The Long Island wine region has struggled with its identity and been hampered by a lack of innovation, wine writer Jon Bonné said in a recent piece for PUNCH.
However, Bonné, an author and wine columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, noted that a wave of longtime and new winemakers are now working to change all that.
“Long Island shows great promise — hints of that essential desire of any maturing wine region to claim its own identity, rather than simply to adopt someone else’s.”
“A handful of winemakers — both newer talents and a handful of long-established producers, like Paumanok — are working to answer some important questions: How do you get past the growing pains and figure out what types of wine you might uniquely contribute to the world?”
Bonné credits Southold Farm + Cellar’s Regan Meador for renewing his interest in the region, in part by growing grapes like lagrein and teroldego on the North Fork.
“So much is geared to, ‘What do I need in my tasting room?’ ” Meador told Bonné. “Versus, what does the world need from Long Island?”
While so, so many articles still do not show a sophisticated understanding of Long Island Wine Country, the PUNCH piece is one that thoughtfully examines the local industry — even if not everyone will agree with Bonné’s conclusions.
Interestingly enough, the local industry has been working to crystallize what the Long Island region stands for, at least from a marketing perspective. The Long Island Wine Council recently hired its first marketing director and will soon implement a unified branding strategy that focuses on the product itself and less on agritainment.
“What the council has been doing from a branding perspective is taking the steps to clearly articulate how the unique attributes of our region make it distinct from other wine regions,” said Long Island Wine Council marketing director Ali Tuthill. “We hope that our members will then adapt that positioning to their own business models, of which product plays a role.”