01/31/17 6:03am
Inside the tasting room at Wölffer Estate Vineyard. (Credit: David Benthal)

Inside the tasting room at Wölffer Estate Vineyard. (Credit: David Benthal)

Suellen Tunney’s instincts about her destiny were confirmed by a glass of rosé.

In 2007, the New Jersey native, then working as a restaurant manager, took a trip to Napa Valley that prompted an aha! moment.

During a stop on a wine tour, Tunney, now tasting room director at Wölffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack, asked someone in the industry, “How in the world did you get this amazing job?” (more…)

01/30/17 6:01am
Raphael La Fontana. (Credit: Krysten Massa)

Raphael La Fontana. (Credit: Krysten Massa)

“My goal for this wine is more savory and tannin driven, but still light on its feet. The influence is from my love of Italian wines, in this case particularly Barolo.”

That’s how Raphael winemaker, Anthony Nappa, describes his approach to Raphael 2013 La Fontana, a blend of estate-grown merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, malbec and petit verdot that was aged in French oak barrels for 18 months. You won’t hear many local winemakers talk about Italy as their inspiration, but Nappa often does. It’s refreshing in a region still dominated with Bordeaux references and descriptions of why the wines aren’t like those in California. (more…)

01/25/17 6:02am
Linh Trieu

Linh Trieu holds up a braised short rib sandwich at Wednesday’s Table in Southold. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

As clichéd as might sound, Linh Trieu admitted, Sept. 11 prompted her to reassess her life’s direction. Specifically, she said, the terrorist attacks made her realize she no longer wanted to work as a web designer for Bloomberg in Manhattan, where she had spent the past four years.

“I always wanted to cook,” the 39-year-old said during a recent interview at Wednesday’s Table, the Southold café she co-owns with sister Lena Tanzi. “So at that point I was like, you know what? I’m gonna do it. Screw it. Life’s too short.” (more…)

01/24/17 6:03am
Waters Crest Winery

Jim Waters inside his Cutchogue tasting room. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

It was the biggest leap of faith Jim Waters ever took in his life.

In October 2003, Waters, then a home winemaker working out of his Manorville garage, opened Waters Crest Winery in Cutchogue. The boutique operation initially produced a few hundred cases per year, which is teeny-tiny even by Long Island standards. But it attracted a loyal following of wine enthusiasts looking for an intimate tasting experience.

Two years later, Waters realized he needed to make a deeper commitment to his hobby-turned-business. So after two successful decades in hospitality and service businesses, he quit his management position at Budget Truck Rental.

The Waters family was all in. (more…)

01/23/17 9:31am
Sherwood House Vineyards

e Alex Rosanelli of Hound’s Tree wines inside the Sherwood House Vineyards tasting room. (Credit: Monique Sigh-Roy)

At first glance, Alex Rosanelli looks like any other young, put-together North Fork tourist. But Rosanelli, who recently launched the local wine label Hound’s Tree wines with his uncle Alfredo Apolloni, has deep roots on the East End. And the pair’s winemaking roots run even deeper.

Apolloni owns the eponymous Apolloni Vineyards in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, where he is known for his pinot noir and Italian-style wines. A first-generation American whose family hails from the Arezzo region of Tuscany, he brought his winemaking skills with him to the U.S. in the 1970s.

His nephew Rosanelli, who grew up in Rye and spent summers in East Hampton, lives in Mattituck and Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Time spent at Apolloni’s West Coast vineyard helped cultivate his love of winemaking. (more…)

01/23/17 9:20am
Lenn Thompson and a group of East End winemakers sampled these 2001 Long Island reds. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

Lenn Thompson and a group of East End winemakers sampled these 2001 Long Island reds. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

Long Island’s 2001 vintage was remarkable mostly for how it ended.

“We had 10 to 14 days of Indian Summer,” said Wölffer Estate Vineyard’s partner and winemaker Roman Roth. “The last grapes were being picked in December.”

For Kareem Massoud, it was memorable as the year he started to make wines at Paumanok Vineyards, his family’s winery. He remembers the late-season weather too.

“I remember standing out in the vineyard in December. It was in the 70s and it just seemed remarkable,” he said during a recent tasting at the Aquebogue vineyard.

For me, the 2001 vintage is memorable because its red wines were on the market when I first started writing about Long Island wine. It was the vintage that showed me Long Island’s potential and made me fall in love with the region. (more…)