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The Best of Bottled New York: Empire State Cellars

We’re back with another introduction to one of our favorite East End businesses: Empire State Cellars! Everyone knows that the North Fork is home to vineyards galore (and now distilleries and breweries are popping up left and right, too), but did you know that we have an incredible tasting room right in the neighborhood that focuses solely on New York State liquor, wine, and beer?! If you didn’t, you need to head over to the Tanger Outlets in Riverhead stat to experience “The Best of Bottled New York!”

Empire State Cellars opened in November 2011 as a satellite tasting facility of the now-closed Peconic Bay Winery. The front of the store is very much what you’d expect of a well-kept liquor store: wide aisles with rows upon rows of clearly displayed bottles, but what sets them apart is the selection that’s available. At Empire State Cellars, you’ll find anything from a Brooklyn craft brew to a bottle of aged, Niagra red wine, and absolutely everything in between. The variety of both the products that they sell and the New York regions from which those products come is as vast as it could get.

While it’s a no-brainer that I’m a huge fan of their incredible selection of New York State liquor, wine, and beer, I think my favorite part of the Empire State Cellars experience is the ambiance while you’re hanging out there. They have these tremendous, gorgeous, custom-made wooden tables—monstrous slabs of raw wood atop gigantic barrels. Seriously, I’m obsessed. It’s the perfect spot to sit and relax with a couple of friends while you taste a couple of local beverages from the tasting bar conveniently located just a few feet away.

Hung above the tasting bar is a colorful print of New York State, displaying all of the New York wine regions. All around the tasting bar, there are chalkboard signs that display all the menu options: wine tasting choices, beers on tap, as well as a notice to customers that growlers are available to fill with any beer of your choice. In addition, there are smaller chalkboard stands to let customers know about the Empire State Wine Club and Empire State Growler Club, which can be joined at monthly or yearly rates.

Empire State Cellars isn’t only a place to go to enjoy New York State liquor, wine, and beer, but it’s a place where you can get a genuine education about the industry that you’re supporting when you buy local, and about the impact of local sustainability. The staff at Empire State Cellars are not only extremely knowledgeable, but they’re also super approachable, and are happy to teach customers about anything industry-related. There are pictures of local producers all over the wall by the tasting bar—at Empire State Cellars, you’re not just buying and enjoying local products, you have the unique opportunity to get familiar with the people picking the ingredients and producing the goods.

After spending some time at Empire State Cellars, you’ll quickly understand just why they’re called The Best of Bottled New York—they truly showcase every, single great thing that comes in a bottle from our beloved home state. At Hotel Indigo East End, we’re proud to be partnering with such a stellar neighborhood company to support local sustainability and community business.

Be on the lookout for some great events coming up that tie Hotel Indigo East End, Empire State Cellars, and The Hampton Cigar Company together for a night of luxurious fun!


Hotel Indigo East End + Hampton Cigar Company = Great Times

It’s no secret that at Hotel Indigo East End, we are huge proponents of local businesses and community camaraderie. With that in mind, we’re incredibly excited to be announcing that we’ll be working much more closely with two great East End companies a lot more often: Hampton Cigar Company and Empire State Cellars!

As your premier location for luxury on the East End without breaking the bank, we’re thrilled to be adding even more amenities to offer our guests in partnering with the Hampton Cigar Co. and Empire State Cellars. We’d like to you to get to know each of our new partners more intimately, so we thought it best to introduce them to you here!

Hampton Cigar Company

The Hampton Cigar Company launched this summer with one central mission: to bring a high-quality product with no attitude to an industry that has a lot of attitude. At the Hampton Cigar Co., there is no wrong way to smoke a cigar (contrary to what some cigar aficionados may have to say about it), but just two important rules to bear in mind:

  1. Smoke it however you’d like
  2. Be respectful of those around you

Following their two simple rules is easy, because they’re currently based at Hotel Indigo as part of their evolution into partnering with Indigo and adding value and amenities to our guest experience. We will soon be selling single cigars at the bar in Bistro 72, and we’re looking forward to opening a gorgeous, designated cigar space by next summer, complete with a fire pit and plenty of room to kick back, relax, and enjoy a fine cigar. Currently, the Hampton Cigar Company offers cigar bars as an add-on for weddings, corporate events, and celebrations of all kinds. Give your guests a night to remember with an additional element of sophistication at your party.

