Long Island Wine Region - AVA
North Fork of Long Island AVA
The North Fork of Long Island American Viticultural Area region lies entirely in Suffolk County and is governed under the State of New York. The western boundary of the North Fork appellation is the 6 mile long boundary line separating Riverhead and Brookhaven Townships. The boundary starts at the mouth of Wading River and then becomes a straight-line cutting through Peconic River Park to meet the beginning of the Peconic River. From here on the boundary travels along with the river until it empties into Peconic Bay. It is here that the boundary lines become the three bodies of water. Peconic Bay accounts for the rest of the southern boundary, meeting the Atlantic Ocean at Orient Point. The entire length of the North Fork from its start at Riverhead Town line to Orient Point is approximately 40 miles. The North Fork is 6 miles wide at its widest point and less than .5 mile at its narrowest. The townships making up the area--Riverhead (78 square miles), Southold (69 square miles) and Shelter Island (11.5 square miles)--cover a combined total of 65,000 acres of land or 158 .5 square miles. Shelter Island, although separate from the main strip of land, is composed of the same soil association as those making up the remainder of the North Fork. The towns and villages making up the North Fork include: Aquebogue, Baiting Hollow, Bayview, Blixedon, Calverton, Cedar Beach, Centerville, Cutchogue, Dering Harbor, Eat Cutchogue, East Marion, East Mattituck, Estates of Wading River, Fishers Island, Greenport, Jamesport, Laurel, Mattituck, Nassau Point, Northville, Oregon, Orient, Orient Point, Peconic, Plum Island, am Island, Reeves Park, Riverhead, Roanoke, Robins Island, Shelter Island Heights, Shore Acres, South Jamesport, Southold, Stirling, Wading River, and Waterville.
The Hamptons, Long Island AVA
"The Hamptons, Long Island" viticultural area is located entirely within eastern Suffolk County, Long Island, New York. The viticultural area boundaries consist of all of the land areas of the South Fork of Long Island, New York, including all of the beaches, shorelines, islands and mainland areas in the Townships of Southampton and East Hampton including Gardiners Island, for a total size of 209 square miles. The boundarystarts at the intersection of Brookhaven and Southampton Town lines at the Peconic River and travels south approximately 10 miles along the Southampton/Brookhaven Township line until it reaches the dunes on the Atlantic Ocean near Cupsogue Beach in Eastport NY. Then the boundary proceeds east and west along the beaches, shorelines, islands and mainland areas of the entire South Fork of Long Island described on the "New York," "Providence," and "Hartford" U.S.G.S. maps until it reaches the Peconic River near Calverton at the beginning point. These boundaries consist of all of the land found in the Townships of Southampton and East Hampton including Gardiners Island. The northern boundary of the AVA is the Peconic Bay and the southern boundary is the Atlantic Ocean. Southampton Town has a total area of 139 square miles. East Hampton town consists of 70 square miles and stretches nearly 25 miles from Wainscott in the west to Montauk Point in the east. It is about six miles (10 km) wide at its widest point and less than a mile at its narrowest point. The town has jurisdiction over Gardiners Island, which is the largest privately owned island in the United States.
The grape growing region of the North Fork is encompassed within the area of the towns of Riverhead, Southold, and Shelter Island. This area, when compared to the South Fork, has distinctly different soil types. The difference in soil types begins north of the Peconic River and continues eastward toward Orient Point.
The major soil types which exit on the North Fork, according to the United States Soil Conservation Service, are as follows:
1. Carver-Plymouth-Riverhead Association: These soils are excessively well-drained and are very sandy, which may limit its farmability. They are located primarily on the perimeter of the North Fork and are usually rolling or sloping. The natural fertility of these soils is low and the rapid permeability of water through these soils make irrigation a desirable option for vineyards -in these areas. They are found mainly along the North Shore adjoining the Long Island Sound.
2. Haven-Riverhead Association: These soils are characteristically deep and somewhat level and are located further inland on the North Fork. They are well-drained and have a medium texture. Most of these soils have a moderate to high water holding capacity and crops respond well to lime and fertilizer when grown on these soils. Due to these factors, this soil association (which is the predominant one of the North Fork) is considered one of the best farming areas in Suffolk County.
The major soil types which exit on the South Fork, according to the United States Soil Conservation Service, are as follows:
1. Plymouth-Carver Association: These soils are rolling, hilly, deep and excessively drained. Characteristically, scrub oak and other minor trees are found as cover. Permeability is rapid and natural fertility is low. Most of these soils have never been farmed due to these factors and hence they are known to be poor supporters of crops.
2. Bridgehampton-Haven Association: These soils are deep and excessively drained and have a medium texture. It is its depth, good drainage and moderate to high available water-holding capacity that make this soil well-suited to farming. Most of these areas ate currently under cultivation of potatoes and vegetables. These soils are the main reason why South Fork potato and vegetable growers have consistently used less irrigation water than their North Fork counterparts.
3. Montauk-Montauk, Sandy Variant - Bridgehampton Association: These soils are deep and usually very sloping. Its steep slopes, irregular topography and a high water table limit the potential of this area for conventional farming, but may be very suitable for supporting grapes. Presently, most of this area is either idle or wooded.
4. Montauk, Sandy Variant - Plymouth Association: These soils are excessively drained and coarse textured. Sloping areas within this association also limit conventional farming practices. This loamy-sand is droughty but contains a black surface layer which is high in organic matter content. There is no indication that grapes cannot be grown on these soils.
5.Montauk-Haven-Riverhead Association: These soils are fairly well-drained and are located mainly on the northern side of the South Fork along Peconic Bay. The surface layer is a silt loam, with a fine sandy loam found at deeper levels. These soils are very deep and well-suited to cultivation.
The remainder of the soils on the South Fork consist of the Dune-Land-Tidal Marsh-Beach Association, which make up the beach and marshland areas, both of which are unsuitable for farming.
Westward from here and into New York City, the soil associations become even more foreign to those found on the Eastern End. It must also be pointed out that while various soil types found in western Long Island may be similar to those found on the North Fork, the encroachment of suburban development and industry on Long Island has made commercial agriculture and land available for it, almost nonexistent in the townships west of Brookhaven.
Long Island Wine Council
5120 Sound Avenue
PO Box 600
Riverhead, NY 11901