When I first started tasting Long Island wine in around 2001 or 2002 the tasting room experience was largely the same no matter which winery you visited. It was simple: you’d walk into the tasting room, stand at the bar and taste wines, usually one-by-one. There was a spit bucket there, but I quickly realized that I was one of the rare people who actually used it.
A lot of things varied from winery to winery, of course. Things like how nice the glassware was, how many wines you got to taste, how much the person pouring actually knew about wine and how much it cost to do a tasting. Some of the tastings were even free in those days.
Fast-forward to today and while that experience—or at least a similar one—is still available at most wineries, a new focus on hospitality and the “wine tasting experience” has completely changed the way that visitors taste wine on Long Island.