06/09/18 5:44am

Ripening grapes at Palmer Vineyards in the rain. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

You’ve probably noticed that over the past month or so our local vineyards have gone from brown and drab to green and vibrant, with shoots reaching farther toward the sky every day. That’s because bud break arrived in early May, starting with early varieties during the first week of and others since then.

Bud break is the first stage of the grapevine growing cycle that — if all goes well — results in ripe, flavorful grapes in the fall, which our local vintners then turn into the wines we all enjoy. (more…)

05/18/18 2:00pm

It’s spring in Long Island wine country — and for many of you, that means rosé. And if you’re drinking Long Island rosé, there’s a good chance it’s a Wölffer rosé. Winemaker Roman Roth makes a handful of them — including sparkling and dessert wine — and he makes a lot of them. In fact, Wölffer makes more bottles of rosé than many local wineries make of all their wines combined.  (more…)

05/12/18 5:55am

Kids at a burger night at McCall Wines in Cutchogue. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

I’ve written about this before, a few years ago, and the response — not unexpectedly — was mixed. But I still maintain that it’s OK to go wine tasting with your children.

Not at any winery or with any children, mind you. And you need a serious dose of self-awareness to know if you’re the kind of parent who can or should attempt it. But under the right circumstances, I’d argue it’s a good idea and beneficial for all involved. Parents get a little relaxation. Kids learn about local agriculture and responsible consumption. Wineries make some money. (more…)

04/28/18 5:55am

Last week, I received an email from a wine industry friend on the West Coast. He’s been reading my ramblings about New York wine for a long time, but still has never tasted one. The last line of his email read: “If I were to buy a case of Long Island wine with the goal of understanding what matters there, what would be in that case?”

After initially telling him that I think it’s impossible to encapsulate an entire region, even a relatively small one like Long Island, in 12 bottles, I decided that I’d take on his challenge to do so — with some ground rules. (more…)

04/14/18 6:10am

Most of the time, when I write about the local wine industry, it’s about things that are happening today — things like the current growing season, how certain wines are tasting today or how the industry is changing or has changed since I started. I’m not a reporter, per se, but I am an observer and a critic. Sometimes I’m more observer. Sometimes I’m more a critic.

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04/13/18 5:50am

Sparkling wine — local or not — comes in myriad styles. It can be made with any grape (though some are obviously better than others). It can be made in various ways —Methode Champenoise, Methode Ancestral, Charmat, etc. And within each of those techniques, there are many winemaker decisions that ultimately define what the wine will taste like.  (more…)

03/31/18 5:50am

Eric Fry, winemaker at Lenz Winery in Cutchogue stands by rack and riddle cages used to produce his sparkling wine in the wine cellar. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

The wine industry, like many others, is often impacted by trends. The newest or coolest thing starts at one or two wineries in one region or another and then spreads like wildfire throughout the global wine industry. It’s easy to understand why: These wines and styles get a lot of press attention and thus typically sell well.  (more…)