1st Annual ‘Gracie’s – Long Island Winery Tour’


For the second year in a row, the team at Gracie’s visited our favorite vineyards on Long Island’s North Fork. We have spent the past four years cultivating relationships with our favorite winemakers on the North Fork. This was our opportunity to share those experiences with our staff so they, in turn, may share those experiences with you.

This trip was not exclusively about wine education. The bonds made with one another, and the memories created, will outlive all of the delicious wine we tasted. This is team building without having to label it as such. Laughter, song, food, wine, and time to relax and enjoy each other’s company proved much more valuable than any obstacle course, marshmallow structure, or ice breaking activity. Real organic relationships were created, strengthened, and nurtured in a most beautiful way.

Many of the teammates joining us had minimal exposure to the winemaking process as experienced from the vineyard. This was the opportunity to fill in the missing links, the same missing links that helped me discover my love for wine so many years ago. Sharing experiences, facilitating learning and growth, and turning people onto new things is what we do best! I am honored to have been part of this very special excursion to a very special place with the most awesome people I know.

Each winery was so different and unique. I could definitely taste the love & hard work of the winemakers in each of the wines we tasted.

My favorite wine has to be the Rose from Shinn Estates Vineyard. Never has a wine transported me into a strapless maxi dress while strutting down the boardwalk near the ocean. The taste and color of it was so beautiful and sexy. I will never forget it!

For me, Sparkling Pointe Winery was the most memorable experience of the trip. Between the sparkling wine production tour and surprising miss Ellen while wearing an authentic Rio de Janeiro Carnival headdress, I have never felt so close to my new Gracie’s family. 

I can’t thank you enough for allowing me to share this once and lifetime experience. Gracie’s truly changed the way i see myself as a server. Gracie’s truly cares about the development and well being of their staff. Thank you soo much!

~Gabriel

 

Our trip to Long Island was certainly eye-opening. Never before had I thought about the time and money invested in each bottle of wine. According to John at One Woman Wines & Vineyards, it will take owner Claudia Purita at least 15 years to break even. I also had never realized the risk involved in winemaking. One year, One Woman experienced a hail storm and all crop was destroyed.

Purita’s work ethic is beyond inspiring. She has hand-planted many of the vines on her property and tends to them largely on her own. As if her days weren’t consumed enough, the group of us stopped at D’Latte Cafe for breakfast the next morning where I indulged in a muffin, cookie, AND cupcake which I learned were all baked by Ms. Purita!

Aside from being an incredible learning experience, this trip also allowed for bonding with my teammates. I have never before worked with a group of people so witty, knowledgeable, and passionate to learn. Between belly-aching laughter and belting out Disney songs, we formed a bond which was valuable to bring home to Gracie’s. It is important to have trust and comradery when working together to provide the ultimate guest experience.

I feel beyond lucky and privileged to work for professionals who care deeply enough to provide such educational and first-hand experiences to their employees.

~Tanya

Being fortunate enough to return to the North Fork of Long Island for the second time this year, I took it upon myself to notice the little things and often unnoticed details. In my attempt to do so, I found myself more fascinated by the facts that demonstrate how winemaking is truly a labor of love. This was made most apparent with the story of Claudia from One Woman. She has managed to cultivate her once hobby into a fully functioning vineyard with outstanding product. The passion of the winemakers we have been able to meet on Long Island is comparative to our team at Gracie’s and our drive to support our mission. Being able to notice, and appreciate, this love of craft made my experience that much more enjoyable, and more importantly memorable.

~Eric

 

Originally being from Long Island, NY, I couldn’t believe I had never been to the wineries on the eastern end on the island. I jumped at the opportunity to tour some of the vineyards where we source some of our delicious wines. We visited three vineyards; One Woman, Shinn Estates, and Sparkling Pointe. The vineyards were each very unique and beautiful in their own way, varying in size. Upon arrival, again, the only thought going through my mind was ‘why have you never been out here?’

The entire experience was extremely insightful and educational, while at the same time giving me the opportunity to experience the story of each individual wine we tasted. I look forward to bringing these individual stories back to the restaurant and sharing them with our guests. The camaraderie between co-workers whom I also consider family was amazing. I made bonds with newer teammates and memories that I will never forget. I am extremely grateful for the whole experience.

~Manny

During my trip to the North Fork of Long Island, I experienced a culture shock. We traveled throughout the town, indulging in everything from North Fork Roasting Co. (NO FO RO CO), the duck egg burrito, to the “juice” before it becomes sparkling wine. Visiting the vineyards gave us a first hand look at the production process. This was a life changing experience! Knowing the science behind their processes and even getting the full scope on the history of the vineyards proved to be invaluable. I will forever hold this experience in my heart, thank you team Gracie’s and most importantly thank you, Miss Ellen Slattery.

~Luke

 

This was my first time to Long Island as well as my first time doing a winery tour. I don’t have a lot of experience with wine but I now have a better idea of what winemakers go through to produce what they do. It is a huge investment of time and money for the unknown ending product.

It was impressive to see different establishments/wineries produce what they do with what they have. From the winemaker of One Woman Winery producing everything herself and coming from pretty much nothing. Moving on to Shinn Vineyards with a collaboration between two people having trust in each other to produce their products. The experience ended with Sparking Pointe where a huge establishment is in large scale production as well, bottling sparkling wines for other vineyards that do not have the equipment

~Peter

404