They came from everywhere from Aquebogue to New York City and beyond — some by car and many by the busload — to the sold out North Fork Crush event at Jamesport Vineyards Saturday.
With more than a dozen North Fork wineries pouring vino and several artisanal food producers offering their products for sale, the sold out afternoon session of the event drew more than 500 people. An additional 350 tickets had been sold for an evening session.
Many of those interviewed where young professionals who live in New York City, yet never tasted Long Island wine before.
“We had 150 people bussed out of Manhattan. We were shocked how many people took advantage [of a ticket and bus deal],” said Jamesport Vineyards president Ron Goerler Jr. “These are people that are discovering Long Island wines for the first time.”
“We plan to build this thing bigger,” he added.
A general admission ticket, which cost between $69 and $79, netted guests a souvenir tasting glass and samplings of the wineries’ offerings. Cheese and vegetable platters were provided by noah’s of Greenport. A VIP ticket included early admission and a seafood platter.
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The laid-back event, organized by New York Wine Events, attracted a diverse audience, though attendance skewed toward a younger, urban and sophisticated crowd.
“It’s an eclectic kind of grouping. It’s very enjoyable,” said Patrice Drury of Westchester County. “I like to see how everyone dresses. Some people dress like they’re going to a party and some people like me are dressing for the weather.”
Several New York City residents noted that although they enjoy wine, they were unfamiliar with the wine region in their backyards.
“They know about Montauk. They know about the Hamptons. But in my circle of friends, not too many people know about the North Fork,” said Adam Steinberg, 34, of Forest Hills.
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He noted that transportation issues might make it difficult for city dwellers to make the trip out east.
“I think this setting is a lot better than vineyard hopping,” said Steinberg, who purchased a bottle of Coffee Pot Cellars wine to enjoy with his crew on the bus ride back home.
It also helps smaller wine producers like Coffee Pot or the brand new Saltbird Cellars get their name out to the public.
“This is a great way to meet people and get feedback. People come out to the wineries and they don’t always get to talk to the winemaker,” said Adam Suprenant, who is owner and winemaker at Coffee Pot Cellars as well as Osprey’s Dominion. “For us [Coffee Pot] because we’re newer, we’re still fighting the battle of being recognized.”
See more photos from the event below.