Twenty-six years ago we printed the very first edition of Long Island Wine Press.
A letter from the editor in the inaugural issue, published on newsprint and featuring a cover photo of Bedell Reserve Merlot grapes, explained why such a publication highlighting the Long Island wine industry was necessary.
“The vines are getting older, and every year of age gives a deeper, more intense and complex flavor to the fruit they annually produce,” wrote editor Michael Todd. “The winemakers, too, have matured. Whilst all of them still experiment with every vintage, by now they have been dealing with Long Island weather and fruit for long enough to know their basic material — and what they can do with it.”
The issue then featured brief profiles of the region’s 15 wineries, only eight of which still operate under the same name, along with news stories from the industry. We published just one issue that year.
Much like the wineries have changed over their decades in operation, so too has the Wine Press. What was once a vehicle for the Long Island Wine Council produced by each of the East End newspaper companies — Helen Rattray of the East Hampton Star is credited with coming up with the idea for a local wine publication — is now solely a product of the magazine division of Times Review Media Group.
Over the past several years we’ve moved far beyond the original concept and experimented with a more broadly themed publication, covering not only the wine industry but also winery-adjacent interests. We also expanded the Long Island Wine Press to four seasonal issues.
After launching northforker magazine in 2017, we wanted to find a way to differentiate more between our two lifestyle publications. The idea was to return a bit to our roots. Instead of bringing food, beer, outdoors and real estate content to the Wine Press, we will instead be bringing wine industry coverage to northforker, which we’ve expanded to 10 issues in 2018.
As a result, we’ve returned the Wine Press to more of a guide format, giving wine country visitors information about each of Long Island’s wineries along with supplementary information to enhance your stay here.
For our cover story, writer Lenn Thompson focused on the evolution of winemaking on Long Island. The cover photo features, among others, a pair of men whose portraits appeared in our first issue: Richard Olsen-Harbich and Eric Fry.
It’s been 45 years since the first grapes were planted on the North Fork and the industry continues to change. So, too, does the Wine Press.
Grant Parpan, Content Director