Winterfest: Live on the Vine

Looking for a weekend or day escape from the grey, snowy city?  The North Fork of Long Island is just a few hours drive, Jitney or train ride away. Now to be totally honest, just because the North Fork is on the Long Island Sound, doesn’t mean the days will be bright and sunny or even warmer. But there is wine. Lots and lots of wine to keep you warm. And for the next few weekends, a bit of jazz to pass the time as well.

This weekend, through March 16 marks the 7th Annual Live on the Vine festival. Both Saturdays and Sunday, live jazz performances talk place at about a half a dozen wineries between 1 and 5 or 6 pm.  $20 gets you into the performance, plus a glass of wine to keep you warm. And if you’re looking to make it a weekend, rather than day trip, there are plenty of deals going on. My first choice is always Andrew’s Legacy.

Over the years I’ve been to almost every winery out on the North Fork, and finally hit up the Hampton spots–Channing Daughters and Wolffer Estates–this past weekend. So I know my way around. And as with most things, I have favorites for every moment, whether it’s a cozy tasting room to sit indoors, a sprawling vineyard to take in at sunset, or a really good glass of wine. So what’s the best winery to take in a glass of wine and earful of jazz?


Bedell Cellars

Bedell is hands down one of the most beautiful wineries in Long Island. Whether you’re inside by their tasting room, upstairs in their corner loft or outside with a winter “indoor” treatment, it’s the perfect place to sit back and sip wine while allowing music to rush over you. In general, I’m not as quick to rush to Bedell for a tasting, but I always make a point of it being one of the last stops of the day, to relax with a glass of wine as day turns to evening.


Sparkling Pointe

As you might guess from their name, Sparkling Point specialize in sparkling wines. Not something I’m always in the mood for, but the modern tasting room, almost always filled with music (even outside of the Live on the Vine festivities) is perfect to lose yourself in. Their space is vast, but well outfitted with cozy corners and tables for couples or just a few. I don’t know if they did this intentionally, but I swear the place was built for perfect acoustics. Or maybe that’s just the sparkling wine talking.


Coffee Pot Cellars

I’ve been a fan of Coffee Pot Cellars, far before they opened their tiny tasting room last May, when they once sat as an occasional feature in the Winemaker’s Studio. Their tasting room is petit, a large bar taking up most of the space, lined with shelves of local artisanal jams and honey. I’ve never seen music there, and frankly, I’m not sure where they’ll put the jazz duo or trio, but I have faith that they can transform their space into beauty. And the wine is not to be missed.

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