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Bedell Cellars’ assistant winemaker, Seferino Cotzojay, crouches on top of the grape crusher as Raven Blake of Greenport stomps down the grapes to make room for more. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch file photo)

From picking grapes to bottling vintages, Hispanic vineyard workers play an integral role in producing the North Fork wine we all enjoy. Despite this, the Latino community has a much less conspicuous presence in local tasting rooms — something Seferino Cotzojay wants to change.

Next month, Cotzojay, who is the assistant winemaker at Bedell Cellars in Cutchogue, will host the winery’s first-ever barrel tasting and tour conducted entirely in Spanish. Dubbed “¡Vino Latino!, the event takes place Sunday, April 12, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at Bedell.

“As we all know, there is a lot of Latino help in the vineyard,” Cotzojay, a Guatemala native who began working at Bedell in 2005, said. “I think it’s time to start educating the Latino community about tasting wines and matching them with food.”


¡Vino Latino! participants will be welcomed with a flute of sparkling wine upon arrival, said Cotzojay, 30. From there, they’ll head to the vineyard to discuss plantings and “how it’s important to make wine,” he said.

Attendees will then have the opportunity to taste 2014 red and white wines straight from the barrel and tanks, Cotzojay said. Additional wines will be included in the tasting but have not yet been decided upon, he said. The event is complimentary for Bedell’s Wine Club members plus one guest, and $60 for all other participants. The cost of admission includes a local cheese platter. To make reservations, click here.

“An event like this could potentially open up a new horizon to the Latino community,” Cotzojay said. “So far, nobody has done it.”

Bedell Cellars is located at 36225 Main Road in Cutchogue.