By Lenn Thompson, Editor-in-Chief

HARVEST EE large Harvest season is always bustling and fun on the East End of Long Island, but this year there is another (though expensive) reason to get out there — HARVEST, a wine auction and celebration of Long Island's East End — to benefit the Peconic Land Trust and East End Hospice.

Organized by the Long Island Merlot Alliance and Long Island Wine Council with support from the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, HARVEST is happen September 24-25 at Wölffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack and at local vineyards on both forks.

It's a bit of a complicated festival, but the basics are:

Friday, September 24

7 p.m. – 11 p.m. 10-Mile Dinners. Single ticket $350.
Ten dinners at 10 private locations—homes, yachts, gardens—with an unforgettable, locally sourced meal, each hosted by a top East End winemaker and regional chef.

Saturday, September 25

10 a.m. – 2 p.m. The Wine Salon. Single ticket $25.
Educational and intellectual programs spanning wine-making and tasting; cooking; sensory explorations and more. Programs will be held at wineries across the East End.

4 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., Festival Tasting of Long Island’s Bounty. Single ticket $125.
Grand tasting of Long Island wines, including wines to be offered at auction. Small plates of local, seasonal dishes by East End chefs partnered with farmers and food artisans. Silent auction of regional treasures. Held at Wölffer Estate Vineyard.

7 p.m. – 11 p.m., Gala Dinner & Live Auction of Long Island Wine. Single ticket $275.
Ticket includes entry to the Festival Tasting.
A world-class, farm-to-table dinner created by premier East End chefs Keith Luce, Gerry Hayden and Claudia Fleming. A live auction of Long Island wines and extraordinary experiences. Live music and dancing. Held at Wölffer Estate Vineyard.

As you can see, it's not exactly a cheap date on the East End, but it promises to be a special occasion worthy of a splurge. Plus there are ticket packages that make the costs a bit more reasonable.

You can read all the details about participating restaurants, chefs and wineries on the event site.

Several weeks ago, it looked as though the NYCR would be a regional media sponsor and even organize a more moderately priced "wine bar" event to contribute, but then the organizers were lucky enough to have Wine Spectator sign on as "Presenting Sponsor" and, despite my best efforts, WS won't bend their rule about other wine publications not being allowed to sponsor their events.

My feelings are mixed on that, of course, but ultimately what matters is Peconic Land Trust and East End Hospice. 

Check out the HARVEST site and keep an eye out for updates leading up to the event.