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The North Fork Wine Trail
When Louisa and Alex Hargrave planted their first grapevines at their eponymous vineyard in 1973, they also planted the seeds of a new North Fork industry. Little more than a quarter century later, the area's burgeoning wine industry is attracting ever-more attention. (The Hargraves sold the winery in 1999 and the place was renamed Castello di Borghese Vineyard.)
Chardonnay and merlot together account for more than 60% of the varietals grown on Long Island; cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, sauvignon blanc, chenin blanc, malbec, pinot blanc, pinot gris, pinot noir, Riesling, and viognier are among the others planted here. Land devoted to vineyards on the East End exceeds 3,000 acres.
From Aquebogue to Greenport, 20-plus wineries and vineyards—the majority on or close to Routes 25 or 48—are open to the public for tastings and, at some, tours; most host special events as well. To follow the North Fork Wine Trail, take the last LIE exit (73) and follow it to Route 25 (via Route 58), where green "wine trail" road signs guide you to the wineries. Before making a special trip or taking a detour to visit a winery or vineyard, call to confirm hours. At the Tasting Room (2885 Peconic La., Peconic 631/765–6404), open Wednesday through Monday 11–6, you may try (and buy) wines from small North Fork producers not open to the public.
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