My self-made summer resolutions this year include venturing out to the hidden gems in the nooks and crannies of my beloved New York City. The first stop in this adventure was to explore Red Hook, Brooklyn—a charming neighborhood set against pre-Civil War cobblestones, idiosyncratic bars and eateries, and edgy art galleries that line up the lively streets.
Red Hook was once upon a time home to a busy shipyard and abandoned warehouses. Over time, the lone neighborhood transformed into an affordable residential area that is now occupied by young professionals and budding families. On one of the first beautiful Saturday afternoons in May, I wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan and enjoy some serenity.
I got off Carroll Street Station off the F line and walked the 28 minutes it took to get to Red Hook (the transportation system could certainly be refined, although the B57 and B61 bus lines connect Red Hook to Downtown Brooklyn). When I entered the heart of the neighborhood, I had to remind myself that I was still in fact in New York City, and did not magically transport to a charming small-town in suburban Connecticut.
The Red Hook Winery, the destination I was anxious to go to, gives way to a picturesque view of the Statute of Liberty surrounded with stunning blue water. Founded in 2008, one of the main objectives of this winery is to highlight the New York State vineyards dispersed throughout the North Fork of Long Island and the Finger Lakes regions. As a native New Yorker, I am not accustomed to driving, so a microcosm of the upstate region is certainly appreciated!
My companion and I walked into a repurposed location that looked like it was probably a warehouse in a previous life and were immediately greeted by a cheery server. We were seated at a table, tastefully overseeing the water, and given a tasting menu. To our surprise, we could sample four tastes, two-ounce pours each, for only $18.
As a zealous white wine lover, I first opted for a 2017 Pinot Gris, a 2014 Sauvignon Blanc hailing from the Macari Vineyard in North Fork of Long Island and a 2014 Chardonnay. Our fourth wine was a red Cabernet Franc, also from the North Fork of Long Island. Accompanying my Saturday afternoon liquid lunch, we shared a bag of rosemary flatbread crackers and a generous slice of a bright and malty cheddar. After all, calories don’t count on the weekends, and certainly not liquid ones.
I often make pour decisions, but ordering a second tasting was not one of them. For our second tasting, we decided to try some other wines, even opting for a slightly acidic apple cider-ish white that I usually refrain from. Our server even offered us a complimentary rose, that was a perfect blend of sweet and subtle and ideal to cool off the afternoon heat. Two hours and generous pours later, it was time to supply my stomach with some carbs to offset the liquid damage.
All in all, The Red Hook Winery is a perfect location for a first date, Sunday Funday, or even group birthday celebrations. Although it does not serve many food options, the savory and sweet treats (i.e. the milk chocolate and caramel cookies) are a perfect accompaniment to the abundant selections of wine. Trust me, you’ll be very grapeful for this recommendation.
Written by Pooja Shah; Photos by Pooja Shah.
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The Red Hook Winery is open daily from 12pm - 6pm; Pier 41, Brooklyn, NY 11231.