When I lived in Charlottesville, VA, we used to go wine tasting a fair amount. There are numerous vineyards in the area, and each one is in a more beautiful setting than the last. We're talking rolling hills, farms, mountains in the background, with decent wine to boot. Okay, there are some where the wine isn't exactly the best, but at the end of the day, who cares? It's a beautiful setting and the weather stays warm until November - what could be more relaxing than a free wine tasting (there is one vineyard that offers 11 wines to taste!) followed by a glass of wine and some cheese out in the country?
This weekend, Wright and I went on a vineyard tour of the North Fork, Long Island vineyards, with three wine tasting stops as well as visits to farms and bakeries. Picturing the two of us frolicking through the fall weather, picking pumpkins and sipping on wine, I was sold the minute I heard about it. Well, if any of you were in New York this weekend, you'll know that the weather wasn't exact the kind you'd like to frolic in. More like hide from. It was snowing in some areas!
With temperatures hovering around freezing, walks through the vines were not on the agenda. And let me tell you, the clientele at these vineyards were just a little bit different from the UVA student/Charlottesvillian crowd at Virginian vineyards. I'll be brief: there were no cars in these parking lots, only limos. Of the super stretch, tacky as possible (even one double decker that held 60 people!) variety. And the relaxing glass of wine? The vineyards were packed to the gills! The cold day was not going to stop these New Yorkers and their enormous bachelorette parties!
Okay, enough about the hilarity that is Long Island. I shouldn't be so harsh, because at the end of the day, the vineyards were of course beautiful and the wine wasn't bad. Of the three vineyards we went to, there was one that would definitely be worth a return visit - Peconic Bay Winery. It was our last stop, and was by all accounts the best. They had a live band playing in a heated tent, with fires set up outside in case you wanted to wander and brave the cold. The wine was delicious and the tasting was organized - we had a long table to all sit at, and a waitress came and poured each glass for us. This may not sound novel, but compared to the crowds at the place before this, it was a major treat!
We also stopped at a farm to pick pumpkins and - yes - go on a hayride! We got hot cider and lots of pumpkins, and enjoyed walking around, even in the cold. Our final stop was at Briermere Farms, where we picked up delicious fresh pies and a bag of apples. If you ever find yourself on the Northfork, this is a must! The smell of pies was heavenly, and we had trouble narrowing it down to two (we ended up with apple rhubarb and cherry raspberry). With wine and pie in tow, the drive back to the city was more than enjoyable, and a lovely end to a great day. It was a wonderful adventure and I have to give huge credit to the UVA Club for organizing such a great day.