Most Long Island oenophiles know Stephen Scarnato from Long Island Vine Care, a popular private vineyard planting, installation and management service. But his extensive knowledge of wine is about to extend to anyone who’s interested in learning about wine with his latest venture, New Roots Wine.
Dubbed “a wine club for those intrigued by the process,” New Roots Wine is an immersive wine club that Scarnato has been developing with his wife, Sarah.
Scarnato started growing grapes in 2010 at the former Martha Clara Vineyard.
“I thought I wanted a winery gig because I thought it would be really sexy!” Scarnato joked. “But they put me in the vineyard. Two weeks in, I hated it, but then something changed and I really connected with the plants. People really need to experience for themselves the intricacy of the grapevine, of this plant that produces the most complex liquid on the planet.”
Long Island Vine Care has been a great success, but there’s a high cost of entry, from space requirements to the expendable income needed.
“For me to fulfill the vision of having a platform to reach a wider audience and serve people who are genuinely interested, I needed to start a wine club where we get hands-on and people are very involved in the winemaking process.”
New Roots membership includes two to four half-bottles of wine quarterly, as well as hands-on events that will be spent in the vineyards learning about the cultural practices and what goes on in the vines.
“The cool thing is that I’ll be able to bring people to the sites where the wine for the following year is coming from,” said Scarnato. “I will be able to deliver all the right knowledge and expertise and answer questions on a one-to-one basis that will be really fulfilling to people who are itching to learn more about wine and viticulture,” Scarnato said.
The 2022 vintage will be New Roots’ first, with a sparkling pét-nat rosé scheduled for release in January 2023, followed by a dry riesling, dry viognier, merlot and petit verdot.
Scarnato is also planning to showcase smaller-batch, experimental wines in carboys at New Roots events, which guests can taste and purchase.
Scarnato hopes New Roots will enrich fans of the local wine industry.
“No one needs wine,” Scarnato said. “You can live without it, it’s purely for fun! But the educational part of it is so enriching.”