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Aug 25, 2017 1:35 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Round-Up: The Best Places To Sit Outside And Enjoy A Glass Of Wine (Or Two)

Sep 3, 2017 10:21 AM

Summer may officially be coming to an end, but we still have months and months to go until the weather turns chilly. With that in mind, embrace September as the finest month for wine tasting.

It’s hot, but not too hot. The days are still just-long-enough. And the August throngs have dispersed, leaving the East End a little more spacious—for a while, at least. Here are my favorite wineries for outdoor libations, while the weather holds.

Channing Daughters Winery

This Bridgehampton property sits on acreage owned by the Peconic Land Trust, and it’s impeccable as a result. The Bridgehampton site is 28 acres, although 50 percent of the Channing Daughters grapes come from sites on the North Fork. The winery’s late founder, sculptor Walter Channing, adorned the property with statuesque pieces, which visitors can walk among while tasting. Meanwhile, Channing Daughters, under the guidance of winemaker Christopher Tracy, has, among its collection, eight rosés in the 2016 vintage available to taste.

Mattebella Vineyards

Mattebella’s family-owned vineyard in Southold is open nearly all year—but you’ll want to visit when the weather is still warm so that you can sit outside and enjoy the vineyard view. An early 20th century barn has been converted into a “tasting cottage,” where tasters can enjoy seated service for private parties. For a more casual experience, Mattebella is peppered with pretty sitting areas, perfect for enjoying a flight of reds and whites (while eating through the small plates that Mattebella serves). There are pergolas over outdoor couches, metal bistro sets, and an abundance of wild flowers. Mattebella feels, in the best possible way, like a good friend’s gorgeous backyard.

Wölffer Estate Vineyard

Set back in Sagaponack’s farmland, Wölffer is a picturesque winery, with a tasting patio overlooking the vines. Visitors can sit at tables on the patio while ordering wine, cheese, and other bites. Winemaker Roman Roth’s rosés are famous on the South Fork; for the 2016 vintage, he has produced three, including Summer in a Bottle, Estate Rosé, and Grandioso. Those looking for a different sort of rosé (it is still pink season, after all) can opt for the No. 139 Dry Rosé Cider, a 355-milliliter bottle that is light, refreshing, and perfect on a warm fall afternoon.

Croteaux Vineyards

Few properties are as Provençal-sweet as Michael Croteau’s Croteaux Vineyards. This rosé-only compound in Southold features a delightful array of seating areas, including a pebbled courtyard garden shaded by a weeping cherry tree and an antique tasting barn. Wine-centric décor abounds. A wall made from empty rosé bottles tinkles like wind chimes with any gentle breeze. Visitors can recline on Adirondack chairs while sipping sparkling or still rosé (tasting flights change as the season progresses, depending on availability). On chillier days, heat lamps provide a warm boost to the open air seating areas, but for most of September you won’t need it. Croteaux is open daily through the fall until the wine runs out.

Kontokosta Winery

This expansive Greenport property features a glass-walled tasting barn, which faces a sloping lawn that leads to the bay. At the minimalist bar, wine lovers can sip through the winery’s 12 wines (one rosé, six whites, and five reds) while enjoying locally sourced snacks, like North Fork potato chips. On a warm afternoon, park yourself on the lawn with a glass of the Field Blend (a personal favorite) and watch the cerulean slip of water in the distance. It will remind you why East End locals say that September is the finest summer month.

Bedell Cellars

Kip and Susan Bedell planted their first vines at this Cutchogue property in 1980. Today, Bedell is considered one of the benchmark winemakers of the North Fork. With 75 acres under vine, Bedell is a massive production, but its tasting areas are intimate. Wine Enthusiast has named the 1919 barn, which once overlooked potato fields, one of the top 25 tasting rooms in the country. Outdoor seating includes sweeping vineyard views and landscaped gardens, and tasting flights feature five wines (a sparkling rosé, two whites, and two reds). An added bonus includes the owner’s personal art collection, which is on display in the winery. These contemporary works are commissioned pieces that are featured in the winery’s Artist Series labels.

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