Red. White. And Now Gold. McCall Wines

All Photos by David KorchinMcCall Wines in Cutchogue, has always been know for their fabulous reds and whites and now they have some golds to add to their creds. At this years Harvest East End, which was hosted by McCall, the vineyard was awarded the Governor’s Cup for Winery of the Year against more than 800 entries in the annual NY Wine and Food Classic.

They won Double Gold for both their 2010 Pinot Noir Reserve and 2007 Ben’s Blend. And Gold for their 2011 Cab Franc and 2008 Merlot Reserve. But to add to their award winning wines is their award winning setting. For starters, the tasting room, which is located in a mildly converted potato barn and stable, adorned with farm implements and riding paraphernalia. Tables and benches are located in and out of the tasting room but if you're lucky, snag a table in one of the two remaining stalls for your own private hideaway.

Going beyond the vineyard is the postcard setting of the McCall Ranch where Russ McCall raises a little over two dozen Charolais cattle, who leisurely graze on the long grasses of their 100 acre farm. You can sample this delectable, grass fed beef at the North Fork Table and Inn or at their The Lunch Truck located in the back of their parking lot.

Wines, Vineyard, Tasting Room, Ranch... We name it an overall award winner. The tasting room is open in the fall, Thursday through Monday 12-5:30pm.

12 Reasons to Love Fall on the North Fork

Photo by David KorchinA dozen oysters at Main Restaurant & Oyster Bar. A freshly roasted latte at Aldo's. The color of fall rolling through the vineyards. A glass of Pinot at McCall Wines. A stroll through Orient Village. A found treasure at Beall & Bell. A cozy picnic on the beach. Apple Cider at Woodside Orchards. 9 holes at Cedars Golf Course. A blackberry-apple pie at Briermere Farm. A bowl of clam chowder at The Blue Canoe Oyster Bar. The smell of autumn in the air.

Picky Pickers

All Photos by David KorchinWhen it comes to pumpkins and apples there’re a lot to pick from, but being somewhat local, we tend to avoid the picking frenzy and aim for something more gentile and authentic.

For pumpkins we look for small stands and farms with fields bursting in shades or orange, yellow and green, a small tractor pulling a load of hay with a few children and adults bouncing happily about, bales of hay strewn about and the quintessential haunted corn maze that’s been terrifying and sending people down the wrong path for ages. Pure and simple. Krupski’s on Rte 25 is one of our favorites. We look forward to their giant jack-o-lantern face glowing on the side of the barn at night, marking the start of pumpkin season. It’s the fourth generation of Krupski’s who tend to the 70+ acres producing pumpkins and gourds since the mid 70’s. The Krupski’s have a long tradition of farming on the North Fork so once the pumpkin ritual concludes be sure to stop inside the farm stand where you can stock up on some fresh produce to accompany your well chosen pumpkin.

For apples we head to Woodside Orchards, now with two locations, Jamesport and Aquebogue, where 20 varietals of apples grow, ready for you to pick. Another family run farm established in 1982 with apple picking at its core. Grab a bushel or two and head out amongst the fields to find your perfect score. Then follow your nose to the barn where you’ll find a variety of pies, doughnuts, cider and apple treats to follow you home.

For the best of the season right off the shelves try the Pumpkin Preserves at A Taste of the North Fork or the Aged Red Apple Balsamic at Vines and Branches.

Take a Hike

All Photos by David KorchinWhether it be woodland, wetland, shoreline or vernal pool you desire, the trails throughout the North Fork are sure to hit the mark. But when you’re looking for it all our favorite is Inlet Pond Park located on the grounds of the Audubon Society in Greenport.

The Red, Yellow, Blue and White trails throughout are well marked and are as varied as their destinations. We chose the Blue Trail through the woodlands and oak forest that led us to the serene Inlet Pond. Don’t be surprised if you run across a loon or two (of the feathered kind) while on the observation platform.

Continuing on the Blue Trail we found ourselves being led out of the shrubs and vines to the Soundfront beach which was the perfect setting for our late afternoon picnic, teepee and all.

There are many more paths to discover at Inlet Pond. Our next adventure... the Red Trail to Prentice Pond. Download a trail map and find your path here.