When I was a little girl, my parents would drag my brother and I along on their trips across the North Fork to every winery they came across, often settling in at the end of the day at a winery that struck them as different than the others. Now, instead of beginning our wine route with the first vineyard we spot on the road, we head first and often stay for hours at Shinn Vineyards.
Shinn is different from every other winery stemming from the frank uniqueness of its owners who focus on a sort of holistic grace that is hard to find amongst the metropolis of famous North Fork wineries. The owners, Barbara Shinn and David Page, moved to New York from Northern California and opened one of the first farm to table restaurants on the East coast in the early 90s called Home, and later, their cookbook Recipes from Home was highly praised, receiving the James Beard Foundation nomination for Best American Cookbook and won the Julia Child Cookbook Award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Their winery is focused around holistic growth, in fact, their “golden rule of wine growing” begins first with, “The vineyard is sacred. It is a place of beauty. It is to be honored and respected” and states that developing an agriculture that joins wildlife, volunteer vegetation, crops and humans sets a personal bond with nature in motion. Already, the difference between this winery and others in the region is profound.
Located off of Oregon Road in Mattituck, NY, a farmhouse- turned Inn and estate winery is surrounded by 20 acres of grapevines. With the appearance of a country home with grey wood paneling and an outdoor patio for tasting, the farmhouse is the epitome of what a Long Island winery should be. There is no fake Tuscan stucco or standoffish and unsociable sommelier behind a lavish counter, here, the wine is most important, not the appearance of luxury. At no other vineyard have I come across patrons who say that the owners often taste the wine with them and get to know them by name, and their dog, well loved and known by everyone as Panda, plays outside with the children amongst the grapevines. Coming to Shinn Vineyards is like coming home, a welcoming atmosphere paired with some of the best wine on the North Fork. Shinn Vineyards does not imitate an air of sophistication, however allows the wine and the comfort of the estate to speak for itself. This approach seems to be working. Their winery received praise from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Wine Spectator, Wine Advocate, Wine Enthusiast, Food and Wine and Bon Appetit to name a few, making Shinn Vineyards the only acceptable first stop on any tasting trip.