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Harvesting the North Fork – New York, Long Island’s Wine Country

Harvesting the grapes in the Sannino Vineyard

October is harvest time for grapes as well as apples and pumpkins here on the North Fork of Long Island. This year I decided to take part in the custom wine making program run by Lisa and Anthony Sannino at their Bella Vita vineyard in Cutchogue.  I want Shorecrest to have its own wine and a couple of other BnB owner friends, Mark and Liz Macnish of Andrew’s Legacy in Cutchogue and Leueen who owns Harbor Knoll in Greenport liked the idea too, so we purchased a barrel together. This is such a great idea! A barrel produces 23 cases, 12 bottles to a case, and is such a fun thing to do with friends or family.

Merlot grapes on the vine ready for picking.

The program is a hands on experience, from harvesting the grapes in the Sannino’s own vineyard and learning all about viticulture as we go, through all the processes involved in creating a bottle of wine:  picking, crushing and pressing the grapes,  through the fermentation process  and then blending and bottling.

Two weeks ago, at the end of September and right before a storm was due to come through I went out with some other ‘winemakers in training’ to pick Merlot grapes. The harvest is early this year on the East End of Long Island due to the long hot summer, starting with some 75 degree days in April and ninety degree days in June. Grapes do well in this weather and the sugar content is high. That is how Anthony knows when the grapes are ready to harvest; he measures the sugar content and crushes a few bunches to taste the juice. So delicious, and that is before it became wine! Also delicious was the al fresco lunch that Lisa, with the help of Anthony’s mom and dad, served on their farm house’s porch in the vineyard, but I get ahead of myself.

Underdeveloped grapes are found higher on the vine in more shade

The seed of an unripe grape is green, and reddish in a ripe grape.

The morning for our grape picking experience was perfect; not too hot or chilly, and started with coffee and breakfast on the wrap around deck. I’d already served breakfast to my guests but was glad of an extra ‘cuppa Joe’ before we went off into the vineyard with our pruners and collection baskets to pick the ripe bunches of grapes. I learned where to cut and which ones not to choose. The seed of a ripe grape is reddish and green if it is not yet ripe.

There are also several diseases that can afflict grapes especially fungi and these were to be avoided. The fungus that we saw a little of that day was BotrytisAs an avid gardener, I had yet to meet a fungal disease that I could like, but Botrytis I learned is not all bad.  The fungus gives rise to two different kinds of infections on grapes. The first, grey rot, is the result of consistently wet or humid conditions, and typically results in the loss of the affected bunches. The second, noble rot, occurs when drier conditions follow wetter, and can result in distinctive sweet dessert wines, such as Sauternes. This summer, with such consistently hot weather the few bunches that were infected were of the ‘noble’ kind but as we were picking merlot and not grapes for sweet wines, we had to discard those.

What not to pick - Botrytis blight at 3 o'clock!

We were also careful to avoid the under ripe grapes that were higher on the vine and shaded by more leaves. The grapes we wanted all grow at the lowest level of the vine and were hanging down in giant lush clumps.

We picked for several hours and when our bins were full and also the stomachs of us field hands (after eating as much fresh baked pizza, pulled pork, salad, chicken and pasta as we could, paired of course with equally delicious Bella Vita wine) we headed off to help with the ‘crush’. The baskets of grapes were loaded onto trucks for transportation to the winery where they were weighed, Anthony taking careful notes all along, and then processed through a machine that de-stems them before shooting the crushed up pulp and skins into giant bins ready to begin the first part of the fermentation process.

More on this in the next article, but if this interests you enough to think you would like to make your own wine and enjoy a wonderful North Fork experience in the process, contact me at the Shorecrest for a special discount on a barrel of wine when you are my guest . I will also be putting together special packages over the winter and spring that will include Friday night dinners with your weekend stay at the BnB, wine appreciation classes with food pairing, and guided tours with a customized itinerary based on what there is going on at the time, for my guests. Larger groups might consider renting one of my private water front houses that sleep from 6-8 people and also accept children and in some cases pets. To see more details please visit the Shorecrest Property Management website.

My website now includes a page with maps of all the wineries, restaurants and other amenities in the area. Check my ‘Area Attractions’ page before planning your trip to see all there is to do in this unique part of Long Island.

So keep checking into the blog for updates on how the wine making process is going as well as other events and happenings at the Shorecrest BnB on the North Fork of Long Island’s fabulous East End!


