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Suhru wine

Head to Suhru for International Chocolate and Cheese Day. (Photo credit: Northforker staff)

If you have not yet sipped Suhru Wines’ crisp whites and light tannin reds, you’re about to have an excellent opportunity to do so.

The label, founded by Australia-born winemaker Russell Hearn and his wife Susan, has amassed quite the following since it was founded in 2008 even as the couple has been exclusively selling the wines wholesale and at farmers markets.

Now Suhru Wines is opening its first tasting room in the former location of Waters Crest Winery on Main Road in Cutchogue. The Hearns signed the lease in January and have been renovating the 1,350-square-foot space into a cozy beach-inspired respite. They aim to open later this month.

“We call it the ‘Tasting House,’ because it has a homey feel,” Susan said. “We want people to come in and feel comfortable.”

Russell — perhaps best known as winemaker for Lieb Cellars  — has been producing wine on the North Fork for nearly 30 years. He met his wife nearly 10 years earlier while traveling in New Zealand and they moved to the North Fork in 1990.

“Russ felt that the North Fork in particular was the most prominent area to be if you were making wine on the East Coast,” Susan said. “It has been a real progression since we moved here.”

The Hearns launched T’Jara Vineyards in Mattituck in 2007 and the Suhru label one year later. The name is all in the family. Suhru is a playful combination of Susan and Russell with the H in the middle being a nod to their surname.

“We started Suhru when our [two] daughters moved out of the house and we had extra time,” said Susan, a physical therapist. “We were looking for a project we could do together.”

The Hearns have now been harvesting grapes from vines of pinot grigio, riesling, sauvignon blanc, shiraz, merlot, cabernet franc, petit verdot, cabernet sauvignon and malbec over the past decade. The label currently boasts five wines: 2013 Suhru Ember, 2016 Pinot Grigio, 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, 2016 Dry Riesling and 2012 Shiraz. A sparkling wine will also be added to the roster this year.

“I was never really a fine wine drinker until I met Russ,” Susan said. “I have been traveling around the world, drinking wines and developing a passion. These wines are all the wines I enjoy drinking.”

The Hearns’ two daughters, Shelby and Kylie, are also taking up the family business. Shelby is overseeing marketing and outreach while Kylie, a web developer, has taken the lead on the brand’s website and digital footprint.

“The fun part about being in the family business is that we all play to our strengths,” said Shelby, who will also help run the tasting room.  “The four of us all have different skill sets that complement each other.”

Both Suhru Wine and T’Jara Vineyard wines will be served by the flight, glass and bottle when the tasting house opens at 28735 Main Road, Cutchogue in the coming weeks.