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Richard Olsen-Harbich shares his favorite things with us. Photography by David Benthal

The Bedell Cellars winemaker has been producing Long Island wines for over 40 years. When it comes to North Fork wine country, Rich is an OG, and he has plenty of favorite NOFO things to share.

This is probably my 41st vintage of making wine on the East End,” says Richard Olsen-Harbich, who’s been the winemaker at Bedell Cellars ( for the last 12 years. He’s been making wine on the North Fork since before the area was known for its wine, and has played a major role in making it an established wine region. 

Olsen-Harbich’s passion for winemaking is in his DNA. “My mother was born in the wine region of Germany, and the house she was born in is surrounded by grapevines. My grandparents worked in the vineyards there. My grandfather on my father’s side came to America in 1912 and ended up opening a speakeasy. So, there’s alcohol running through my veins, so to speak — in a very good way.”

A native Long Islander, Olsen-Harbich grew up in western Suffolk and didn’t know much about the North Fork until he ended up moving here after graduating from Cornell. “My college career was focused on agriculture, and I got interested in grape growing and wine production. I figured I’d wind up making wine in some far off, exotic place, but I wound up getting a job on the North Fork. I fell in love with the landscape, the smells, the mild climate, the water and the way the light dances off it. It just felt like home.” 



I love to fish, and my two favorite places are in the same area. One is Kenney’s Beach in Southold on the Sound. It’s a great place to catch striper, especially in the fall. Just south of Kenney’s Beach is a fresh water pond called Great Pond, which is a beautiful, quiet place for solitude that also happens to be full of fish like perch and largemouth bass. 


I live near the Mattituck Inlet, which is kind of like a river that runs north/south. Native Americans used to travel from the Sound to Peconic Bay by using the inlet and then portaging the short distance to James Creek. It’s such a tranquil spot for kayaking. We’ll start from the launch point off the highway and paddle the inlet north as it winds its way into the Sound. There’s lots of wildlife to see along the way, like nesting birds and ospreys. You can also paddle past the historic Old Mill, which was originally a gristmill in the 1800s, then later became an inn and a restaurant. 


There are always lots of cars parked near Bailie Beach in Mattituck at the end of the day. That’s because it it’s one of the best spots to watch the sun go down. The colors of purple, pink, orange and red are really exquisite. I’ve been to a lot of different places around the world, but I’ve seen the most spectacular sunsets right here. 


Downs Farm Preserve in Cutchogue is home to the remains of Fort Corchaug, the only remnants of a Native American fort on the east coast. The trail runs along a famous inlet where Dutch ships would anchor off the coast and row in to trade with Native Americans. It feels like there are a lot of ghosts in these historic woods along Downs Creek. It’s very spiritual, and very pretty — with a lot of wildlife, including owls, ospreys and eagles. 


Owner Aldo Maiorana opened Aldo’s Coffee Company in Greenport in 1987, when no one really cared about gourmet coffee. He’s seriously passionate about it and does his own roasting, so you can buy whole beans, ground coffee or the best cup of coffee you’ll ever drink. Aldo also bakes the most delicious scones. I blow my calorie count every time I go in there.


My wife and I love Noah’s Restaurant. They have fresh local seafood and the best oysters on the half shell you can get anywhere. They’re committed to local everything, not just seafood, but also local produce and wines. Another favorite dinner spot is Grana Trattoria Antica & Enoteca. They make my favorite pizza, other than the one I cook myself at home. The wood-fired pizzas have organic, locally sourced toppings, and they are delicious. Our order: The Fig with caramelized onion, aged mozzarella and gorgonzola.


I always stop by Wickham’s Fruit Farm for tree fruits like apples, peaches, nectarines, plums, and pears. The Wickham family has owned this historic farm since the 1600s, and still runs it today. They even press their own cider in a giant contraption that’s well over 100 years old. Another place I love for excellent local produce is Bayview Farm & Market, which is run by the Reeve family. The farm extends all the way south to Peconic Bay, and they grow corn, all kinds of tree fruits, strawberries and grapes — for eating, not winemaking.