Wine tourism on Long Island expected to rise for summer 2017

By Jack Yu and Cosette Nunez

Victoria Gunn has branded ice wine The Most Romantic Wine.  The business owner first tasted it seven years ago on a trip to Niagara Falls and fell in love with its sweetness.  

“We are bringing in something new and different, we just want to be able to add ice wine along with the wines already out there,” Gunn said.

Ice wine is harvested when the grape is covered with frost.  The frozen grapes are then pressed resulting in a sweeter concentrated wine. Gunn’s ice wine was featured at the Cradle of Aviation Museum last saturday evening during the Taste of Flight Wine and Food Expo event. Over 1,000 people attended, hundreds more than last year, according to general manager of the event, Carrie Wojtaszek.  

“I do maybe 10 wine tastings a year and they are normally out East,” Jessie Pergolotti, a frequent wine taster, said.  

The East End of Long Island is known for traditional winemaking, a culture that has attracted enthusiasts from all over Long Island especially in the past 15 years, according to the Long Island Wine Council (LIWC).  

“There was nobody doing it when I started, my first year I took out 25 people,” Jim Ferrarie,  owner of Long Island Wine Tours, LLC said.  Ferrarie owns one of two official wine tour companies on Long island. He is expecting over 5,000 people this year.

Spring and Summer are the most popular seasons for wine tasting. Fourteen wine tasting events are scheduled for the remainder of April and over 120 more to come for the summer, on Long Island, according to Local Wine Events.

“I get a lot of repeat business like corporate clients, banks, and teachers,” Ferrarie said. His wine tours last six to nine hours.  

“People love going to wineries and love going to wine tours but it’s tough especially when it’s a little cool out,” Wojtaszek said. The first Taste of Flight Wine started in 2006 and has been an annual event ever since.  

In preparation for the upcoming summer crowd, Ferrarie is partnering with the Long Island Railroad (LIRR). He offers a wine tasting package which includes a train ticket, lunch, and most importantly, wine tasting.

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