Not to be “Debbie Downer” but the summer is almost halfway over. It’s not that we are looking at this in terms of the glass being half empty, but rather as a motivation to take advantage of some of the fun seasonal activities that like us, you might be saying, “I’ll get around to shortly.” We love summer in the city. Once you get past some of the offensive smells, the city seems to buzz with energy. But sometimes you just need to get away and for many of us that means trips to the beach, European getaways (lucky bastards) and of course visits to the wineries.

2006_07_food_CabernetGrapes.jpgThis weekend, Gothamist packed up our bags and went on the annual “Lover Family North Fork Winery Tour” (don’t get the wrong idea, Lover is our last name – and thank god we talked Dad out of making matching t-shirts). During this visit we stopped at Peconic Bay Winery, Lenz, Jason’s Vineyard and Pindar. Now we don’t want to bore you with all the details – it was a great time and nobody killed each other. We drank some excellent wines (Lenz – our hands down favorite) and had some bad (Jason’s Vineyard just didn’t do it for us) – but as they say, the family that drinks together stays together. It’s worked thus far.

So, time to take out your planner. Over the next eight weeks there will be exciting events at the vineyards on Long Island. Sure it’s a bit of a trek, but think of the time you’ve wasted trying to get across town during rush hour. Here are some of our favorites coming up…

When: August 3rd
What: Tasting Class: Wines of Spain
Where: Channing Daughters Winery, 631.537.7224
When: 6pm – 8pm
Cost: $75

When: August 5th
What: Chardonnay World Classic (unlimited tastings and cheese)
Where: Lenz, 631.734.6010
When: 5:30pm – 8pm
Cost: $35

When: August 12th
What: Perfect Pairs Chef Series: Loretta LaPolo (paella and wine)
Where: Palmer Vineyards, 631.722.WINE
When: 12:30 and 2pm
Cost: $8, includes glass of wine, food tasting and the recipe

When: August 12 – 13th
What: “Sunflowers for Wishes”, Make-A-Wish fundraiser (live music)
Where: Pindar, 631.734.6200
Cost: $5 donation, includes a bouquet of sunflowers

When: August 12th
What: Concert, Jerry Cardone and the Danny Vincent Orchestra perform a Sinatra Tribute
Where: Peconic Bay Vineyards, 631.727.0900
Cost: $15

Or, if you prefer the more low key route, just go out there to sample the wines, take a tour or two and drink some unpretentious wine in a comfy chair overlooking acres of vineyards. Sometimes it takes a little jaunt away from the city to appreciate what you’ve got. Boy we missed you, food cart man.