In 1614 Andrian Block, a Dutch explorer, became the first European man to sail around Long Island. In 1616 Block drew a map of the area and christened the land "Lange Eylandt," which translates into English as Long Island. Thus, the Long Island name for our region has been in continuous use from 1616 to the present day.
It is certain that the Native Americans of the region harvested wild grapes as part of their diet. After 1640, the early settlers trained native grapes onto arbors behind their homes. European wine grapes were not grown on Long Island until the Prince Nursery Company (located in western Long Island) began growing and selling vines in the late 1700's. One of the earliest viticultural books written in the United States was by William R. Prince in 1830. His Treatise on the Vine states that "soils ... when porous, fine, and friable in their composition ... are the most suitable for the plant and for the quality of the wine." More recently, the world renowned Australian viticulturist Dr. Richard Smart, on a rare trip to Long Island in February of 2000, stated that the soils of Long Island "are among the finest soils for grape growing that I have ever seen in the world."
The first Long Island vineyard was planted in 1973 in the town of Cutchogue, N.Y. By the late 70's and early 80's word of interesting wines started to percolate back from the East End. Pioneering winemakers of Long Island began to discover the potential for fine wine which lay buried in the soils of the east end for so long. As acreage expanded in the 80's and 90's, Long Island wines began to catch the attention of wine experts around the word. After nearly forty years, the region continues to grow and improve. Long Island wines are proving themselves worthy of respect. The best have a style all their own, with moderate alcohol, intense aromatics and crisp acidity. Today, the Long Island wine region remains the largest producer of European wine grapes on the East Coast and a quality leader in the New World.