Two weeks ago, at the end of September and right before a storm was due to come through I went out with some other ‘winemakers in training’ to pick Merlot grapes. The harvest is early this year on the East End of Long Island due to the long hot summer, starting with some 75 degree days in April and ninety degree days in June. Grapes do well in this weather and the sugar content is high. That is how Anthony knows when the grapes are ready to harvest; he measures the sugar content and crushes a few bunches to taste the juice. So delicious, and that is before it became wine! Also delicious was the al fresco lunch that Lisa, with the help of Anthony’s mom and dad, served on their farm house’s porch in the vineyard, but I get ahead of myself.

Greenport NY Maritime Festival September 2010

Tents in Mitchell Park at the Greenport Maritime Festival

The Greenport Maritime Festival is a three day affair and a favorite destination for guests of Shorecrest Bed and Breakfast. Starting with the ‘Land and Sea’ Cocktail Reception on Friday evening, September 24th and continuing throughout Saturday and Sunday September 25th and 26th with a street fair each day and events that include a kayak derby, whale boat race, a Clam Chowder contest and music provided by several bands, there is entertainment to suit everyone.

Each year the festival draws about 20,000 people and the crowd enjoys a variety of family activities in Mitchell Park, the home of the beautiful and fun Greenport Carousel, such as ‘Captain Kidd s Alley’, old fashioned childrens games, a snapper fishing contest, traditional art and craft demonstrations and appearances in unexpected places throughout the weekend by the fearsome ‘Greenport Pirates!

There is lots for grown ups to do too. On Saturday night there is dancing in Mitchell Park to the music of the band Melange and throughout the village many local merchants, galleries and food vendors will be open late for you to enjoy on your evening stroll.

Prestons Dock and many village stores and galleries will be open late during the festival

For a complete list of events please see the event calendar posted below. If you would like tickets to the opening cocktail party, guests of the Shorecrest can purchase them through the BnB. Here are the details regarding the reception:

Land and Sea and Reception, Friday September 17th, 2010:

Where: The Maritime Museum, Greenport

Cost at door:  $30.00

Time: From 6-8pm

Various local restaurants will be providing the food including fresh oysters and clams from our bays; Rums of Puerto Rico will be serving drinks as well as local wineries.

The boat raffle is always a popular attraction at the Maritime Festival

Maritime Festival Schedule of Events

Friday September 24th

10am – 5pm – ‘Plein Air’ Artists paint in Mitchell Park

6pm – 8pm – ‘Land and Sea Reception’ at the East End Seaport Museum

Saturday September 25

All Day – Classic, ice and small boat display – Mitchell Park

10am – Sea Stories and Shanties for children aged 4-7 years with Mira Dougherty Johnson in Mitchell Park

10am-3pm – Plein Air Artists paint in Mitchell Park

11am – noon – Opening Day Parade on Main and Front Streets

The Kayak Derby in Greenport Harbor

11am – 5 pm – Captain Kidd’s Craft Alley, Mitchell Park Treasure Chest, Street Vendors, The Village Blacksmith the Mitchell Park Museum and the Railroad Museum are all open.

1pm – ‘Kings of the Coast’ pirate show in Mitchell Park

1-3pm – Gyotaku T-shirt painting in the Mitchell Park Tent

3pm – The Kayak Derby at the Harborfront

4pm – 6pm  – ‘Plein Art’ show in Mitchell Park

4pm - ‘Kings of the Coast’ pirate show in Mitchell Park

6pm – 8pm – Plein Air Silent Auction in Mitchell Park

Hold onto your horses! - the Greenport Village blacksmith will be open during the festival

6pm – 9pm – Gallery Walk

9pm – Fireworks over the Harbor

Sunday September 26th

All Day – Classic, ice and small boat display – Mitchell Park

10am – Sea Stories and Shanties for children aged 4-7 years with Mira Dougherty Johnson in Mitchell Park

11am – 5 pm – Captain Kidd’s Craft Alley, Mitchell Park Treasure Chest, Street Vendors, The Village Blacksmith the Mitchell Park Museum and the Railroad Museum are all open.

Noon – ‘Kings of the Coast’ pirate show in Mitchell Park

1pm – 2pm – Snapper fishing contest, ages 8 and under, Mitchell Park

1pm – 4pm – Chowder contest, Chase Bank Parking Lot on Main Street

2pm-3pm  – Snapper fishing contest, ages 9 – 16, Mitchell Park

3pm – ‘Kings of the Coast’ pirate show in Mitchell Park

4pm – Festival Raffle drawing in Mitchell Park

4.30pm – Eastern LI Hospital raffle drawing in Mitchell Park

5pm – Festival closing

Tall ships at night in Greenport Harbor

Getting around on the North Fork

Shorecrest is offering a special driver service for those of our guests who want to avoid the hassle of parking in the village on this weekend. A pick up or drop off from the BnB to Greenport is $10 each way. We are also offering this service for winery visits, at $20 per pick up or drop off for up to 6 people. We can also help you organize your wine tour using our winery discount card for best value!

