North Fork of Long Island
Long Island is one of America’s most diverse wine growing regions, producing exciting, high quality wines. A cool weather maritime climate, the region produces wine with moderate alcohol, intense aromatics, and crisp acidity.
When you visit the North Fork of Long Island one of the first things you'll notice is the sense of community. There is a deep rooted sense of pride in the people, the land, and the culture that makes this area unique. From the local produce, craft beverage producers, gorgeous coastline, flourishing restaurant scene, bustling tourism market, and the many maritime activities there is always something to do!
The History of Winemaking on Long Island
Long Island, and the North Fork in particular, have a long agriculture history, with potatoes being the primary crop starting in the 1900s. As the agricultural scene has developed on the East End many crops have been planted with the introduction on vineyards in the early 1970s.
The first vineyard was planted on Long Island in 1973 by Alex and Louisa Hargrave. Pioneers in the industry, they were followed by a group of enthusiastic investors, grape growers, and winemakers bringing a wide range of experience from across the globe. One of those early winemaking pioneers was our own Russell Hearn who moved to Long Island in 1990. Over the last several decades Russell has made his mark on the Long Island industry as winemaker for several well know wineries, as an advocate for the industry and New York State agriculture, and most recently as founder of Premium Wine Group, a custom crush facility encouraging small, fine quality wine producers like Suhru Wines to flourish.
Over the last several decades the Long Island wine region has seen dramatic growth. Long Island winemakers use of traditional practices as well as creative innovation has led to a rich, unique, wine culture that has caught the attention of wine experts from all around the word. Now, with several decades of experience under our belt the Long Island wine region and the North Fork of Long Island has grown into one of the most exciting up-and-coming wine regions in the country with 38+ tasting rooms and over 50 wineries on the island. Explore all that the North Fork has to offer on the North Fork Wine Trail!
The North Fork Terroir
One of the determining factors in the characteristics or "personality" of a wine is climate and the location where that grape was grown, also known as it's terroir. Terroir is defined as the complete natural environment in which a wine is produced. A number of factors contribute to this including the soil, topography, and climate.
On the North Fork of Long Island our terroir is derived from our glacial soils, cool maritime climate and native flora. The soils have excellent internal drainage, modest fertility, and moderate water-holding capacity which control and limit the impact of the periodic summer rains, controlling vine growth and promoting grape ripening in the fall. Our long summers are tempered by cooling breezes off the Long Island Sound and Atlantic Ocean that prevents excessive summer heat. The surrounding water gives off warmth extending summer into a mellow fall, allowing ample time for the fruit to ripen on the vine.
Our cool climate and proximity to the ocean greatly influences the grapes grown on Long Island. Most similar in climate to Bordeaux, France the East End has embraced "old-world" vinifera grape varieties.