The story of Martha Clara Vineyards begins with Robert Entenmann, the grandson of William Entenmann, who founded the world renowned Entenmann’s bakery in Brooklyn in 1898. After running the prosperous family business for many years, Robert decided it was time for a change and purchased a potato farm on the North Fork of Long Island. He transformed it into a thoroughbred horse farm, and for many years enjoyed his horses and the beauty of the area. However, it was impossible not to notice the changing landscape all around him as the surrounding farmland gave way to vineyards; it wasn’t long before Robert followed suit.
He began by planting 18 acres of vitis vinifera grapes. Soon, he extended his vineyard acreages to over 100 acres of grapes, and eventually began producing wine under the name Martha Clara Vineyards, a tribute to his mother who has been the support system behind the bakery, tirelessly ensuring the quality of the family’s products.
Today, white wines available include Riesling, Semillon, Viogner, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, Ciel, and blends Northern Solstice and Glaciers End. The winery produces three varietals of Rose, while the selection of reds includes Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and the Northville and Glaciers End blends. A sparkling wine is also available.
Horses still appear on the property, guiding guests through the farm on a charming carriage ride. Expect to see sprawling fields of wildflowers and sunflowers as well as llamas, alpacas, goats, baby doll sheep, peacocks and Scottish Highland cattle, some of which were lovingly rescued.
The vineyard also frequently plays host to art exhibits, cooking demonstrations, film festivals and benefit concerts, which have featured Jimmy Cliff, Mary Wilson and Jimmy Buffet.
Tastings are available Sunday through Friday from 11am – 5pm and Saturdays from 11am – 6pm. The tasting room is a lively and great place to visit, with live music on weekends. The fall is the most beautiful time on year at the vineyard, and also the busiest. Visitors can expect to see grapes being harvested and the beginning of the winemaking process. Winter is a peaceful and romantic time to visit, as the vineyard crew is hard at work pruning the vines. In the spring the “bud break” occurs, when the newly formed first leaves of the season develop that will soon lead to the formation of the season’s grapes. Summer is an excellent time to see the vineyard and surrounding farmlands in their full glory. Whatever the season, be sure to make a reservation for a tasting group of six or more.
Horse drawn carriage tours are available on weekends.