wineries. There are currently 52 vineyards on Long Island with 26 wineries open to the public.

14. How many wineries/vineyards are open to the public?
The Long Island Wine Council has 37 member wineries. There are 35 tasting rooms open to the public, 2 by appointment only and 1 soon to be opened. The wineries open to the public are in the following locations:

29 on the North Fork
3 on the South Fork
2 elsewhere in Suffolk County
1 in Brooklyn

15. Do any of the wineries host weddings?
Yes, the member wineries which entertain weddings are:

Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard (631-462-6602)
Bedell Cellars/Corey Creek (631-734-7537)
Castello di Borghese (631-734-5111)
Clovis Point (631-722-4222)
Diliberto Winery (631-722-3416)
Duck Walk Vineyards (Water Mill: 631-726-7555; Southold: 631-765-3500)
Harbes Family Vineyard (631-298-0700)
Jamesport Vineyards (631-722-5256)
Jason's Vineyard (631-926-8486)
Laurel Lake Vineyards (631-298-1420)
Macari Vineyards & Winery (631-298-0100)
Martha Clara Vineyards (631-298-0075)
Mattebella Vineyards (888-628-8323)
The Old Field (631-765-2465)
Osprey's Dominion Vineyards (631-765-6188)
Palmer Vineyards (631-722-9463)
Peconic Bay Winery (631-734-7361)
Pellegrini Vineyards (631-734-4111)
Pindar Vineyards (631-734-6200)
Raphael (631-765-1100)
Roanoke Vineyards (631-727-4161)
Sherwood House (631-298-1396)
Shinn Estates Vineyards (631-804-0367)
Sparkling Pointe (631-765-0200)
Vineyard 48 (631 734-5200)
Wölffer Estate (631-537-5106)

For further information, visit the individual wineries web sites by clicking on their links on the Vineyards & Wineries page on our website.

16. Do Long Island wineries do tastings and tours?
Yes. The majority of wineries do have tasting rooms and some offer tours - either self-guided or guided. Check out the Vineyards & Wineries page on this site for further details.

All wineries require that buses and limousines have advance reservations for tastings and tours.

Wine Related Questions

1. What use is a vintage date? Is vintage date related to quality, if so, how? What types of wine do vintages effect and why? What criteria defines a good vintage?
Vintage relates to the year that the wine grapes were picked so, for example, the grapes that were harvested this year will be bottled as 2011 vintage wine. It applies to all wines made from grapes harvested in the same year. If you see a wine labelled n/v it means non-vintage and typically means it's a blend of wine made from different years' grapes.

It can be important because so much of the wine's final quality depends on the growing season for the grapes; if it was a tough growing season (and there can be many reasons for this) then to make a high quality wine can be more of a challenge etc. Vintages are a good guideline for a better or best year. However, it is not typically an indicator of 'bad' wine.

On Long Island, the level of experience and expertise that the vineyard managers and winemakers have today ensures, whether it is a stellar growing year or one where the weather doesn’t fully cooperate, they still produce consistently good quality wine.

2. How many licensed wine producers are there on Long Island?
There are 57 licensed wine producers on Long Island:
51 on the North Fork
4 on the South Fork
2 in western Suffolk County

3. I've heard that some wine producers make their wines at a place called Premium Wine Group. What is it please?
It is one of only 12 custom-production facilities in the world. It opened in Mattituck on the North Fork of Long Island in August 2000. The Premium Wine Group processed 545 tons of grapes in its first harvest for 10 fruit-to-bottle customers and seven other existing wineries; in 2002 692 tons were processed for 12 fruit-to-bottle customers and eight other existing wineries. The expectation for the 2003 harvest is 750 tons as the North Fork wine production increases.