For city dwellers that would like to come by bus or train and still want to be able to conveniently travel around the North Fork visiting different villages and wineries, this can be a great option, and for groups visiting together the price is excellent! We can also arrange for bicycle rentals for getting around on the roads and kayak rentals for paddling the creeks. Shorecrest’s own beach on the Arshamomoque inlet to the rear of the BnB is a great place to launch a kayak, canoe or paddle board.

Paddlers at Sunset - wish you were here....

Speak to the Innkeeper, or visit our website to learn more about your options for traveling while on the North Fork and all concierge services from wine tours to restaurant reservations and bike or kayak rentals.

We are here to help make your visit to the beautiful North Fork the best it could possibly be!

North Fork Foodie Tour 2010

The North Fork of Long Island, from Riverhead to Orient Point, is loved by those who have discovered this less famous part of Long Island’s East End, for its bucolic countryside, beautiful beaches and

Sacred Sweets - North Fork Foodie Tour 2010

seascapes, great fishing, wineries, farms and farm stands and delicious and healthy fresh produce. Peconic Bay scallops, Long Island duck, strawberries, potatoes, local cheeses and breads and the many varieties of wine produced right here in wine country are just a few of the delectable offerings.

The tradition of farming has continued and diversified over the past 50 years and now has  taken on yet another life as artisans, chefs, winemakers, gourmets, farmers and viticulturists have joined together to produce distinctive foods, explore methods of sustainable agriculture and keep the North Fork the pristine environment that we all value.

On Sunday, September 12, from 10 a.m. 4 p.m., we celebrate this with The North Fork Foodie Tour. The self guided tour offers all who participate the opportunity to meet the people who have dedicated their lives to producing unique local foods and wines, to learn how they do it and sample the bounty.

During the tour you can learn about organic farming, beekeeping, goat farming & cheese making, growing oysters, wine making, and how to keep a traditional family farm alive and well in the age of big agribusiness. Taste the difference of fresh, locally-produced food!

Shorecrest is offering a complimentary bottle of local wine to guests attending the tour and for guests staying three nights that weekend, a complimentary bottle of local wine and one free ticket to the tour ($25 value). Check our reservation calendar for BnB availability by clicking here. If you are a larger group looking to spend some time on the North Fork that weekend, perhaps one of our waterfront houses would be available.

Each year, this epicurean exploration, hosted by the North Fork Reform Synagogue, gets better and better! This year is no different –

Sang Lee Farms, Certified Organic Produce - Foodie Tour 2010

with visits to Catapano Dairy Farm, Sang Lee Farm, Satur Farm, Lavender by the Bay Farm, Croteaux Vineyard, and Pipes Cove Oysters to name just a few.

Set aside the date of September 12th and invite your friends and family to join you at the Fourth Annual North Fork Foodie Tour. At $25 a ticket for all of the venues, it is a wonderful bargain; children under 12 are free. If you wish to talk to someone about the event, you may call 631-722-5712.

TO ORDER TICKETS in advance send your check to: North Fork Reform Synagogue, P.O. Box 625

Southold, NY 11971

Or click here to order on line.

Lavender by the Bay - North Fork Foodie Tour 2010

Tickets are also available in advance at:

GALLERY M, 308A Main St., Greenport

COMPLEMENT THE CHEF, 53740 Main Rd., Southold

CECILY’S LOVE LANE, 70 Love Lane, Mattituck

BARTH’S DRUG STORE, 32 E Main Street, Riverhead

Tickets may also purchased on the day of the tour, after 9 a.m. at Charnews Farm (see map below) or after 10 a.m. at any place participating in the tour.

For a complete schedule and list of events see below:

A TASTE OF THE NORTH FORK produces food products made with local ingredients: pestos, jams and jellies,

A Taste of the North Fork - North Fork Foodie Tour 2010

mustards, vinegars, dessert sauces, teas and more.  See the kitchen where they are made and have a taste.

CROTEAUX VINEYARD & FARMHOUSE COOKING SCHOOL specializes in rosé wine. Idyllic barnyard, vineyard, tastings and recipes.

KOPPERT CRESS searches the world for unusual varieties of aromatic herbs grown as micro-vegetables. Restaurants use them as exotic garnishes for their most elegant dishes.

LAVENDER BY THE BAY offers fresh-cut and dried lavender, lavender plants and products. Learn about beekeeping, lavender culture and lore.

