New York makes the third most wine of any state in the US. There are a couple things you can do with that tidbit of information. You can repeat it the next time you want to make an awkward silence even more awkward. Or you can hop in a car, and check out where all that wine is made for yourself. If you go with the latter option, the vineyards on this guide are great places to start.
Benmarl overlooks the Hudson River, and serves wood-fired pizzas you can eat outside on a deck while you wonder why Adirondack chairs aren’t called Hudson Valley chairs. In other words, there are lots of reasons to drive 90 minutes north to this winery in Marlboro, not least of which are their estate-bottled wines. Make a reservation through their website for proof that good cab franc can be grown outside France on a vineyard that’s both family and dog-friendly.
Brotherhood, America's Oldest Winery
This winery in Washingtonville produced its first commercial vintage 16 years before Napoleon’s nephew even had the estates of Bordeaux classified. It’s the oldest operating winery in the country, and while tours of its underground cellar are currently not being offered, you can still reserve tastings for up to six people Wednesday through Sunday.
Old York Cellars
New Jersey is dubbed The Garden State. And you know what grows in gardens? Wine grapes. Well, it depends how you define garden, but regardless, New Jersey makes some good wine. You’ll find some of the state’s best at Old York Cellars a little over an hour drive into farm and horse country in the Sourland Mountains. Sit on the big outdoor patio overlooking the vineyard, and pack your table with various wines and tapas any day between 12-6pm.
Torne Valley Vineyards
Walking around the grounds of this vineyard in Milburn feels like strolling around Storm King, but with grapevines instead of sculptures. They only make a couple of wines, but if you’re more interested in finding a gorgeous spot for a day date than listening to details about whole cluster fermentation, drive an hour north of the city to Torne Valley Vineyard.
Whitecliff Vineyard & Winery
Despite what your friend who just watched Sideways for the first time tells you, there’s no best or worst wine grape. And no matter what your wine preferences are, you’re likely to find something you like at Whitecliff. In the shadow of steep, tree-lined cliffs, this vineyard in Gardiner grows more than 20 different varietals, and you can try all of their sustainably-produced, vegan wines in tasting flights after making a reservation through their website.
City Winery’s first location outside of a major city is a 22-acre project in Montgomery that’s centered around a converted mill. Along with a restaurant, barrel room, and event space, about one-third of the property is devoted to growing wine vines for the in-house wine program. Those wines are offered on tap in the tasting room, with flights available at outdoor tables overlooking a river that provides hydropower for the two-century-old industrial space. Check their website for reservations, and information about their live music series.
Ask someone who uses the word terroir about special terroirs around the world, and they might mention Burgundy or the Rhone Valley. After they’ve caught their breath, tell them you know another, and it doesn’t require a plane, much less a car to get to. It’s the Brooklyn Navy Yard. On the roof of a building in the midst of unmarked warehouses, you’ll find rows of grape vines at Rooftop Reds. Make a reservation for up to 15 people, or go on Wednesday evening for a guided tasting and explanation of how to make wine in the middle of Brooklyn.