Jamesport Vineyards brought the North Fork wine industry to the next level this weekend with its newest tasting room, a joint venture between the vineyard and Shelter Island’s new restaurant, Salt, located on the waterfront.
“This is the first tasting room you can reach by boat,” said Salt co-owner Keith Bavaro. “Opening weekend was fantastic. It was a big hit even though we haven’t done any advertising for it yet.”
Not only is the tasting room the first that can be accessed directly by boat, it’s also the first satellite tasting room on Shelter Island.
The genesis for the new tasting outlet occurred when Jamesport Vineyards owner Ron Goerler visited the restaurant with his retail manager, Jack Perdie. “[Mr. Bavaro] had a building that he wasn’t using,” Mr. Goerler said, “and he asked if we wanted to open a tasting room.”
He said the two looked at Mr. Bavaro as if he had two heads but agreed to look at the building anyway.
Once they saw the space, Mr. Goerler said everything began to “make sense.”
He said the waterfront view and the restaurant were just the icing on the cake. What really “made sense” to him was the island itself as an untapped resource for the wine industry.
“With our license we’re allowed to open up to five different locations under the Farm Winery Act,” Mr. Goerler said. “We felt that having a presence for Jamesport where restaurants support us is important because as business models change, retail continues to drive this all.”
Though the regular hours are still being worked out for the new tasting room, Mr. Bavaro said he expects it will be open from noon to 9 p.m. all week through the Fourth of July.