NORTH FORK EGG FARM See the movable coop system, described in Michael Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma and the film Food, Inc. at work. The chickens are released each morning to roam on pasture, scratch for bugs to eat and take their dust baths.

PIPES COVE OYSTERS See how oysters are grown, how mature oysters are harvested and learn how to shuck an oyster .

SACRED SWEETS is a couture confectionary studio specializing in exquisite occasion cakes and treats including croissants, cookies, cupcakes, cakepops and

truffles all made by hand in Greenport using only the finest ingredients.

Koppert Cress - North Fork Foodie Tour 2010

Special Events/Limited Tours

CATAPANO DAIRY FARM – small and family operated, it raises goats and makes fresh milk cheeses, yogurts,

fudge and goat milk skincare products. Guided tours at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3.

KRUPSKI’S FARM – Learn how the Krupskis have made their multi-generational family farm thrive by changing

their focus from a limited number of wholesale crops to a diverse offering of crops and free range poultry sold retail. Tours at 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 1:30, 2:30, 3:30.

McCALL WINES – In addition to producing wines served at some of Manhattan’s finest restaurants, this historic 100 acre farmstead raises grass-feed Charolias cattle, a French breed known for their low-fat meat, and sells rare

speciality cheeses. Russ McCall leads tours of this beautiful property at 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 1:30, 2:30, 3:30.

SANG LEE FARMS shows its organically grown vegetables, heirloom tomatoes, baby greens, mesclun, herbs, flowers and specialty Asian greens. Tastings all day. Guided

SHINN ESTATE VINEYARDS – Learn about the vineyard’s low-impact sustainable farming, taste the results. Guided walking tour at 12 noon. Tour and talk at 2 p.m.

SATUR FARMS specializes in leafy vegetables, heirloom tomatoes, root vegetables and herbs that it sells to the region’s high end restaurants

Tickets may also purchased on the day of the tour, after 9 a.m. at Charnews Farm or after 10 a.m. at any place participating in the tour.

which demand the finest ingredients. Open only for one guided walking tour at 11:30 a m. Click here to hear a WNYC interview with Paulette Satur and Eberhard Muller, former chef at Lutece & Le Bernardin.

TY LLWYD FARM has been an active family farm since 1870. It raises DeKalb Gold chickens, ducks and geese; and grows vegetables and unusual varieties of potatoes.

Tours at 10 a.m., 11, 12 p.m., 1, 2, and 3. Limited to 15 people per tour.

Greenport, North Fork, Long Island – a nature walk and birding by iphone at the Arshamomaque Preserve.


Warm days in April are some of the best times to walk the trails of the  Arshamomaque nature preserve on Chapel Lane in Greenport, Long Island, a two minute drive from the Shorecrest Bed and Breakfast on the way to Greenport village.

The preserve is 51 acres, part of the Long Island Pine Barrens Maritime Reserve and listed for protection because of its exceptional scenic, biological and recreational resources and at this time of year offers a rare and brief opportunity to see and photograph the Vernal ponds .

Reflections in a vernal pond

This week the weather was perfect, mild but with a crispness in the air, and as the trees had not yet leafed out there was nothing to restrict the view of the magical reflections in the ponds, which cover a large area of the preserve at the end of winter.

Swamp Cottonwood in early Spring

These expanses of water which only exist for a short time as a result of the snows and rains of winter will dry up entirely as the weather warms but not before the many animals that depend on them, especially for breeding will have completed one important cycle of their lives. Most of these animals such as frogs, toads, turtles, and salamanders spend a majority of their life in the nearby wetlands but migrate to breed or feed in these productive vernal pools. Fingernail clams and air-breathing snails live their entire life in vernal pools and must burrow beneath leaves and mud when the pool dries until the water returns. Fairy shrimp produce eggs that remain in the dry pool after the adult’s death and hatch after the pool refills.

Wood anenomes carpet the forest floor in April

Arial photographs indicate that sixty percent of the preserve was once farmed. Over time fields were left fallow and resulted in the mixed stages of plant succession that you can see as you pass along the trails. Some meadow like areas are at early stages of development and still dominated by grasses and perennial herbs, providing food and cover for white tailed deer, bobwhite quail and eastern cottontails.

A grassy meadow within the preserve

A large area is at the shrub land stage where eastern red cedar and northern bayberry prevail, providing cover for animals to sleep, roost and escape predators. Finally stands of black locusts, a fast growing deciduous tree represent a more advanced stage of succession, and these will eventually, in many years give way to beeches, oaks and hickories.

Reflections in the Marsh

The preserve also includes an example of a swamp cottonwood forest, rare in NY State, also mixed with other swamp hardwoods which support specialized bird and animal populations.