The Hampton Cigar Co. prides themselves on simplicity in both their products and in their service. Whether you’ve been smoking cigars for 40 years or you’ve never picked one up before, they make the experience of smoking a cigar a true pleasure without all the fuss. They produce three blends, all in one shape and one size, so there’s nothing intimidating about making your selection.

The green-labeled cigar is their mild blend, the blue label is for the medium-bodied blend, and the red label is for the full-bodied blend.

Hampton Cigar Co. cigars also feature pigtails at the end—you don’t even have to worry about having a cigar cutter on hand, because all you do is twist and pop it off and you’re ready to go. You’re supposed to smoke cigars when you’re relaxing or celebrating, and the Hampton Cigar Co. has covered all the bases to ensure you have the best, stress-free experience with their product.

Stay tuned for our post to introduce Empire State Cellars coming early next week!

Have ideas for how our budding partnership can serve you even better? Share your ideas with us on Facebook! Connect with the Hampton Cigar Company and Empire State Cellars on Facebook, too!


Dan's Harvest East End 2014 - An Incredible Success

The highly anticipated Dan’s Harvest East End 2014 was this past weekend, and it was everything we could’ve asked for and more! This year’s Harvest was especially exciting, because we had the pleasure of hosting a very important guest: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo! Gov. Cuomo has been a tremendous advocate of farm-based industries, bringing a great deal of awareness to the robust craft beverage industry that’s been rapidly expanding throughout New York State. Our entire East End community was thrilled to have him as a part of our celebration.

McCall’s Vineyard and Ranch was as gorgeous as ever on Saturday night—the perfect setting for an evening full of great wine, food, and friends. This year’s awards ceremony was presented by Gov. Cuomo, who delivered the “Winery of the Year” award to Macari Vineyard & Winery in Mattituck. The competition at Harvest East End 2014 included 835 wines, 20 hard ciders, and eight spirits from throughout the state. 22 judges, including wine writers, restaurateurs, retailers, and wine educators, performed blind tastings to determine the winners.

In addition, Gov. Cuomo also announced the following winners from the “Best of Long Island” wines in the 2014 New York Wine & Food Classic competition:

  • Best Dessert Wine: Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard’s Cheval Bleu
  • Best Rose Wine: Wolffer Estate 2013 Grandiose Rose
  • Best White Wine: Martha Clara 2012 Chardonnay
  • Best Sparkling Wine: Sparkling Pointe 2005 Brut Selection (also named the Best Sparkling Wine of New York)
  • Best Red Wine: Macari 2010 Cabernet Franc (also named the Best Red Wine of New York)

“I am proud to be a part of such a good fundraiser that symbolizes what Long Island’s all about,” said Chef Lia Fallon of the North Fork. “There are so many great things to celebrate on the East End.” Harvest East End is an opportunity for all of us to get together and take in all of the incredible products made right in our backyards, and to be proud of our accomplishments.

“These wines, hand in hand with the absolute beauty of Long Island, present newcomers and fans with a perfect platform for what makes New York so unique,” said Ron Goerler, Chair of Harvest Fest and owner of Jamesport Vineyards. Everywhere you turned during Saturday’s event, you found people with nothing but praise for Long Island Wine Country.

“The fact is, there is simply nothing in the world like a New York wine,” said Jim Trezise, president of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation. “Today was really an opportunity to showcase the drivers behind the wine industry’s growth in New York, which has received unparalleled support from Albany by way of open ears and real regulatory reform.” Trezise’s words couldn’t be truer, given Gov. Cuomo’s dedication to supporting the New York wine industry.

According to a Governor’s Press Release this past week, “the number of based businesses manufacturing wine, beer, spirits and cider using ingredients grown in New York has increased by 100 percent since 2011. In addition, the total number of manufacturers producing alcoholic beverages in New York has increased by 105 percent since 2011.” There will be a new advertisement being run starting this Labor Day to support our industry, and the State will be allocating an additional $300,000 for future advertisements, events, and transportation services to increase tourism throughout our craft beverage industry.

All through 2015, targeted weekends will be offering deals on wineries, hotels, restaurants, and other Long Island businesses in partnership with Delta and Avis-Budget. All of the attention that this industry is being given will be an incredible leg up for countless Long Islanders—we’ll be able to generate more revenue, create more jobs, and just generally prosper as a community.

We could not be more proud of the efforts and accomplishments of our neighbors and friends throughout the East End community. We are beyond excited to be a part of this powerful movement to show people from far and wide just how incredible Long Island is, and everything we have to offer. Thank you for being a part of this journey with us!


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