4. Which vineyards on Long Island sell their grapes?
Most of our wineries use the majority of their grapes for their own purposes. However, there are some who either have surplus or who do not use their grapes for making wine:
Ackerly Pond Vineyards (Jill Blum 631-765-6861 email rayvin5@aol.com)

North Fork of Long Island
Merlot 40 tons
Cabernet Franc 25 tons

Bridge Estate Vineyards - Greg Sandor, Cutchogue, Long Island, email gsandor@verizon.net 631-236-7278
Merlot 30 tons
Cabernet Sauvignon 20 tons

Martha Clara Vineyards (Ken Schneider)
631-298-2649

Jamesport - various (Ron Goerler) 631 839 8329

Mudd Vineyards (Steve Mudd 631-765-1248) - has the following grapes for sale: Merlot - Pinot Noir- Cabernet Sauvignon - Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay. The minimum purchase is one ton.

Reed Jarvis email reedjarvis@optonline.net or 631-252-8517
This is premium Long Island Fruit, grown on VSP, shoot positioned, leaf plucked ready to go. $1800/ton
4 tons Merlot
4 tons Cab Sauvignon

5. What are the ingredients in wine?
From Knowing and Making Wine by Emile Peynaud. John Wiley and Sons, NY, 1981, p.36.
Sample Detailed Analysis of a Red Bordeaux, 1976:
Alcohol, Reducing sugars, tartaric acid, malic acid, lactic acid, succinic acid, glycerol, butylene glycol nitrates, anthocyanins, tannins, carbon dioxide.

6. Where can I buy grapevines?
For hybrid and American table selections, a lot of catalog nurseries have good selections. Many local garden centers also carry grapevines or can order them for you. For hybrid and American winegrapes, there are several nurseries in upstate NY. Ditto for vinifera winegrapes. Commercial vineyards buy vines from upstate NY and from California. Call the Home Horticulture Diagnostic Lab for suggestions.

7. Who can I contact for information on growing grapes, as I have some vines in my backyard.
Cornell Cooperative Extension has a Horticulture Diagnostic Lab, phone 631-727-4126 mornings. Walk in service is available during business hours at the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County building, 423 Griffing Ave., Riverhead. The lab can test soil for pH, diagnose plant problems and offer management suggestions. Publications for the home gardener are also available. People interested in planting commercial vineyards should call CCE Viticulturist Alice Wise at 631-727-3595.

8. I have this wild vine in the woods next to my house, how can I trim it and is the fruit any good?
The winegrapes grown on Long Island belong to the genus and species Vitis vinifera. There are many other species of grapes. Vitis labrusca varieties include Concord, still widely grown in upstate NY. Most of the wild vines seen locally are either Vitis riparia or Vitis aestivalis. Trimming or pruning a wild vine can easily be done to revive an overgrown vine or shape it to fit in a certain space. Wild vines can also be propagated by selecting a piece of cane (slightly larger in diameter than a pencil is good) with buds. This can be rooted and replanted elsewhere. Keep baby vines watered in dry weather and protected from nibbling rabbits and deer. As for the fruit ... it is good if you like it!

9. Are there any courses on grapegrowing and winemaking?
There are many college level courses that would be helpful to an aspiring member of the wine industry such as soils, agronomy, microbiology, chemistry and horticulture courses. Suffolk County Community College in Riverhead has run a semester long Wines and Vines course; check with the college for status of the course. Wineries often offer educational programs. These may be listed on the LIWC website and/or the website of an individual winery. Belonging to a wine club and receiving a winery's newsletter may also alert you to educational opportunities. For students interested in viticulture and enology majors, Cornell University is in the planning stages for a such a major; outside of Cornell, the best opportunities are offered on the west coast - UC Davis, Fresno State and Oregon State to name a few. That said, an ambitious undergraduate might be able to do an independent study project with a professor who works with a wine industry in his/her state. Wineries can now be found in all 50 states so there are a number of states with significant grape and wine research programs.

10. I am interested in starting my own vineyard. Who can I contact to help me do my research on expenses I will incur,costs,soil quality etc.?
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County has a research viticulturist on Long Island who can provide you with information about site selection and preparation for a commercial vineyard. She can also discuss general industry trends and issues. Her contact number is 631-727-3595. For assessment of a particular site, a specific vineyard design and/or a business plan, it is strongly advised that you work with a local consultant if you have no experience in this field. Consultants can assist with all facets of vineyard layout, purchase of vines and vineyard installation. Mudd Vineyards 631-765-1248 are highly regarded here as a consultant.

