The first time I visited Loughlin Vineyards I was shocked as I drove through a field of tall marsh grass and cattails. Most of the Long Island vineyards are close to the water, but cattails are just not what I was expecting to see when I pulled into the entrance of this vineyard.
The entrance to Loughlin Vineyards
My next surprise came after rounding the first turn. A huge mansion came into view and I naturally assumed it was the winery. Nope, wrong. Keep going on the dirt road, the vineyard is out back behind the mansion. Way out back.
The Meadow Croft Estate in Sayville, NY. The vineyard is behind this building.
Finally, at the end of a long dirt road I found a little green shack, the tasting room. I thought this was just too cool. I felt like I was visiting a genuine farm instead of some façade put up just to impress the visitors. And that’s what I like about this place; it’s a farm and doesn’t pretend to be anything else. When you step out of your car your feet get muddy and I love that!
The tasting room is at the end of this dirt road
Inside you'll find Barney Loughlin, vintner and owner pouring wine to the tune of Irish folk songs and stoking a wood fire to keep the visitors warm. Barney is a cordial man with a rich history that makes for excellent conversation. He was born on the property, fought in WWII and actively promotes a line of fire safety equipment that he invented.
The tasting room at Loughlin Vineyards
Loughlin Vineyards is a special case. It's the only Long Island vineyard not located on one of Long Island's twin forks, it's the closest vineyard to Manhattan, and at only 6 acres, is one of the smallest of the Long Island vineyards.
Barney started the winery as a hobby in the early '80s and produces roughly 1000 case of red, white and blush wine each year. The original idea was to sell the grapes to other winemakers, but that proved difficult as grape prices are subject to the whimsy of the buyers. Rather than put up with that nonsense, Barney started making wine himself.
There is no wine making equipment at Loughlin Vineyards, so after the grapes are harvested they are transported to a facility in Mattituck for that magical metamorphosis into wine.
Barney Loughlin with a customer inside the tasting room
If you happen to be in Sayville or are on your way to the Hamptons, I suggest stopping in and having some wine with Barney Loughlin, vintner and owner. What this one of a kind vineyard lacks in size and polish Barney Loughlin makes up for with his charm, warmth and humor.
Aerial view of Sayville, NY
Road map of Sayville, NY
South Main Street
P.O. Box 385
Sayville, NY 11782
Tastings: Noon - 6pm weekends only
Barney has been slowing it down a bit and is no longer at the tasting room on a daily basis. Now you'll find his daughters or granddaughter most of the time with Barbney making an occasional appearance maybe once a week or so. This is still a wonderful place to visit and I encourage anyone who has never been here before to check it out.