The Winemaker Studio is a place for the unconventional and the obscure; a tasting room for the little guy.
Owner and independent wine maker Anthony Nappa opened the Peconic Lane studio this summer to highlight not only his own label, but to collaborate with other local and independent winemakers who may otherwise not have a place to showcase their wines.
“A region reaches a certain maturity when you can populate a tasting room with independent winemakers,” Mr. Nappa said. “None of us would have enough wine to support a tasting room, but it works if we do it together.”
This camaraderie led to the collaboration of winemakers Roman Roth, Russell Hearn and John Leo to feature their private labels, Grapes of Roth, SUHRU Wines and Leo Family, respectively. What has emerged is a place to find small production wines from those four winemakers and other independent winemakers from the East End. The studio has a rotating list of more than a dozen other private labels and new brands.
“While a film has an emphasis on a director, or a restaurant on a chef, The Winemaker Studio places the emphasis on the winemaker,” said tasting rooms manager Chris Fanjul.
The tasting room itself even seems to have an independent personality. Artwork featured by local artist Corey Salinger hangs on the walls alongside photography from Mr. Fanjul. A chalkboard behind the tasting room highlights the wine of the week that is always either from an independent winemaker, hard to find, or just something they think is worth sharing.
“People appreciate the general simplicity,” said Mr. Nappa on the absence of the conventional tasting flight found in almost every other tasting room. “There are no rules here. It’s a conversation. We are happy to direct you and help people learn, but without teaching or being pretentious.”
The studio even offers a happy hour from 5-7 p.m. for discounted glasses of wine and social conversations with the industry crowd and the winemakers themselves.
Mr. Nappa said for the independent producers featured at The Winemaker Studio it’s about just trying to carve out your place in the world of wine.
“We are doing something that is so traditional, and so entrenched in society and our culture,” he said. “Maybe 50 years after I’m dead someone might appreciate a wine I made, that’s all it is, that tiny moment of immortality.”