Who could be a better chauffeur on a North Fork wine tour than a NoFo local? That would be one who is willing to drive you in the comfort of your own ride.
Cutchogue resident Michael Malkush has launched You Drink, I Drive, a designated driver business to keep people safe and help show off the place he knows so well.
“It was an idea that came to me while I was out in California,” Malkush said. “I read about in Napa, how they would offer designated drivers. It just clicked. It just seemed like something we need on the North Fork.
“We live locally and we know the area,” he continued. “We know the wineries and that’s what makes us different. We listen to what people are looking for on a day on the North Fork, and we take people where we want to go.”
And Malkush knows Long Island wine. He was a co-founder of the North Fork Wine Club, a wine of the month club shipping Long Island wines to members in over 40 states. He recently sold the club to focus on the new business, he said.
Whether the visit is to wineries, breweries, lunch, or all three, he said he will work with customers to plan their custom visit. He can accommodate families who want to bring their children or pets along and can pick everyone up at their homes, he said.
“We know the shortcuts to get places when there is traffic, and spots to find a nice meal to eat,” he said.
Malkush said he introduced the business in 2012, learning the tricks of the hospitality trade, before he really start promoting it In July. Since then he has been booked every weekend.
“I work with some of the B&Bs, that’s where I really started,” he said. “Then I started the website, and I have been busy every weekend since.”
Malkush said it started out as a family affair, only employing relatives as drivers. Now he is looking for additional drivers to expand the business.
Trips cost $40 an hour, not including gratuity. For more information visit www.youdrinkidrive.com, or call 734-(WINE) 9463.