11. I am a home winemaker and I am interested in purchasing wine grapes from a Long Island vineyard.
Local vineyards occasionally sell grapes to home winemakers though they are so busy in the fall that it is often difficult to meet the needs of home winemakers. Green Markets in NYC often sell winegrapes from California and many home winemakers start out this way (do a web search for "green market new york city" to view a list of the different markets). Alternatively, there are several wine supply stores and winery supply catalogs which sell juice that can be fermented by a home winemaker. Regardless of your strategy, be sure to read some reference material as winemaking requires vigilance and attention to detail.

12. What is terroir?
As the concept of terroir is most prevalent in France, it is perhaps fitting that there is no exact translation of the term. But generally speaking, terroir refers to the distinctive and inimitable environment of a specific vineyard. While the existence of such a holistic trait is debated, characteristics such as altitude, slope, soil content, drainage, exposure to sun and ambient climate certainly go a long way in determining the particular character of a given wine. And while some have dismissed the notion of terroir as little more than self-serving mysticism, the concept can explain why even bordering vineyards under the same human management produce wines of divergent style, if not quality. (Thanks to Wine Spectator On-Line www.winespectator.com)

13. What is the difference between rating of wine and ranking of a winery establishment?
Ratings of individual wines are based on the quality of a specific wine tasted by, in most cases, a panel of judges or, in some cases, by dedicated wine writers. Ratings can be helpful to consumers as they are based on what is in the glass and provide a guideline on which wines to try. However, tasting wine still remains subjective and what one person enjoys does not necessarily mean another person will do so. Ranking of establishments, on the other hand, is based on who owns which winery, reputation of the winemaker and other historical criteria. While rankings can be helpful if prepared, they do not necessarily guarantee good wine and do not reflect the quality of wines as they are presented in the glass, which is what ultimately counts.

14. What makes Long Island a good wine producing region?
Long Island, an island jutting 100 miles into the Atlantic Ocean, is a maritime region with a unique combination of climate, soil characteristics and growing conditions ideal for quality wine grape production. Its sandy soils and maritime climate have provided long growing seasons and mild winters, which has encouraged the planting of Europe’s noble vinifera grapes on almost all acres planted.

15. What appellations exist in the Long Island wine region?
There are three existing appellations (American Viticultural Areas) approved by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) - The North Fork of Long Island, The Hamptons and Long Island AVA. This means that at least 85% of the wine must come from grapes grown under the specific appellation in order for the above wording to be used on the label.

Long Island is becoming increasingly respected as an important premium wine producing region. The addition of a Long Island appellation to the two existing appellations -- The North Fork of Long Island and The Hamptons -- in April 2001 allows for further expansion beyond the two Forks of Long Island’s East End, while at the same time protecting the overall integrity of the region’s wines.

16. Which grape varietals are grown on Long Island?
The majority of grapes planted are vinifera grapes, with the main varietals being merlot, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay.

Other varietals planted include chenin blanc, dolcetto, gewurztraminer, lemberger, malbec, petit verdot, pinot blanc, pinot gris, pinot noir, riesling, sangiovese, sauvignon blanc, semillon, shiraz (syrah), tocai friulano, and viognier.

17. How many cases of wine do the Long Island wineries produce per annum?
Around 500,000 cases

18. What is the percentage breakdown of varietals planted?
As of April 2001 the percentage of varietals planted on Long Island, according to Cornell Cooperative Extension's Viticultural Research Department, was as follows:
Merlot = 35%
Chardonnay = 30%
Cabernet Sauvignon = 10%
Cabernet Franc = 10%
Other reds = 10%
Other whites = 5%

19. How many acres of grapes are there on the East End of LI?
More than 3,000 acres planted with more on the way.
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Mailing Address:
Long Island Wine Council
5120 Sound Avenue
PO Box 600
Riverhead, NY 11901

Business office:
631-722-2220

Business fax:
631-722-2221

E-mail:
info@liwines.com