Long Island’s growing wine industry will be showcased at a...

Long Island’s growing wine industry will be showcased at a wine festival to be held on three successive weekends in September. Credit: Handout

Long Island's wine industry, seeking to demonstrate that it has become a significant economic sector in the region, will be showing off its wares in tastings, lectures, auctions and dinners on three successive weekends beginning Sept. 3.

Harvest East End, the largest celebration of harvest season and Long Island wine country, is, according to its promoters, a declaration that the North and South forks are now the among the fastest-growing wine regions in the country.

Harvest East End takes place Sept. 3, Sept. 10 and Sept. 16 and 17, across the East End. Twenty-eight wineries will be participating in tastings and lectures; there will be six exclusive dinners (seating for 12 people only) at East End mansions. Diners get a six-course meal and Long Island wines, at a cost of $350.

"This is the most important event of the year for the Long Island wine industry," said Roman Roth, chairman of Harvest East End and executive vice president of the Long Island Merlot Alliance, an organizer of the event, along with the Long Island Wine Council. "You don't have to fly to France or California to experience a real vineyard," Roth said.

Last year, the first year of Harvest East End, about 800 people attended, and over $60,000 was raised for the three beneficiaries -- East End Hospice, Group for the East End, an environmental organization, and the Peconic Land Trust.

NPR's Faith Middleton is the mistress of ceremonies.

The Island's wine industry, started 30 years ago with one vineyard, has grown into a major tourist attraction, drawing some 1.2 million visitors annually to its 50 vineyards that offer tours and tastings.

Hourlong wine salons offering behind-the-scenes looks at vineyard operations will be held Sept. 3, 10 and 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at different wineries. The six separate dinners for 12 people will be Sept. 16 beginning at sundown.

The cornerstone of the three-weekend event is the Harvest Moon Gala, Sept. 17, from 7 to 11 p.m., at the Ludlow Farm, home of the Mecox Bay Dairy, in Bridgehampton.

You'll need to consult the website for more details: harvesteastend.com or email info@longislandmerlot.com.