White House sommelier visits Coffee Pot Cellars

Coffee Pot Cellars in Cutchogue. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file photo)

Coffee Pot Cellars in Cutchogue. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file)

Coffee Pot Cellars in Cutchogue received a rather presidential visitor last Friday — Daniel Shanks, the White House’s director of food and beverage and its sommelier.

Shanks purchased a bottle of Coffee Pot’s 2013 Meritage, some Blossom Meadow honey, a T-shirt and even decorated corks for Coffee Pot’s winasaur, a dinosaur-shaped topiary made of wine corks.

Shanks and his wife Linda tasted through the wines with Coffee Pot Cellars tasting room manager Laura Klahre and discussed the First Lady’s healthy eating intiatives.

“You just never know who is going to walk in,” said Klahre, who is also a beekeeper and sells her Blossom Meadow Farms honey products in the tasting room. “[We’re] so glad to be part of the fabric of the North Fork.”

Shanks took copious notes with a black felt pen, writing in cursive on a yellow steno pad, Klahre said. While he said he worked for the White House, he didn’t say exactly what he did. And his business card certainly underplayed his role.

“While the card states that he works for the White House, his title says usher,” Klahre said. “I googled him after they left and only then did I learn that he is the White House Sommelier! “

Shanks told Klahre that he and his wife planned to visit other East End wineries during their trip. It is not clear what other vineyards they stopped at or if any Long Island wines would make it onto an upcoming White House menu.

Representatives from the White House did return a request for comment.

This is not the first connection for Long Island wine and the President’s office. In recent years, Bedell Cellars 2009 merlot was served at President Barack Obama’s 2013 inaugural luncheon. And Wölffer Estate Vineyard’s Perle Chardonnay was served during a lunch meeting between Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2015.