05/02/17 5:58am

Bottles of Channing Daughters VerVino. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

Bottles of Channing Daughters VerVino. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

For most Americans, vermouth tends to be binary — either red and sweet or white and dry. It’s the stuff on the bottom shelf at the liquor store that’s usually cheap and only useful for martinis and Manhattans. That’s a bit like thinking that all there is to wine is $7 merlot and chardonnay.

It’s just not true  — and if you feel that way, you’re really missing out. (more…)

04/26/17 5:58am

It’s been more than 40 years since Alex and Louisa Hargrave planted Long Island’s first commercial grapes and much has changed in the year’s since. (For example, you probably won’t see Paumanok Vineyards founder Charles Massoud wearing bell bottoms.)

But what has remained is a love and commitment to our unique terroir and growing grapes in the sometimes-challenging, always-rewarding maritime climate.

If these phtos leave you feeling a little nostalgic, we highly recommend picking up Louisa Hargrave’s memoir “The Vineyard” (available here) for a more in-depth account of local wine history.

Enjoy looking back on Long Island Wine Country’s past. All photos courtesy of the vineyards. (more…)

04/25/17 6:01am
Madiran The Wine Bar

Jacqueline Malenda inside Madiran The Wine Bar. (Credit: David Benthal)

It’s rare that a sixth-grade science fair project predicts one’s career, but that was the case for Jacqueline Malenda, proprietor of Madiran the Wine Bar in East Setauket. While her classmates were growing sugar crystals and measuring electrical currents, Malenda made wine with grapes from the supermarket.

With her parents’ help, she made that single bottle of 8 percent alcohol-by-volume wine using household items like a potato masher, cheesecloth, pitchers and a funnel.

“After making a presentation at the science fair, I came home with the blue ribbon. And the faculty drank my bottle!” (more…)

04/24/17 6:03am
The tasting room at Kontokosta Winery . (Credit: Randee Daddona)

The tasting room at Kontokosta Winery. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

Choosing the exact coordinates for Kontokosta Winery’s tasting room was no arbitrary decision.

To find them, brothers and business owners Michael and Constantine Kontokosta set out on the Greenport property one day with a yardstick, some duct tape and a ladder in search of the perfect sightline to the bluff at the edge of their 62-acre property.

“We’d put the ladder down. Step up a few rungs and say, ‘Nope. It’s got to come over a few feet,’ ” said Michael Kontokosta, who also has the added surveying advantage of being 6-foot-4.

It took about an hour and quite a bit of bickering, but the brothers finally pinpointed what would be the center of the stately yet modern structure.

“We said, OK, everything starts from this point,” he said.

When asked if he thinks he made the correct decision, he doesn’t even pause: “I know we got it right.” (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…)

04/19/17 10:08am
Long Island Wine Press

Matt Michel of 1943 Pizza Bar. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

Great pizza is the holy grail for countless Americans, so it’s not surprising that the wood-fired pies from Rolling in Dough, Southold restaurateur Matthew Michel’s aptly named food truck, quickly amassed an East End following when the business was featured in a 2009 Vogue magazine spread.

“The issue came out in August and I started getting a bunch of Hamptons parties,” said Michel, who is 33 and grew up in West Haven, Conn. “Since then, it’s really taken off.”

In less than a decade, Rolling in Dough, which operates from a retrofitted 1943 K-6 International Harvester truck, has developed a loyal base of East End customers who tend to book parties a year in advance. Demand is so high, in fact, that Michel recently purchased a second truck, which he hopes will be operational by early June. (more…)