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…)
Harvest will begin soon, and all of our vintners are planning for that yearly point of no return. Here is a quiz so you can test yourselves on your own familiarity with matters vinous. I’ve thrown in a few questions from my past years’ quizzes to give you a chance to redeem yourselves. Feel free to go to Google if you get flummoxed. (more…)
Bedell Cellars frequently displays contemporary art work, like the piece by Mickalene Thomas which appears on its First Crush, on its bottles of wine. (Credit: Courtesy)
Every wine label, every bottle design, creates expectations. The package design makes the brand, and as such is the best way to communicate the story behind the wine.
In the past, until the 1980s, wine packaging followed a format typical of a region. You could quickly tell by bottle shape and label elaboration whether a wine was from France, Germany, Italy or Spain. But the rapid growth of the California wine industry opened the door to more unusual and innovative designs. (more…)
Louisa Hargrave asks ‘How can the wineries reach real customers while discouraging freeloaders.’ (Credit: Carrie Miller)
Tasting room visits are important to Long Island’s wineries. On-site visits create loyal customers and wineries get to keep 30 percent of the retail price that would otherwise go to distributors. But one limo load of tipsy party seekers can ruin the tasting experience for everyone. Crowds of tourists will affect the quality and essential nature of the places they come to see. How can the wineries reach real customers while discouraging the freeloaders?
From day to day, it’s not hard to see the changes as the shoots push up toward the sun, but it’s the invisible life of the vine that will determine the outcome at harvest. (Credit: Vera Chinese photo)
June is an exciting time for vintners. All of the promise of this year’s vintage already exists within the new shoots of every vine. Seeing their vibrant color, I’m always reminded of Dylan Thomas’s words “The force that through the green fuse drives the flower/Drives my green age … ” (more…)