There’s a new winemaker at RGNY.
Jonathan G. Bomberg is replacing outgoing winemaker Lilia Perez. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Bomberg grew up around their mother’s family dairy farm and loved science in school.
“I always had a tie to the earth,” Bomberg said. After “discovering” wine at 21, Bomberg studied oenology at University of California-Davis and eventually worked in Napa Valley.
Bomberg took a break from winemaking during the pandemic and moved to New York, where they studied philosophy at Columbia University.
“I focused on aesthetics, on the theories of beauty and art, which tie closely to how we appreciate wine,” they said. “And so I was on the East Coast, I was in New York City and I was [interested in] getting back in the wine industry.”
Bomberg traveled to the North Fork and met with both Perez and RGNY owner Maria Rivero Gonzalez.
“I realized how much our philosophies were in line, the idea of really natural winemaking and production and being sustainable in the vineyards and really pushing towards innovation,” said Bomberg, who pointed to Perez’s use of amphoras, clay vessels for which to ferment and age wines, which Bomberg had also used.
Bomberg was somewhat familiar with the North Fork region prior to RGNY.
“I’d tasted Macari and Channing Daughters quite a bit back in California,” Bomberg said. “I still have a 1995 Merlot from Channing Daughters in my cellar that I haven’t opened yet, I’m excited to see where that’s at!”
The winemaker is excited to work on the North Fork for a variety of reasons.
“It’s the unique terroir, the climate and the sense of freedom here,” Bomberg said. “If you’re in the Russian River, you’re doing pinot, if you’re in Napa, you’re doing cab. Out here on the North Fork, there seems to be a lot of flexibility and freedom. We have a lot of varietals planted at RGNY and I’m really excited to see what I can do with each of them.”
Bomberg is already planning both short-term and long-term. For the 2022 vintage, they’re working on a sparkling Cabernet Franc rosé. Bomberg is also working with sales and distribution to assess the needs and demands of the markets.
Going forward, Bomberg will spend half of every Saturday in the tasting room to meet customers and get to know the community and plans to be involved with events.
“I’m really excited to learn and meet people in the area,” Bomberg said. “There’s a lot of space for freedom and innovation and to grow our identity. The idea of being a part of that really excites me.”
RGNY is located at 6025 Sound Avenue, Riverhead. Visit rgnywine.com for information on upcoming events.