07/11/17 6:03am
Roanoke Vineyards

Richie Pisacano at Roanoke Vineyards in Riverhead. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

You could argue the region’s best wines — both from a fan perspective and that of a wine critic — are grown by Richie Pisacano.

It’s in part because Pisacano, vineyard manger at Wölffer Estate Vineyard and co-owner of Roanoke Vineyards in Riverhead, has the benefit of 40 years’ experience in an industry that is just four years older than that.

The longtime vineyard manager took a job with Mudd Vineyards in 1977, at age 15, working to install some of the North Fork’s first vineyards. Now 55, he’s probably the youngest person among the first wave of Long Island wine growers still working in the business.

He recalled the energy and enthusiasm in the region after the Hargraves planted the first commercial grapes in Cutchogue in 1973.

“We started grafting grapevines and that’s what drew me in,” he said during an early June interview. “It was magnetic.” (more…)

12/22/15 1:08am
Gabby Pisacano in the vineyard. (Credit: Courtesy of Roanoke Vineyards)

Gabby Pisacano in the vineyard. (Credit: Courtesy of Roanoke Vineyards)

Gasper Pisacano of Riverhead — the force behind Roanoke Vineyards’ popular Gabby’s Cab Franc wine and a familiar face at the winery — died at Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead Friday, Dec. 18, according to his family. He was 85.

Born in Huntington in 1930 to Marie and Joseph Pisacano, the man who was known to all as “Gabby” served in the U.S. Marine Corps before marrying his late wife Adeline in 1956. The couple raised five children together — Linda, Stephen, Michael, Rich and Maria (Bassemir).

He spent his working years as a business owner in various industries, especially bars and restaurants. Locally, he owned Settler’s Lounge on Youngs Avenue in Southold. (more…)

10/16/15 5:50am

grapes vineyardWhat do you think of when you hear the term “Long Island wine?”

Does it call to mind supple, sophisticated bottles of cabernet franc and merlot, or a crisp sauvignon blanc that pairs perfectly with oysters harvested from Peconic Bay? Or maybe, for you, Long Island wine is less synonymous with the product itself, but a summer day spent “out east” drinking rosé and laughing with friends?

In the 42 years since Alex and Louisa Hargrave planted the first commercial vineyard in Cutchogue, the industry, like that of any burgeoning wine region, has experienced periods of significant change in both atmosphere and reputation.

And until recently, there has never been a large-scale, unified effort to create a brand.  (more…)