Wine journalist Amy Zavatto has been named the new executive director of the Long Island Merlot Alliance, the organization announced in a press release on Tuesday.
Zavatto, who has written for the Edible publications, Imbibe and Details — and is a judge in the annual New York Wine & Food Classic — succeeds previous director Deborah Brenner.
A Shelter Island native, Zavatto’s duties will include promoting Long Island merlot and merlot-based blends as well as educating wine drinkers as to their merits.
She will also oversee the first-ever “Long Island Merlot Month” this November, though it was not immediately clear what the event would entail.
“I am thrilled to be working with such a talented, passionate group of winemakers and proud to promote their wines and the wines of my home region,” she said in a press release.
Now in its 10th year, LIMA promotes the region’s signature varietal and produces Long Island’s only cooperative merlot blend, “Merliance.” The wine, made by LIMA-member winemakers and produced at Premium Wine Group in Mattituck, is usually released around May.
“I have known and worked with Amy for a long time, and with her I believe we have found a true advocate for the region,” Roman Roth, President of LIMA and partner/winemaker at Wölffer Estate Vineyard, said in a statement. “Amy has the unique perspective of not only logging more than a decade as a dedicated wine journalist, but one who literally grew up alongside the vines of eastern Long Island. Her perspective, knowledge, and relationships will be invaluable to us.”
In a statement, Zavatto also said she is looking to form alliances with other wine groups in the region, as well as work with the current administration in Albany to bring more attention and focus to New York wine.