The short or the long trail- you choose

The blue trail will take you to the bird observation tower, a tree house like structure with a view over the marsh.

Bird spotting from the tree house blind

I brought my iphone with the ‘chirp!USA’ app, a bird song and photograph identification tool that I have used in my back yard to attract different species to my feeders. This time I played the Redwing blackbird song and sure enough, within minutes an interested male of the species was checking out the source – of  a rival or possible mate? – not being a bird, I really had no way to tell!

Male Redwing blackbird checking out my iphone

Arshamomaque is only one of many preserves on the North Fork which offer such quiet and tranquil beauty all year round including the National Audubon Society preserve just a few minutes from the Shorecrest . I will be writing about the others soon in this blog and reporting back as they change with the season.

Cattail Marsh from the bird blind

Cattail Marsh viewed from the bird blind

I hope you will find the time to visit and enjoy them too, and ask us about our special discounts for National Audubon and Garden Conservancy members for off season and mid week stays, and a private tour of the Shorecrest gardens.

March view from the bird blind

The Shorecrest Bed and Breakfast gardens are predominantly planted up with perennials and a generous dose of annuals, mostly self seeded from the previous year, to maintain color and fill in gaps when the perrenial borders aren’t quite up to par.

I’ll be writing about them in my next blog post  and following up with progressive articles as they change throughout the year

We look forward to welcoming you to Shorecrest soon and would love to be your guide and helper as you explore the natural beauty of the North Fork.

Golf on Long Island’s North Fork: Island’s End in Greenport

As the name suggests, Island’s End Golf Course is at the far end of the North Fork, just a few miles from Orient Point and a five minute drive to the east from Shorecrest Bed and Breakfast, in one of the most beautiful spots on Long Island. You can golf here year round, except for Christmas Day and public players can book tee times 7 days in advance. The golf course and country club is semi private and includes a Pro Shop, driving range, practice putting green, sand trap and chipping areas. You can rent clubs, take private and group lessons, and refreshments are available at the restaurant and bar or beverage cart on weekends.
Island’s end has a great reputation for the quality of the course and its natural beauty. For a spectacular sunset view, plan on playing the 16th hole, which extends to the bluffs looking west over the Long Island Sound, towards the end of the day. If you play earlier, you can always be back at the Shorecrest in time to stroll across to our own beach and toast the sun as it dips behind the horizon with a glass of wine or a beer sitting in one of our Adirondack chairs. Ask for some crackers and cheese to take with you and we will be happy to oblige!
Island’s End is located on route 25 in Greenport, and like Shorecrest, a reasonable drive from any part of Long Island. But positioned as we both are, in the North Fork’s most rural and bucolic area, you feel that you have entered a different world from the largely urban or suburban landscape you will find on the rest of the island. Driving from New York City or the west, as you approach Riverhead, take exit 71 north, then turn right onto Sound Avenue. You will avoid traffic bottlenecks of the Tanger outlets and immediately enter farm country. A half hour drive past miles of wineries and farms, where almost every country road or lane will eventually take you to a secret beach or quiet harbor, will calm the mind and get you ready for your North Fork getaway.
Shorecrest is offering special packages for our golfing visitors. During April, add only $40 for each person golfing to the cost of your stay and we will include a pre-booked T time with golf cart and free club rentals should you need them (you can demo the latest from the golf shop!)
For more golf packages including massage and spa options for the non golfer, dinner packages, to go breakfasts and picnic lunches check out ‘specials and packages’ on the Shorecrest Bed and Breakfast reservation and availability calendar, or call us with your special requests. We will be delighted to help make your stay a memorable one!

Greenport East End Lighthouse Tour

One of the delights of the summer season is to be able to take a cruise on the waters of Long Island and enjoy viewing the many lighthouses.  Our favorite lighthouse cruise is on board of the “Peconic Star II”.  The first East End Lighthouse tour of the season is scheduled to depart on Saturday, June 27th at 3:30 P.M.  Guests will enjoy a cruise on the waters of eastern Long Island and Gardiner’s Bay.  

During the cruise, you will learn about the maritime history of the area, including that of Plum Island and Gardiner’s Island.  For those history buffs, the cruise will be following the routes of American and British war ships in their 1812-1814 naval engagement.  Additionally, one may remember that Gardiner’s Island is where Captain Kidd buried his treasure.  Perhaps it may be discovered!  

Five lighthouses will be viewed along the way including Orient Point, Plum Island, Little Gull Island, Race Rock, and Long Beach Bar lighthouses.  The cruise includes dinner and Long Island wine.    Cost per person is $95.00 and space is limited.  What better way to enjoy a summer afternoon!

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