Ev&Em Vineyards, the new venture from news personality and producer Dan Abrams, has officially opened in Laurel.
The property formerly known as Laurel Lake Vineyards has been renovated and transformed into a sleek, modern space with an entirely new lineup of wines from former Laurel Lake winemaker Juan Sepulveda, who stayed on to work with Abrams. Joining Abrams and Sepulveda is Vanessa Price, a sommelier and author, who will oversee Ev&Em’s operations.
“I had long been thinking about opening a winery,” said Abrams, who originally wanted to enter the California wine industry. But Abrams, an avid wine collector, found the North Fork to be an exciting, younger region and learned that Laurel Lake was for sale.
“I loved the fact that they’re some of the older vines on the North Fork and it was the size I was looking for — not massive, but still a major winemaking operation — and it all sort of clicked,” he said.
While Sepulveda stayed on as winemaker, the wines are very different from Laurel Lake Vineyards’ products, which Abrams described as more mass-market.
“We are definitely trying to create a luxury wine,” Abrams said.
Sepulveda delivered on what he was looking for — more complexity, more acidity, Abrams said.
So far, Ev&Em has released a Classic Estate series that includes sauvignon blanc, pinot gris, chardonnay and rosé, as well as a series of “entry level wines” meant to be more accessible to less experienced wine tasters, including gewürztraminer, chardonnay, merlot, cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon.
While he has been focused on getting Ev&Em up and running, Abrams said he has immersed himself in all the North Fork has to offer. He frequents Love Lane Kitchen, Main Road Biscuit Co. and The Preston House & Hotel with his family, and has gotten to know the greater North Fork wine community, he said.
“[Paumanok and Palmer winemaker] Kareem Massoud has been very valuable and helpful in guiding me,” Abrams said. “It’s very important to me. I love the ‘local’ nature of the North Fork. It feels like a cliché, but it’s what Montauk used to be. Every time I drive through it, I feel like it’s a bit of a time warp in the best of ways. I’m very cognizant of that and trying to do everything I can to show respect for that in everything that we do.”
Going forward, Ev&Em is moving toward becoming 100% sustainable, as well as working on releasing a set of red wines later this year and into 2023.
“The reds and reserve reds are going to be at a pretty high price point,” said Abrams, who believes they will be of a higher quality. “I think by 2023, based on what I’m tasting in barrel, we’re going to have wines that rival Napa Valley in terms of quality.”
Visit Ev&Em Vineyards at 3165 Main Road, Laurel.