Sure, a winery tour and and tasting with kids in tow may not sound like the most family-friendly event, but we’re here to tell you that’s not the case! In fact, many wineries near NYC cater to families, with events, activities, entertainment and more. From nearby vineyards on Long Island to award-winning wineries upstate, we’ve rounded up the best kid-friendly wineries near NYC for you and the family to head to this fall. (And if you’re more of a cider or brewery type of family, we found those, too.) Cheers! Need more ideas for fall outdoor fun? Click here!
Pindar Vineyards Tasting Room & Winery
You don't have to go to Europe to experience one of the world's best wine regions. Less than a two-hour drive away, Long Island's North Fork is considered one of the best. Pindar Vineyards was named one of the top six family-friendly wineries by Wine Enthusiast and is open daily for tastings from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Feel free to bring a picnic and a blanket to sit on the grounds. Special events this fall include Country Day on September 19 (country music, food trucks, etc.) and Pindar celebrates its 40th anniversary with "Rock the Harvest" on Sunday, October 17 from 1-5 p.m., with the Bon Jovi cover band BonJourney, food trucks and more. Rock on!
37645 Main Rd. (Route 25)
Millbrook Vineyards & Winery
A Hudson Valley favorite, Millbrook Vineyards and Winery is open for tastings this fall. On weekends, tastings happen outdoors in a tent ($15/per person), and on weekdays, socially-distanced tastings happen inside (also $15). Either way, you need to reserve your spot ahead of time. Weekends also bring a selection of food trucks, and you can bring your own picnic to lounge and nosh on the green expanse, as the kids run wild. Bring your mask—you must keep it on when you're not sipping or social-distancing.
26 Wing Rd.
This 200-acre vineyard on the North Fork of Long Island (a real hotspot of wine production, thanks to ideal climate conditions) grows 14 different grape varieties. Kick back and relax with a glass—like the vineyard's pinot noir, voted best at the NY Wine & Food Classic. They are open for tastings—with new safety protocols in place—and while reservations are not required, they are recommended. The winery has developed a menu with individual baskets for a contact-free vineyard experience which you can view here. You can call 631-298-0075 to do so, or reserve via Open Table. (The vineyard, previously owned by the Entenmann family—yes, the treats—was sold in 2018 to the Rivero-González family, who own a vineyard in Parras, Coahuila, Mexico. The name changed from Martha Clara Vineyards to RGNY in 2019.)
Jamesport Farm Brewery
Also in Riverhead, Jamesport Farm Brewery promises "farm to pint" beers. Indeed, much of its product is made using hops, wheat and barley grown on site, and food options include cheese plates, backyard brine pickles and a "big ass pretzel", as well as food truck offerings Friday to Sunday. A wide open grassy space makes for good lounging, and you can play a round of corn hole if you like. Jamesport Farm Brewery is also dog-friendly. There is one pretty big catch with this lovely spot: no one under 21 is allowed on Saturdays and Sundays, and yes, that includes babies and kids in strollers!
5873 Sound Ave.
Harbes Family Farm & Vineyard
You can pretty much kill every autumnal activity bird with one stone at Harbes Family Farm & Vineyard. Stop by tastings in a restored, 100-year-old barn from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m., daily, then take your pick of fun fall activities including apple-picking, pumpkin-picking, hayrides and navigating a huge corn maze (this year's design is gnome-inspired.) Plus a barnyard adventure zone with pig races (!), a petting zoo, tractor trikes, sandboxes, a new playground, sports zone and much more!
715 Sound Ave.
Blue Point Brewery
This home grown brewery in Patchogue on Long Island, which made its name with a Toasted Lager, moved into some huge new digs last spring. It's a beer-lover's heaven, with a dizzying number of beers on tap, in bottles and cans, as well as ciders, wine, and non-alcoholic drinks. (It's reopened for outdoor and indoor dining at reduced capacity and with a modified menu.) You can read all of the brewery's safety measures and policies here, which include mask-wearing, and ordering via QR code. The menu is filled with hearty fare, as well as (fittingly) an oyster bar featuring fresh shucking. Other reasons to like them: kids and dogs are welcome, and they have a beer advocating making voting day a national holiday! They're open Tuesday through Sunday.
Blue Pint Brewery
225 W. Main St.
Wölffer Estate Vineyard
Wölffer Estate Vineyard Sagaponack is a class act, with stunning grounds, Insta-friendly flights and food and several seating areas for taking it all in. The vineyard is open with COVID-19 safety measures in place, and reservations are required. You can experience Wölffer in a few ways: at The Wine Stand, a casual affair which has visitors relaxing on the grass and watching the sun set over the vineyard, or book a tasting or vineyard tour. (As you probably know, you are required to have some food with your drinks.) Make a reservation up to two weeks in advance on their website, and if you want to go all-in, don't miss the vineyard's Annual Harvest Party on October 9, 10 & 11. Reimagined as a lunch with private tables, the big to-do features food from Jacques Gautier of Palo Santo, grape stomping, and winemaker Roman Roth. (It's not cheap: $250/adults; $150/kids.) Open daily, 11 a.m. to 7 pm.
139 Sagg Rd.
Wine tasting, live music, picnic tables-a-plenty and lots of room to run around. Plus, outdoor sangria bars. What's not to like? You can also get tasty bites such as oysters and panini.
44075 Main Rd.
Apple Dave's Distillery
A trip to Apple Dave's Orchard and Distillery means you can combine an apple-picking outing with sampling local beers, seasonal cocktails, and wines and ciders from area makers. (A flight of cider is pictured above.) Apple Dave's has a dozen apple varieties on 112 acres, plus flower and herb gardens, scenic views and walking trails, live music on weekends and a country store selling apple cider and doughnuts, produce, pies, mums and gifts. Masks must be worn if social distancing not possible. Apple Dave's is one hour from the George Washington Bridge and 20 minutes from Woodbury Commons.
82 Four Corners Rd.
Further north and located in Ulster County, is the more relaxed and casual Benmarl Winery. Overlooking the Hudson River Valley claims to be the oldest vineyard in America. It's kid-and dog-friendly, and on weekends, they make fresh pizza from a wood-fired oven. While the winery typically holds a big harvest fest, this year it's focusing on tastings for parties of eight or less, featuring its fantastic views, and a la carte bites. Reservations are required; make them here.
156 Highland Ave.
featured image: Tina Witherspoon via Unsplash