Looking for a place to warm your toes this coming winter?
The NoFo’s tasting rooms are the place to be if you need a respite from frigid temps and what can seem to be never-melting snow.
Order a flight and snuggle up near the fireplaces at these six cozy North Fork spots.
Sherwood House Vineyards
Prominently positioned on Main Road in Jamesport, Sherwood House earns its status as a cozy North Fork retreat courtesy of its rustic charm and warm wooden accents.
The tasting room’s impressive stone fireplace and well-placed couches appear to beckon guests, encouraging them to sink into their depths and enjoy the sound of live music, played every Saturday.
Not surprisingly, the winery’s sense of intimacy is a direct result of owners Dr. Charles and Barbara Smithen’s typically humble approach.
Longing to live among the North Fork’s myriad vineyards, the Smithens found their dream home in Mattituck in 1996 when they laid eyes on an 1860 farmhouse complete with 38 acres of former corn and potato fields — lands also well-suited, it turned out, for growing grapes.
Initially, the couple opted to plant chardonnay vines from Burgundian clones, but after careful research and planning has since added merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and petit verdot to their impressive repertoire. Later, those grapes met their maker in the able hands of Gilles Martin, a French native who holds a Master of Oenology degree from France’s prestigious Université Montpellier I.
Since joining the team, Sherwood House has consistently been on the receiving end of numerous awards, its chardonnay ranking sixth in the U.S. by the Beverage Tasting Institute and attracting visitors from across the globe.
Jedediah Hawkins Inn
Bountiful in its sense of Old World charm and rustic elegance, Jedediah Hawkins Inn in Jamesport is a veritable tour de force on the North Fork when it comes to setting a mood.
The inn’s soothing atmosphere is created as soon as guests walk into its dimly lit rooms, the woody aroma of the venue’s multiple fireplaces infused with the faint sense of incense.
Visitors are met with an equal sense of warmth from their hostess, whose kind smile conveys an eagerness to make your meal or stay as comfortable as possible. Indeed, the inn prides itself on its long and enduring reputation for providing genuine hospitality, good food and an exceptional wine list.
Modeled in the Italianate style complete with ornate architectural details and a belvedere, Jedediah Hawkins was built in 1863, when it was then revered as one of the finest residences on the North Fork. Years later, after the house fell into disrepair, it was blessedly saved from the wrecker’s ball and meticulously restored.
Today, the cozy five-suite property boasts gas fireplaces and private bathrooms, along with a fine-dining restaurant featuring a seasonal menu that, in the fall, includes selections like duck wings, butternut squash soup and lamb.
Don’t miss the inn’s foremost attraction, the authentic speakeasy, located downstairs. During the winter months Jedediah Hawkins Inn hosts “Sessions in the Speakeasy,” a series of workshops led by some of the best, most approachable experts in their fields. The workshops are a nod to the wealth of high-quality wine, beer and spirits made on Long Island’s East End. Sessions feature locally made products served with a locally sourced signature tasting menu prepared by the inn’s executive chef, Richard Kanowsky.
Evoking the feel of an old library, Roanoke Vineyards in Riverhead encourages guests to relax in one of its sitting-area chairs with a text from one of the winery’s two bookcases.
Things get even more inviting at the Sound Avenue tasting room with “Fireside Fridays,” a regularly scheduled event where guests are encouraged to belly up to the winery’s stone and gas fireplace while enjoying their favorite glass of vino, along with complimentary samples of pasta fagioli, eggplant rollitini or chicken cordon bleu.
Thanks to its location on the western end of the North Fork Wine Trail, Roanoke is an ideal first or last stop from Wine Country. But if you can’t get enough of this charming vineyard, go ahead — visit it twice in one trip. The Sound Avenue tasting room is open until 8 p.m. Friday and 9 p.m. Saturday.
The Old Field Vineyards
Rich in history and rustic charm, The Old Field Vineyards is a must-stop on any winter wine tour.
From the moment guests step into the barn-turned-tasting-room they’re greeted with the scent of the winery’s wood-burning stove and aroma of Old Field’s wines.
The warm feel of the former barn is enhanced with an assortment of mismatched oversized chairs and down-home style artwork lining the wooden walls.
Established in 1974 by Chris Baiz, the vineyard’s long history on the North Fork contributes to its charm.
After years of producing fruit for retail sale, Old Field began its winemaking journey with its 1997 pinot noir.
Sixteen years later, the winery has added merlot, cabernet franc, chardonnays, Blush de Noir and the newly released Blanc de Noir.
Baiz’s legacy continues with grandson Chris, his wife, Ros, and their two adult children, Perry and Ryan — the fourth and fifth generation of family members, respectively, to work at Old Field. The sixth generation? Well, that can be found in the owner’s family dog, Dekka, a 12-year-old mix who faithfully lies beside the winery’s wood-burning stove, offering friendly kisses to all who seek them.
With clean lines and white accents, Southold’s Sparkling Pointe offers guests a modern take on coziness while state-of-the-art fireplaces, a dramatic gold ceiling, colorful art and unique light fixtures delight the eye.
Specializing in the exclusive production of sparkling wine under the direction of Gilles Martin, Sparkling Pointe got its start more than two decades ago, when owners Tom and Cynthia Rosicki met each other at a debutante ball held at the Waldorf Astoria.
A few weeks later, bottle of champagne in hand, they toasted to their first date.
Some months after that, while cruising the Chesapeake Bay on their honeymoon, the pair stocked their boat with a variety of vintages, becoming enamored of the romance and magic inherent to sparkling wine — a love that led them, ultimately, to create Sparkling Pointe.
Vines & Hops
Seamlessly blending comfort with class, downtown Riverhead newcomer Vines & Hops is the ideal spot to share a chorizo and cheese plate with friends over a glass of top-rated wine or craft beer.
Decidedly unassuming from the street, the interior of this East Main Street tavern is visually enchanting, with sangria-colored walls, plush divans, an electric fireplace and soft, ambient lighting. Unique decorative touches like the curious collection of dead cedar trees that were salvaged from the wreckage of superstorm Sandy, hung from the café’s ceiling and then wrapped in white Christmas lights, lend charm to the generously sized space.
“We wanted it to be as relaxing as possible — almost as though you’re in your living room,” owner Jeff McKay says.
True to his word, customers are encouraged to move the café’s chocolate-brown sofas together and enjoy time with good company. Best of all? Couch-side bar service means you won’t even need to leave your seat.