Eli Landau

April 12, 2016

NY & PA Wine Country Travel Guide

Lehigh Valley Wine Tour

Those of you who have been on our wine tours know what a fantastic experience it is. After all, who can say no to a plethora of tasting, multiple wineries, lunch and a designated driver? But whether you’ve travelled with us on a wine tour or not, you may be wondering why we chose the regions we did. There are a plethora of wine regions in the country, so why Lehigh Valley and North Fork? To find out, let’s an inside look into the minds of wily program managers:

Although the Lehigh Valley is a relative newcomer on the American wine scene, they’ve garnered considerable acclaim within a short amount of time and are the fastest growing wine region in all of Pennsylvania. You could say that these vineyards are growing like the vines themselves! The fertile farmlands in the region have made the valley an ideal growing environment, especially for the Chambourcin wine grape, a notoriously challenging grape to grow.

As the region has expanded, the wineries that call the Lehigh home have done big things. Not to brag but Lehigh Valley Wineries have brought home the Governor’s Cup for Pennsylvania’s best wine in 9 of the last 10 years. Call it a dynasty. Let’s take a look at some of the wineries that are raising the bar for East Coast wine:

Vynecrest Vineyards & Winery: The oldest existing vineyard in the region, has captured the essence of what an estate bottled winery looks like in the hills of the Lehigh. With a warm and cozy tasting room, located in a 19th century barn, Vynecrest is a great place for a glass on a rainy day or a day with sunny skies.

Blair Vineyards: Located on a hilltop allowing guests a stunning view of the lush and bucolic Lehigh Valley. But they aren’t just about scenery. Blair has some great vintages crafted in the European Style and they believe that “Great grapes make great wines.” Hard to argue with that!

Amore Vineyards & Winery: Has old world charm in the new world. Located on mineral-rich soil they’ve crafted a wide-variety of delicious wines all with unique flavor, perfect to enjoy in their charming tasting room.

Weathered Vineyards: Aptly named to reference owner and founder Richard’s former occupation as a meteorologist, boasts impressive wine. Using his knowledge of weather, Richard was able to ascertain the terroir of Weathered Vineyards and grow the appropriate vines. At Weathered you’ll find wines styled like that of Bordeaux France. Allons-y!

What separated the Lehigh Valley for us, was this indomitable spirit when it came to wine. The vineyards we’ve partnered with are all family owned and operated and have turned a once barren region into a bastion of wine within 30 years. The bold chances these wineries have taken has paid off and we’re proud to take our guests to a region where wine is being innovated.

Long Island Wine Tour

The North Fork of Long Island needs no introduction. But that’s okay, we’ll provide one anyways. The region was first planted in the 1970s and has become a serious player in the world of wine. In fact, in 2013 Wine Enthusiast Magazine named The North Fork as 1 of the Top 10 Wine Regions in the world. Our decision to tour there was a no-brainer.

As time has passed Long Island Wine has become a household name, with The North Fork boasting one the most diverse and largest arrays of vineyards in New York State. While Long Island used to be Merlot country, Cabernets have begun to bloom in recent years as well as Sauvingon Blancs and Chardonney. How bout that for variety? The vineyards, like the wines, are diverse, grand and unique. And no surprise that we picked out the best and brightest. Here’s a closer look at the vineyards themselves:

Rafael Vineyards: This impressive winery built in the style of an Italian monastery is unforgettable on-site. With Mediterranean architecture and a stunning cathedral-like tasting room, you’ll feel like royalty enjoying new wines in an old world setting. One of the only wineries in the US where everything is harvested only by hand, you’ll taste tradition when you taste Rafael.

Lenz Winery: A great place for a picnic lunch (yeah we do that), and a winery that takes the process seriously. A high-touch vineyard and low-touch winery, Lenz makes estate bottled wines, meaning that every wine comes from Lenz’s very own vineyards.

Osprey’s Dominion: With the mantra “as little interference as possible”, Osprey’s believes that Long Island’s complex soil and latitude contribute to the excellent character of their grapes and wine. They also believe that wine can best be enjoyed in the tasting room or on the green with a plethora of lawn games. Game on.

The North Fork of Long Island is one of the most respected and well-known wine regions in all of the East Coast, making it an obvious choice for Team SA. If you’re running wine tours out of NYC and aren’t going to Long Island, you probably aren’t doing it right. We’re proud to be exposing more and more city dwellers to the beauty and tastes of the North Fork.

The Lehigh Valley and North Fork wine regions each have strengths that make them great regions in their own right and especially so in conjunction for our New York Wine Tours. So don’t wait. Grab a friend, a significant other, your whole office or complete strangers and join us on a tour or two! You’ll learn about wine, taste fine vintages and learn about the different stories and history of east coast wine.
-E