03/17/18 5:38am

As of a few days ago, I’ve been writing about wine for 14 years — just about all of that focused on New York and Long Island wine. Perhaps not surprisingly, I tend to reminisce every time the anniversary passes.

When I first visited Long Island Wine Country just a few weeks after moving here for a job almost two decades ago, I wasn’t long out of graduate school. I guess you could call me a wine drinker at the time, mostly because I thought it was a grown-up alternative to cheap beer. But like many underemployed grad students, I mostly drank cheap stuff: stuff that I now know was probably factory-made and definitely wasn’t very good. I remember drinking a lot of Australian wine with animals on the label. Blue Marlin Chardonnay was a favorite. I had very little experience with Old World wines, save beaujolais nouveau at Thanksgiving — another wine I know better than to drink today. (more…)

03/03/18 5:57am

Columnist Lenn Thompson, second from right, at a panel at the USBevX 2018 conference.

If you’re a regular reader of this column, you might remember that one of my wine-related resolutions for 2018 was to do more speaking gigs to help spread the gospel of East Coast and, specifically, Long Island wine. Well, a couple weeks ago my family and I traveled to Washington, D.C., during the winter break. While most of our time was spent doing the typical touristy things — the memorials, the museums and the zoo — I spent half a day at USBevX 2018, a conference dedicated to “helping drive the quality reputation for Eastern and Midwest wine and beverage producers.”


02/03/18 5:55am
Bedell Cellars

A small group enjoys glasses of wine at Bedell Cellars in Cutchogue.

By most measures, Long Island wine has never been better.

I’m not saying that it’s all good. Or that the worst stuff today is even half as good as the best wines from years past. But if you look at the top half of the region’s wine, it’s better than the top half was five, 10, even 20 years ago. I don’t think anyone would dispute that. (more…)

01/20/18 5:50am

There are those outliers who genuinely love winter, but for most of us, it’s a nuisance and we can’t wait for it to end. We hate the frigid temperatures, the snow, the icy roads, the shoveling, the school closings and the frozen and/or burst water pipes. It’s only mid-January and I’m ready for spring already. Definitely.

You might think that local winemakers’ and grape growers’ worries ended when the fruit came off the vine last fall, but they also have to deal with all of the above this time of year — as well as their own concerns and problems. (more…)

01/06/18 6:25am

Our wine columnist Lenn Thompson has vowed to drink more sparkling wine this year. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

You can ask my wife: I’m a man of a million ideas, but with nowhere near as much ability (or sometimes interest) when it comes time to follow-through. In my mind, I’ve started a magazine or three, written a handful of books, formed a quality-focused winery consortium for New York, launched a Long Island wine bus (a food truck, but serving the best local wine) and — well, you get the idea.

I guess I’m a dreamer, and that makes the start of the new year a big holiday for me. Big ideas. Big plans. New Year’s Day is the “I’ll start on Monday” of all “I’ll start on Mondays.” (more…)

12/16/17 5:23am

Evan Bucholz fixes a drink for patrons at Brix & Rye on Main Street in Greenport. (Credit: Krysten Massa)

I admit it: I’m a bit of a cynic. OK, maybe more than just a bit. No matter the degree, it is my default setting. I’m fine with it, though I do try to keep it in check as much as possible.

But looking back on 2017 and what I’ve written twice a month about Long Island Wine Country, I worry that maybe I’ve focused too much on the negatives: the curse of agritainment and what it’s done to a wine region I have so much affection for; the way local government continues to make it harder than it needs to be for the region to flourish.