I often have said that the vineyards in the North Fork can sometimes feel like you are going around the world in 80 days. Each one of them have such a unique vibe, one minute you feel like you’re in France and the next stop down the road you’re transported to Spain. Well, if you are looking to head to Italy anytime soon, Raphael will certainly take you there, no passport required. I have lived in the North Fork for over three years now, and for some reason I had never gone until today. I am so sorry it took me this long! The entire grounds of the vineyard are set up like I imagine you would find in tuscany. Standing outside the double wooden doors, I couldn’t wait to see what was behind them, and the expectation did not disappoint. The entrance is grandiose, with cathedral ceilings and cast iron chandeliers hanging throughout the entire room. A balcony decorated with lighting lined the entire place and exposed beams added to the rustic Italian charm. There is a large center circular bar in the middle, and tables for both larger and smaller parties to accommodate everyone. Tables are only for those buying bottles and food, the bar is made for glasses and tastings only. This gives you an opportunity for the bartender to tell you more about the different kinds of wines.
I was with a group of 4, so we took a table inside (it was hot so we opted in for AC) and ordered a bottle of riesling, the asiago cheese platter and a margarita pizza. The wine came over in a cute little portable ice bag, which you get to keep as a souvenir. I thought that was a great little detail, and the bag is perfect to bring to the beach or picnics. The food was excellent, no one had any complaints there. In fact, the asiago cheese platter came with olives and a marmalade the was actually quite the crowd pleaser. There was a singer that serenaded the crowd with songs like U2’s “All I Want Is You” and Rod Stewart’s “Have You Ever Seen The Rain?” ( A popular tune at vineyards by the way). Once we were done, we headed out to the back. There is a large balcony with more tables, and even an additional seating area off the balcony that is under a bistro lit pergola (my favorite!). The vineyard surrounds the entire building so no matter where you sit outside, you have a beautiful view.
Raphael was truly a stunning vineyard. It is perfect for couples, groups of friends, and I highly suggest it for anyone looking for a place to go on a date. Guarantee it will impress!
Photo Credit: @bridgetbenjamin