Life is full of surprises, some good some bad. Recently I embarked on a trip with several of my blogger buddies (yes sometimes we travel in a pack, aren’t we cool?) to the far end of Long Island, NY and found myself pleasantly surprised. Yes, Long Island is small, and quaint. Parts of it even seemed slightly run down and antiquated. Yet, as we drove past the stretches of land, the organic farms, the open air fruit markets, and the roaming alpacas, I found myself more than a little charmed. There is something to be said about such wide stretches of land, peppered with small yet adorable towns, and framed by water, that adds a little magic to the air. And as we drove through this sea of farmland, delis, and markets, we came across a very different type of structure: Raphael Winery.
Is this Long Island or Tuscany? Raphael definitely stands out on the island. The architecture is less island chic and more rustic Italian villa. A building of staccato with a Spanish style roof stands at the end of long running vines on either side. The inside is ornate as well, with a circular shaped bar in the forefront that makes you think your drinking straight out of a barrel. Through the farm style window panes, you can see the vines stretching far into the distance. It’s nothing short of picturesque, and so it’s no surprise to find it’s a hotspot for weddings.
All in the Family. Raphael is run by the Petrocelli family. Named for his father Raphael, John Petrocelli started the vineyard up in 1997. It’s clear from the start, this winery is very family focused. Granddaughter Diandra walked us through the vines whilst telling us the story of her family. It’s fascinating to hear how they got their start, how they pay tribute to their namesake (for example, the winery logo is actually Raphael’s signature), and how several of the family’s children have been married on the property (seriously folks, it’s adorable.)
Wine should be an Education. This fact is clear when you speak to the staff. They are truly knowledgably about the product they produce and are involved in much of the process (they hand harvest and hand cork themselves.) As Diandra toured us, she spoke about the LI Wine Counsel and the importance of being part of a community that supports each other in their collective goal of creating a quality product.
This fact carries over into their events. In addition to the many weddings they host, they have several perks for their consumers and their wine club. In the winter, stop by their Winter Wine Circuit, where they teach you about pairing wine and different types of food. For their wine club they also host barrel room events, release specific vintages, and allow you to participate in the harvest (that’s a bucket list item right there people!) And if education isn’t your jam, head over on a Thursday for their “Winetail” nights (wine infused cocktails. Enough Said.)
Rose all Day! In this Pearl’s opinion, the wine to try at Raphael is their 2015 Rose of Pinot Noir. You’ll get hints of watermelon in the nose and maybe a little strawberry too. It’s definitely a must try summer wine.
Bottom line, Raphael Winery is worth a trip out to the North Fork. You’ll instantly feel a part of their family and fall in love with their little slice of Italy in Long Island.