04/28/17 6:00am
There are value Long Island wines in many different price ranges. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

There are value Long Island wines in many different price ranges. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

While the East End of Long Island offers beautiful scenery and recreation, it is the distinct food and wine landscape and deep pride in it that sets this area apart. 

I was born and raised on the cusp of western Long Island, in Queens, and began working in restaurants in 1968 at the age of 15. At the time, I was just looking to stay out of trouble and save up some money to buy an amp, but it quickly became apparent that I had been bitten by the kitchen bug. I went on to spend time in culinary school and worked in dozens of L.I. restaurants. Throughout those years, I was lucky to work with regional ingredients and vendors, which gave me an appreciation for Long Island and its agricultural offerings and roots. (more…)

04/21/17 5:59am
Long Island Wine Council president and Wolffer Estate Vineyard winemaker Roman Roth. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

Long Island Wine Council president and Wolffer Estate Vineyard winemaker Roman Roth. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

Dear Friends of the Long Island wine region,

Spring is one of the best times of year on the East End. You’re finally free from the shackles of layers of clothing and are able to enjoy the sun’s warm rays. I’m sure plants feel the same way. The gardens, trees, farm fields and vineyards come alive again. Their tender leaves soak up the sun, displaying a beautiful, fresh light-green color that symbolizes new beginnings, youth, hope, immortality and fertility. (more…)

02/24/17 6:07am
Long Island winery wine grapes harvest

A ripening vineyard on the North Fork of Long Island. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

The first day in 1973 that my then-husband, Alex, and I arrived on the farm we’d bought in Cutchogue, on Long Island’s North Fork, to plant the region’s first vineyard, our neighbor Jeanie Zuhoski welcomed us on our long farm road bearing a home-baked pie. That was over 40 years ago. Since then, much has changed here. But the land and the community’s deep connection to it are still the same.

It made all the difference for us to be welcomed so warmly to the North Fork. We were young upstarts with plans for a crop no one else was growing. Inspired by our love of Bordeaux and Burgundy wines, we wanted to plant vitis vinifera, the kind of grapes that all the world’s best wines are made from. If we couldn’t grow cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, merlot, chardonnay or sauvignon blanc, we didn’t want to grow grapes at all. (more…)

01/20/17 6:03am
Long Island Wine Council president and Wolffer Estate Vineyard winemaker Roman Roth. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

Long Island Wine Council president and Wolffer Estate Vineyard winemaker Roman Roth. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

Dear Visitors and Friends,

The long and seemingly never-ending winter season is upon us with all its highs and lows. It’s a wonderful time to be cozy in front of a fireplace (with your favorite Long Island wine at arm’s length). (more…)

09/27/16 8:40am
Long Island Wine Council president Roman Roth. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

Long Island Wine Council president Roman Roth. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

Dear friends,

The most important, and by far the busiest, time for a vintner is harvest.

It’s the pinnacle of a year’s work and the rewarding moment when one carefully picks the grapes and brings in the harvest. The intensity and excitement are at their highest. Every decision has a major impact on quality. There’s no room for error. Paying close attention to every detail is crucial and, after countless 12- to 16-hour workdays, it takes everything of you to ensure that another great vintage gets safely into the tanks and barrels. (more…)

08/21/16 10:36am
The crowd at Dan's Harvest East End. (Credit: Madison Fender photos)

The crowd at Dan’s Harvest East End. (Credit: Madison Fender photos)

The crowd was dense and the wine flowed freely at the 7th annual Dan’s Harvest East End Saturday night at McCall Vineyards and Ranch in Cutchogue.

Food and wine lovers came together at this annual celebration to sample the best of the North and South forks. More than two dozen wineries were on hand to pour their wines, while over 30 of the region’s best chefs and food purveyors served up samples of their specialities.

The party was once again organized by Dan’s Papers and the Long Island Wine Council and the Food Network’s Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian served as host for the second year in a row. (more…)

08/19/16 10:09am
Dan's Harvest East End will once again be held at McCall Vineyards and Ranch in Cutchogue. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file photo)

Dan’s Harvest East End will once again be held at McCall Vineyards and Ranch in Cutchogue. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file photo)

This Saturday evening, Aug. 20, at 7:30 (or 6:30 if you splurge for the VIP ticket), McCall Wines in Cutchogue will host Dan’s Harvest East End, organized by Dan’s Papers and Long Island Wine Council. Part of the proceeds will benefit Long Island Farm Bureau and HRHCare, two worthy causes.

These types of events are a lot of fun. There’s a lot of wine, a lot of food and it’s always good to see so many of the “Who’s Who” in the local culinary and wine world. But as someone who tends to eschew large crowds, who also likes to taste wine in a slightly more controlled setting, they aren’t my favorite things in the world. With so many food vendors and revelers doused in perfume and cologne, it’s difficult for me to taste the wines as well as I’d like. Some writers are far better at it than I am, admittedly. (more…)