(This story recently appeared in Dan's Papers)
Vines and Vows
LI Wineries and Weddings Make a Perfect Pair
By Lenn Thompson
Weddings and wedding receptions are memorable events no matter where they take place, but these days couples on Long Island and in Manhattan looking to do something a little different just have to look east, way east, to Long Island wine country.
Romantic, majestic and best enjoyed with friends and family, weddings and wineries have so much in common that it’s a natural pairing. Like Sauvignon Blanc with shellfish or Cabernet Sauvignon with a dry-aged porterhouse, they just go together.
Long Island is home to some of the best wines in the world and its vineyards offer some of the most spectacular views around. There is something really special about getting married at a winery and enjoying its wines. Local caterers are often familiar with the wines and do a great job building menus around them. Whether you decide to have a more relaxed reception with stations of food paired with different wines, or a more formal, multi-course meal with wines paired with each course, local caterers can get the most out of the wine.
Along the North Fork and in the Hamptons, several wineries open their grounds to couples for vine-side ceremonies and receptions. Here are some of the best and most spectacular.
Located in Mattituck on the North Fork, Macari Vineyards’ estate spans over 300 acres from Sound Avenue almost to Long Island Sound. Its building features a Tuscany-meets-modern feel, with fresh wood and glass that provides a comfortable, yet sophisticated environment. Along with the main tasting room, wedding guests can spend their time out on a covered stone and timber deck that offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the vineyards and one of the best sunset views anywhere.
Macari can accommodate up to 90 people for a seated dinner and 120 for hors d’oeuvres. While they do not have an in-house caterer, they often work with several top local caterers, including Matt Kar of Christopher Michael Caterers in Laurel (631-722-3537).
Because Macari only holds one event at a time, you’ll have the place to yourselves and the always attentive staff will see to your every need. It’s your special day and they’ll make you feel that way. For more information, call Macari Vineyards at 631-298-0100.
Pellegrini Vineyards, located in Cutchogue, is a popular spot for many North Fork events. From small wine dinners to larger events like weddings, it offers authentic wine country flair, and their excellent wines only enhance the experience.
A two-story cathedral-like tasting room, and the adjacent slate courtyard, are the perfect location for wedding receptions, while the picturesque vineyard and gazebo set a romantic tone for wedding ceremonies.
With room for up to 200 people, Pellegrini offers the flexibility of different sized rooms for smaller groups as well. They don’t have a full-time, in-house caterer, but they do have a professional kitchen and will provide a chef for small, corporate events. For larger ones, they have a list of recommended caterers in the area. For more information, call 631-734-4111.
Galluccio Family Wineries
Also in Cutchogue, Galluccio Family Wineries (formerly Gristina Vineyards) sits back from the Main Road. Its farmhouse-style buildings sit atop a rolling hill that leads up to their vines. Galluccio is one of the few wineries to offer midday, afternoon, evening or even Sunday options for wedding receptions at their vineyard.
With every event, a concierge is assigned to attend to every need throughout the planning and execution. Galluccio also provides a suite complete with Champagne service for the bridal party as well as a personalized gift from the vineyard for the bride and groom. Private tours and wine tastings are available during the event. Great special offerings are private label wines that will help commemorate the event.
In 2005, Galluccio will offer couples the added ability to webcast their ceremony live on the Internet so that those that cannot attend can still enjoy and take part in the day. To learn more about Galluccio Family Winery weddings, call 631-734-7089.
Located in the heart of Long Island wine country, Raphael is a sight to behold. Its large, Mediterranean-style building is one of the most beautiful on the North Fork. The interior is highlighted with polished cherry and rich mahogany. You almost forget that you’re on Long Island, thinking instead that you’re in a far-off land.
Raphael can accommodate groups up to 180 for formal service in one or both of its beautifully appointed rooms, which lead out to a covered deck that faces south over row after row of vines.
Their full-service event coordinators from Grand Cru Catering will help you plan and customize your day, including the music, flowers, lodging and menu choices. Grand Cru’s executive chef Daniel Magill, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, will provide your event with the finest creative cuisine. Call 631-765-1100, ext. 106
For the ultimate in a Long Island winery wedding, look no further than Wolffer Estate. Wolffer is located between East Hampton and Southampton, but you’ll feel like you’re a world away…the Old World to be exact.
The architecture is pure Tuscany, with yellow exterior walls framing massive wooden front doors. Inside, the high-ceilinged tasting room draws guests in toward an antique stained-glass window imported from Germany. The room is understated and comfortable, but at the same time, extremely elegant.
Tall French doors open directly out to the vineyards, where your guests can sip world-class wines as they eat food prepared by any of a number of recommended caterers, including some of the top chefs from Manhattan.
Wölffer can accommodate up to 150 people for a wedding and reception. For more information, call 631-537-5106 and ask for Kerith Creo, Wölffer’s events director.