Sign up for our Newsletter

The winter edition of the northforker Long Island Wine Press is being delivered to a winery near you this weekend.

The latest issue, which features a 1o-page cover spread on cozy winter spots, is being delivered between Wading River and Orient today. Locations in Western Suffolk County and beyond will be getting copies later this week.

Other features in the winter edition include a profile by Louisa Hargrave on winemaker Kelly Urbanik Koch of Macari Vineyards; a Q&A with Laurel Lake Vineyards tasting room manager Derek Gerard; a Winterfest story and events calendar; and a profile on chef Rosa de Carvahlo Ross of Scrimshaw in Greenport.

Also included in the Wine Press is a guide to 12 local wines you should sip this year and a new and improved Wine Country map.

Pick up a copy today and follow northforker this week as we post many of these stories to our site.

Below is a letter from Long Island Wine Council president Steven Bate welcoming readers to the latest edition. We’ll see you at the wineries!

Steven Bate
Steven Bate

What’s my favorite Long Island wine?

I get that question at least once a week in the Wine Council office. It’s difficult to answer, not only because we represent numerous wineries, but also because there are just too many fun variables to consider, whether food pairing or “mood pairing”. Our region’s wines are perfect accompaniments to a wide range of dining experiences and activities, enjoyable in front of a cozy fireplace during winter, on a warm ocean beach in the summer, and clearly at mealtimes paired with any course on the menu. The fact is that we produce a wonderfully diverse selection of excellent wines. And very few, if any, wine regions around the world share the same abundance of superb local produce, seafood, poultry and meats to appreciate them with.

It’s also hard to pick just one wine because there are now so many great choices. Having just celebrated our 40th Anniversary, it’s impressive how much we’ve grown since the Hargraves planted the first vineyard in 1973: by the end of the 1970s there were 6 vineyards; by the end of the 1980s there were 26; by the end of the 1990s there were 38, and now we have over 60 licensed producers on Long Island.

This is first and foremost a testament to the conditions for growing vinifera grapes on Long Island. It’s not always easy, but our vineyard managers have truly become some of the best in the world, ensuring that our winemakers have the optimal fruit to work with every year, regardless of whatever Mother Nature has in store for us. It also helps that every couple of years Long Island enjoys near perfect growing conditions. Such was the case this past year: 2013 will clearly be considered one for the ages, even better than the recent milestone vintages of 2010 and 2007.

So when someone asks us about our favorite Long Island wines, its best to turn the question around: “what kinds of wines do you like?” Almost everyone has personal preferences so we’ve just added a great new feature to our website ( to enable wine lovers can search for their favorite styles or grapes and then cross-reference them to the local wineries that offer them. There is also general information about the grapes that we grow on Long Island, their taste profiles, and food pairing possibilities for the different styles we produce. This will be a very useful resource for visitors planning a trip to our region or for those looking to purchase Long Island wines where they live.

We’re also planning a number of activities in 2014 to enhance the wine tasting experience. Following on the success of the Taste North Fork shuttle program over Veterans Day, the Wine Council was very fortunate to receive a significant grant from Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development program to develop and promote transportation alternatives to our region in 2014. We expect to add more free shuttle weekends and to form partnerships with the LI Railroad, as well as with major car rental and airline companies to facilitate access for visitors without their own cars.

There is no question that winery events are an increasingly popular and important part of the wine tasting experience in our region, drawing thousands of visitors every year. Certainly we’re looking forward to the 7th Annual Long Island Winterfest featured in this issue, but there is a wide range of activities offered by individual wineries on the events page throughout the year. From wine education to food pairing to live music, there is literally something for everyone which visitors will now be able to choose from using the new sortable event calendar on our website.

We’re anticipating another full and enjoyable summer of activities in Long Island wine country, culminating with our signature event, Harvest East End, on the North Fork in late August. There will be plenty of opportunities to visit our region, take advantage of the great local food and beautiful scenery, experience the many fun events, and of course take the time to taste your way through our many selections so that you will be able to answer your own question: what’s my favorite Long Island wine?

Steven Bate