Sometimes you just want to know that a bottle of wine is waiting at the end of a long drive or train trip to vacation. Fortunately, many wine-centered vacations are available just a few hours from the city. Whether you want a day trip or a weekend respite, sign up for these grape-focused getaways.
Leave the state
To try your luck at the slots and at picking the best pour, head to Atlantic City’s Borgata. The Winecation special extends through the end of the year, starting at $435 a night. The one-night deal includes dinner, a wine tasting and a spa treatment. After arriving, settle into the three-course dinner at Fornelletto restaurant and wine bar, plush with Italian wine pairings that are described in detail by the friendly waitstaff. The tasting, at their relatively new Vintage Wine Boutique, allows you a $30 gift card to slide into a machine filled with bottles with varieties of prices and pours. In the morning, indulge in a spa treatment, also included in the package — either a relaxing facial or body treatment in the spa with a water view and, of course, wine. Once you enter the Borgata, you don’t even have to leave hotel premises to get the AC experience — try your luck at the poker tables or do some shopping at The Water Club.
For crisp blue skies and rolling hills filled with green grape vines, take a trip upstate for an afternoon of drinking white wines under the sun. Catering to New Yorkers needing a break from the city, Millbrook Vineyards, in Millbrook, N.Y, offers a day trip with shuttle service from the Wassaic Metro-North station that ferries you to vineyards set in beautiful rolling hills. The trip upstate takes about two hours from Grand Central, but the train rolling next to the Hudson River makes the trip worthwhile — and beautiful.
The “Vineyard Express” package, $85 plus train fare through October, includes lunch, served in a low-key style at the Vineyard Grille near a pond with the reflection of the trees. When you’re ready, the included tour shows you the barrels where wine is stored and includes a tasting on the second floor of the wood-paneled building.
Don’t skip out on the Nature Walk, which is easy to do in sandals. The short trail takes you past a castle and provides spectacular views of the hills, stretching so far they appear blue in the distance.
They don’t call it wine country for nothing. For a day trip, or a weekend, head to Long Island. The North Fork has dozens of wineries, so you can hit several in one day or fill an entire weekend. Several B&Bs offer entire wine-centered weekends — try the Sannino Bella Vita Vineyard in Peconic, N.Y., which has a Vine to Wine program that teaches you winemaking (see above), or the Stirling House Bed & Breakfast in Greenport, N.Y., which offers Vine Time Getaways with a two-night stay, dinners at local restaurants, transportation and tastings. The Vine University program also offers a weekend respite — it’s a two-day wine class with meals included, and guests get a kit to make two and a half cases of wine, which you can get notes on from a regional winemaker.
For a super-quick trip, try nearby is Loughlin Vineyards. The six-acre vineyard produces Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. It’s about 90 minutes away on the LIRR. Most are further, though, so be prepared for a two- or three-hour train trip both ways if you’re going just for the day.
Places to grab a glass in LI
» Bedell Cellars
The family-owned estate has three separate vineyard sites, in Peconic, Cutchogue and Southold, N.Y. The tasting room, which is open year-round, used to be a barn.
» Bella Vita Vineyard and Bed and Breakfast
Bella Vita offers wine classes and the Vine to Wine program, where you get hands-on experience making your own custom barrel of wine.
» Peconic Bay Winery, Nautique Wines
The decades-old vineyards in this winery were planted in 1979. Visit for a tasting or to learn more about how the wines are fermented in a red barn from winemaker Greg Gove.
» North Fork Wine Tours
The tours pick up groups year-round in Long Island and take you around the region to different wineries for several tastings, with the option to add dinner or other romantic perks.
» Long Island Wine Country
Sept. 29: Autumn Vines VIP tour features bus transportation from Manhattan, three wine estate tastings and tours and a lunch and cheese tasting for $149.