Small-batch winery Coffee Pot Cellars recently received some big accolades.
Wine Enthusiast has awarded the winery’s 2014 Merlot 92 points and an Editor’s Choice honor, as well as a spot in the prominent wine publication’s annual Top 100 Wine List.
Owner and winemaker Adam Suprenant is very proud of the accomplishment, noting that he and wife Laura Klahre, owner of Blossom Meadow Farms, pour their hearts into the work.
“It’s a 24/7 job,” Suprenant said. “Sometimes there’s not enough hours in the day. This is kind of the gravy that makes it all worthwhile. And to make the Top 100 list … I can tell you that not many producers our size get into such rarified air.”
Suprenant said that 2014 was a uniquely good year for production.
“It was almost Napa weather,” he explained. “We had low humidity, warm summer temperatures and it got so cool at night that you needed to close your windows.”
Suprenant noted that the dry, warm weather they had in September and October of that year was “the real closer” that made the harvest great.
“What we want is warm and dry [weather] with minimal fog and wetting periods,” he explained. “The grapes, as they get ripe, get soft and susceptible to a host of diseases. So when we get that warm summer weather — not unlike this past October — it’s super unusual. That really makes the harvest.”
The 2014 vintage was also pure merlot, with no blending. They sell it for $28 a bottle.
“What I do with merlot is showcase it as its own variety,” he said. “For me, merlot, petit verdot and cabernet franc are our strongest red grapes out here.”
Merlot is also part of a major initiative for Suprenant and Klahre, who in 2018 started the Merlot for Monarchs campaign to help repopulate monarch butterflies on Long Island.
Monarch butterflies have declined by 80 percent over the last 20 years, according to Klahre, whose Blossom Meadow Farms raises bees and makes jam. The campaign started in 2018, with the farm growing a milkweed plant for every bottle of merlot sold. Milkweed is the only plant caterpillars can feed on.
The campaign has sold around 3,500 bottles of merlot to date, with many customers excited to help the cause.
“You learn about monarch butterflies in kindergarten but a lot of people forget that they only lay their eggs on milkweed,” said Klahre. “So people come in, enjoy the wine and you tell them about it.”
You can buy a bottle of merlot and help repopulate Long Island with monarch butterflies by visiting Coffee Pot Cellars at 31855 Main Road, Cutchogue.