When it comes to kid-friendly places on the East End, vineyards rarely make the list. Starting this season, however, Shinn Estate Vineyards in Mattituck is working to change that. Over the course of six Sundays this summer, the vineyard will present Vine-tastic!, its new youth and family programming designed to engage children and their families while fundraising for the Peconic Community School.
“We’ve been wanting to do something like this for a couple of years,” says Barbara Shinn, owner and viticulturist, and member of the Peconic Community School Board. “We just never had a staff member saying, ‘Yeah, I feel the same way. Let’s do this.’ Now, though, we have Krista Kaiser. She’s so great. She came up with the entire schedule and now we’re just fleshing it out.”
A tasting room staff member, Kaiser brings a decade of experience in early childhood education, and previously worked seven years at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science.
The schedule she created includes Weeds Are Our Friends (a program designed to teach kids and their families about the vineyard’s flowers and the work weeds do) and Bee-lieve it Adventures! (a course on—you guessed it—everybody’s favorite pollinators).
The program is open to all children between ages 6 and 12. Adult-age family members are welcome to tag along. The cost for each program is $25 for one child and $50 for two or more. Adults are free. All proceeds will go the Peconic Community School.
“The Peconic Community School is just so wonderful,” says Shinn. “Basically, a group of home-schooling moms got together and created a school. It’s been around for four years. They just did a preliminary fundraiser. They asked me to donate wine and I said, ‘Of course.’ After that, I became more involved and I started doing farm days with the kids. It’s been so great. They’re up to 43 students, but they’re doing pre-school now, too. They have a really good after-school program, as well.”
More than just a fundraiser, though, Vine-tastic is a gift to all local parents looking to get their kids a little less screen-time and a little more green-time.
“It’s going to be so great for the kids,” says Shinn. “They’ll be outside. They’ll be walking and exploring and learning. Most of all, though, they’ll be having a lot fun.”
Vine-tastic programming will run on the following dates (all Sundays): June 12, June 28, July 10, July 24, August 14, and August 28 between 10 and 11 a.m. Reservations are requested.