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…)

05/12/18 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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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…)

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.”

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