Get on the Vino Bus: Last Call for Winterfest in Long Island Wine Country


We’re not happy that it’s the last weekend for Winterfest, Long Island wine country’s annual celebration of music, food and, of course, wine. But it is a sign that spring is on the way (in fact, the weather this weekend is supposed to even be summery).

And it’s not too late to catch the acts, discounts and tastings available at wineries on both forks.

As teaser, the Edible show on NY1 took two recent trips to wine country, one to visit with winemaker Christopher Tracy of Channing Daughters Winery on the South Fork and another to visit with Ron Goerler of Jamesport Vineyards on the North Fork. Goerler is the president of the Long Island Wine Council, the promotional arm of the region’s wine industry. It was the Wine Council’s director, Steve Bate, who first created Wineterfest three years back. Bate, who formerly worked in diplomatic circles in France, is a big music afficianado and the notion of bringing jazz acts to wineries during the slow season seemed like a no brainer.

As Goerler notes, “It’s been a huge success.” And it’s a perfect chance to get your feet wet in New York City’s closest vine lands–scooping out those wineries, restaurants, B&Bs and other attractions that will only grow more inviting as the landscape comes to life over the next few months. You might also doublecheck Edible’s wine country guide from last fall, which included 3 days of itineraries. (And if you miss Winterfest, there’s always the ever-popular mecca for Empire State oenophiles, Brooklyn Uncorked on May 10, when wine country comes to the Big Apple.)

Winery performances are each 2 hours and cost $10 per person, and each ticket entitles those over 21 to a glass of wine and a chance to win a weekly drawing for a free East End hotel stay, a gift basket of Long Island wines and other special offers, all listed here. And here’s a digest of the weekend’s lineup:

FRIDAY, MARCH 18
7 pm: Hilton Garden Inn “Winterfest Warm-Up” with King Scallop Ensemble

SATURDAY, MARCH 19
1:30 pm: Raphael – Bob Cunningham Trio
3 pm: Martha Clara Vineyards – Sabroso Latin Jazz Ensemble
3 p.m. – Palmer Vineyards – Steve Salerno Trio
4:30 pm: Macari Vineyards & Winery – Kelley Suttenfield
4:30 pm: Jamesport Vineyards – Iris Ornig Trio
7 – 10 pm: Hotel Indigo, Riverhead – LIVE AT THE INDIGO

SUNDAY, MARCH 20
2 pm: Bedell Cellars – Lauren Kinhan
2 pm: Sparkling Pointe – Beleza Sol
3:30 pm: Raphael – Mambo Loco
3:30 pm: Clovis Point – Marc Devine Trio

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Brian is the editor at large of Edible East End, Edible Long Island, Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn. He writes from his home in Sag Harbor, New York, where he and his family tend a home garden and oysters. He is also obsessed with ducks, donuts and dumplings.