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…)

04/24/17 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…)

04/20/17 10:10am
A bottle of Palmer VIneyards Albariño. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

A bottle of Palmer Vineyards Albariño. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

It can be easy to forget that the Long Island wine industry was founded in 1973, not that long ago as far as wine regions go. For comparison, Pliny the Elder recorded the first evidence of vines in Bordeaux in 71 AD.

Long Island has done well for itself in its first 40 plus years, but when you look at the region with a global perspective, it’s still a toddler. Maybe even a baby.

Several grapes have come and gone over the course of Long Island wine country’s history — zinfandel was even tried early on — and a handful of grapes have emerged as those showing great promise here. Those include merlot, chardonnay, cabernet franc and sauvignon blanc. (more…)

04/18/17 6:00am
A bottle of 'Share the Love' White Blend. (Credit: Madison Fender)

A bottle of ‘Share the Love’ White Blend. (Credit: Madison Fender)

It’s spring on the North Fork. The air is fresh and the great outdoors is calling.

We asked Long Island food and wine pros what they will be drinking this season. This is what they said.

The catch? Winemakers cannot pick their own brands.

(more…)

04/05/17 10:13am
A bottle of Wölffer Estate Vineyard 2016 Sauvignon Blanc. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

A bottle of Wölffer Estate Vineyard 2016 Sauvignon Blanc. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

Chardonnay is still the most-planted white grape on Long Island, but few think that it’s the white grape that best captures the essence of the region’s terroir. For most, including me, that grape is sauvignon blanc.

Wölffer Estate’s Roman Roth hasn’t been making sauvignon blanc as long as some local winemakers, but his wines are always fine examples — fresh, clean and seafood-ready. Our wine of the week, Wölffer Estate Vineyard 2016 Sauvignon Blanc ($22) is no different. (more…)

03/31/17 6:01am
Sparkling Pointe's 2014 Brut. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

Sparkling Pointe’s 2014 Brut. (Credit: Lenn Thompson)

Do me — and yourself — a favor and don’t reserve sparkling wine only for parties and special occasions. Sparkling wine makes any night (or heck, even morning) a celebration. And, with so many underrated local sparkling wines available, why not drink them more often? (more…)