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If you can avoid the traffic, a long summer weekend in Long Island Wine country is well worth the journey.
The media loves to portray The Hamptons as the summer playground of the rich, famous, naughty and downright absurd. While there is some truth to that, the majority of people who enjoy the south shore of Long Island enjoy simple, all-American summer cookouts with some great Long Island wines. Long Island offers a beautiful slice of wine country that is well worth a visit.
Most of the wineries are on Long Island's North Fork, which is not only the polar opposite of the Hamptons scene (think more farm country, less Ferrari), it's also difficult to get to from the South Fork, where all the beaches are. Fortunately, two of Long Island's best wineries are on the South Fork, not far from the scenic summer spots: Wölffer Estate and Channing Daughters.
Wölffer is a beautiful, 175-acre property in Sagaponac, NY, with 55 acres planted as vineyards. There are also stables, paddocks, a field for polo and a great tasting room with terraces overlooking the vineyards. The wines are delicious, particularly the rosé, but winemaker Roman Roth produces a wide range of reds and whites with Long Island character--but a distinct European influence.
Channing Daughters, on the other hand, is eccentric yet entirely enjoyable, producing wines from varietals that most people haven't heard of--and blending them together into unique, tasty, affordable wines. With more than 20 selections, there's something for everyone here.
When you're done tasting wines, try to take in a little kayaking on Georgica Pond. Or just relax on any one of the dozens of public beaches with a cold bottle of rosé. Finish it all off by sitting down for dinner at Sen, an amazing Japanese restaurant in Sag Harbor. This is the highest-quality sushi and sashimi around, but there's also a great saké list, as well as a vibrant bar scene.
Bonus points if you spot Lindsey Lohan or Madonna.
What's your favorite Long Island wine? Tell us here.