Get a taste of Long Island's flourishing wine country

LONG ISLAND (WABC) -- With all of the things to do on Long Island, a growing number of travelers are forgoing a trip to Napa Valley or the golden hills of Tuscany to visit one of the dozens of local wineries you can now find on the island.

About a 2 or 3 hour drive outside the hustle and bustle of Manhattan awaits a magical place where acres of grapes kissed by sun and rain wait to be turned into Long Island's commercial wine industry.

"We are surrounded here on the North Fork," said Gina Messa of Pindar Vineyards. "Plenty of vineyards and amazing farm stands as well."

Our first stop is Pindar Vineyards in Peconic, which was the winner of the 2019 Bethpage Best of Long Island contest.

Nestled on 500 acres, it grows 17 different varieties of grapes. Each year, the vineyard produces about 70,000 cases of wines, but they are proud of never forgetting their family roots.

"We are for the 40 years we have been in business same family owned," Messa said.

Next stop - Sannino Vineyards, also in Peconic and also family owned. There you will find 26 acres of grapes and a wide variety of wines to choose from.

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"It's a unique experience when you come out to the North Fork, the rest of Suffolk County disappears and you are in farmland," Anthony Sannino of Sannino Vineyards said.

Next stop is Palmer Vineyards, one of the North Fork's original wineries, which is not that long ago.

It opened in 1983 and is located in Riverhead, with more than 90 planted acres of farmland.

On to the Macari Vineyards in Matituck. Its tasting room is open daily, year round.

It offers several tasting flights and wines by the glass or bottle to enjoy overlooking the vineyard.

Like many of the vineyards, don't bring food. Most offer plenty to eat to pair perfectly with your favorite grape.

Throw in the serenity of being surrounded by nature and you have the makings of a great day.

"Not only do you have delicious wines, a really wide variety of wines, I think the food pairings are just going to bring it up a level," Gibson Campbell of Macari Vineyards said.

Wine, food and vineyards. Who needs to travel all the way to Napa Valley when you can get your fix for grapes and the outdoors right here on Long Island.

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