1 After spending a comfortable night with the horses at Spy Coast Farm, located on Strong’s Neck in Setauket, New York, Betsy arrived at Martha Clara Vineyards for the 10th Annual Spring Vineyard Ride.
2 She was assisted by Gyurme, who is seen here unclipping my horses, Rinze and Ramon.
3 After tacking up the horses on this hot and sultry morning, Betsy waited for the ride to begin.
4 Here I am with Sally Lynch, President and one of the founders of Old Field Farm Ltd., the not-for-profit organization that currently operates Old Field Farm, the farm and stables of which are considered historic county parkland. Photo credit: Peter Marney
5 Here I am at the check-in table with Christine Wise, who told me she's been an extremely dedicated fan for decades. She had no idea I would be riding was so surprised. She told me that, as a Christmas gift, Sally renews her subscription to Living since the first issue. Photo credit: Peter Marney
6 To honor the 10th year, the ride started off with a sparkling white wine toast, a product of Martha Clara.
7 We congregated in a private area of the vineyard, away from the busy tasting room.
8 Angela, our guide through the vineyards, braided the mane of her paint horse with green pompoms.
9 Another rider braided their horse's mane with clusters of grapes. Photo credit: Peter Baigent
10 All disciplines of riding got together for this important event.
11 Betsy rode Ramon. Photo credit: Peter Marney
12 And I rode Rinze. Photo credit: Peter Marney
13 In 1978, Robert Entenmann purchased a potato farm and transformed it into a thoroughbred horse farm. Photo credit: Peter Marney
14 After enjoying his horses for several years, in 1995, Robert, like many others on the North Fork, began planting vitis vinifera, or wine grapes.
15 Over the next 4 years, his vinyard acreage grew to more than 100 acres as he anxiously waited for the grapes to come of age. Photo credit: Peter Marney
16 When they did, Robert names his venture after his mother, Martha Clara Entenmann. Photo credit: Peter Marney
17 Today, upon 200 acres, Martha Clara Vineyard grows more than a dozen types of classic European varietals including Chardonnay, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah. Photo credit: Peter Marney
18 There is also a complete tasting room and a gift shop.
19 Martha Clara Vineyards hosts weekend horse-drawn carriage tours of the vineyard and plays host to a wide variety of special events.
20 We left Martha Clara and rode through potato fields.
21 Despite of the rise of grape growing on eastern Long Island, one of the largest crops in the farm fields there continues to be potatoes.
22 Another big farming industry are sod farms. This field is just beginning to grow.
23 Paumanok Vineyards was founded in the spring of 1983. The 103 acre estate is entirely owned and managed by Ursula and Charles Massoud and their 3 sons. They grow Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot.
24 The traditional dense planting of the vineyards at 1100 vines per acre produces more concentrated fruit and therefore, higher quality vines. Only estate grown grapes are used in their wines and production is limited to fewer than 900 cases.
25 Posing with Paumanok Vineyards Ursula and Charles Massoud. Their winery is a renovated turn-of-the-century barn that houses a fermentation tank room and lab. Photo credit: Peter Marney
26 Here we are with Sally Lynch. The spacious tasting room was built on top of the barrel cellar and is surrounded by an inviting deck overlooking the vineyards. It's a lovely setting for private parties and weddings, and there are many special events throughout the year. Photo credit: Peter Marney
27 On our way to Jamesport Vineyards, we passed Jamesport Manor Inn. Jamesport Vineyards has been producing award-winning wines since 1986. The vineyards were planted in 1981, making them some of the oldest on the North Fork, by the Goerler family on their 60 acre estate in Cutchogue.
28 This is Jamesport Manor Inn. The wines produced at Jamesport Vineyards are estate grown, produced, and bottled and are of the highest quality. They include Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc.
29 The final winery was Diliberto, owned by Sal and Maryann Diliberto, who are passionate about their Italian heritage and their wines. The design of the tasting room allows visitors to taste award winning wines in an atmosphere similar to the experience they would have sitting in a small piazza in Italy.
30 With 4 acres of planted vines on Manor Lane in Jamesport, Diliberto Winery is certainly one of the smallest wineries on the East End of Long Island. They grow Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah.
31 On our way back to Martha Clara, we passed by great expanses of wheat.
32 Back at Martha Clara, Betsy and Gyurme led Rinze and Ramon to the hose-down area.
33 Lunch was served under the tent.
34 Rinze felt better after his shower.
35 I was given this lovely basket, with wine from each of the 4 vineyards, as a gift for being the guest of honor.
36 I mentioned that Betsy and the horses stayed at Spy Coast Farm the night before the Vineyard Ride. Located on Strong’s Neck in Setauket, New York, this magnificent farm overlooks Long Island Sound. Betsy took this photo while exercising Rinze.
37 The tall structure is the original stone silo from when this was a cattle farm. Stairs were built on the inside to climb as a lookout.
38 During the Revolutionary War, George Washington commissioned the Setauket Spy Ring to operate from the area. It's said that the patriot, Anna Smith Strong, received intelligence from the local tavern owner.
39 She then hung her laundry line in a predetermined array in order to inform the whale boat captain, Caleb Brewster, in which harbor the Redcoats were located. Their efforts contributed in no small measure to the success of the Patriot troops.
40 This is Susie, the stable manager.
41 This is the stable.
42 Another shot
43 Rinze relaxing in his stall
44 And this is the riding arena.