Tag Archive | "local"

Wine Spectator Recognizes Long Island’s Rising Tide of Great Wines

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Wölffer No. 139 dry rosé hard cider. Photo courtesy Wölffer Estate Vineyard.

Wölffer No. 139 dry rosé hard cider. Photo courtesy Wölffer Estate Vineyard.

By Tessa Raebeck

After years of falling by the wayside in conversations about great American wine, the coastal vineyards of Long Island are finally getting the recognition they deserve.

In the June 15 issue of Wine Spectator, Ben O’Donnell writes of “Long Island’s Rising Tide,” focusing on three local wineries, the Wölffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack, and McCall Wines and Bedell Cellars in Cutchogue.

“It’s an exciting time for Long Island wine,” writes Mr. O’Donnell.

Winemaker Roman Roth created Wölffer’s signature rosé in the 1990s, when neither the wine nor the region were as well known. Today, the vineyard sells 17,000 cases of rosé a year—usually selling out by August—and 37,500 cases overall. It recently delved into the hard cider market with “Wölffer No. 139” dry rosé and dry white ciders.

With sustainable farming, organic cattle raising and credit as the first vineyard to erect an energy-generating windmill, McCall Wines in Cutchogue is at the forefront of modern agriculture. A relatively new winery, the first vintage bottled in 2007, McCall’s Bordeaux blend is a Merlot-dominated cuvee with a measure of Cabernet Franc and splashes of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

A huge force in popularizing Merlot in the region, Bedell Cellars, also in Cutchogue, produces 12,000 to 15,000 cases a year. Bedell bottles are decorated by artists, a creative addition of owner Michael Lynne, who is also president of New Line Cinema.

“These exemplars,” writes Mr. O’Donnell, “are pushing themselves, and each other, to capture the best possible wines from what the land—and the sea—gives them.”

Local Winemakers to Share that Delicious Creativity

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Event photo courtesy of Parrish Art Museum.

Event photo courtesy of Parrish Art Museum.

By Tessa Raebeck

Coming off one of the best vintage years Long Island wine has ever seen, three of the region’s leading winemakers will share what inspires them – and allow others to taste that inspiration.

On Friday, the Parrish Art Museum presents “How Do You Bottle Creativity?” a winetasting and interactive conversation with Barbara Shinn, owner/viticulturist at Shinn Estate Vineyards in Mattituck, Kareem Massoud, winemaker at Paumanok Vineyards in Jamesport, and Christopher Tracy, winemaker/partner at Channing Daughters in Bridgehampton.

Long Island’s moderate maritime climate, long growing season, concentration of small growers and proximity to the giant wine market of New York City have enabled the farmers in pursuit of their primary goal: making delicious wine. Long overlooked by connoisseurs and locals alike, Long Island wine is proving itself in tasting tests and on restaurant menus; three of the last four years have seen exceptional vintages across the island.

“It was really a beautiful year and we’re seeing that right now in the barrel,” said Ms. Shinn of the 2013 vintage, which many local winemakers heralded as the best they’ve seen.

“I think the adjective ‘epic’ really applies here,” agreed Mr. Massoud. “It was a truly epic vintage here, it was amazing. I already bottled six wines from 2013 and they’re all delicious. They’re all some of the best we’ve made.”

“Both the science and the hedonistic sides line up in a region like ours to allow for great diversity of varieties and styles of wine, which is somewhat unusual in North America,” explained Mr. Tracy.

Mr. Tracy came to Channing Daughters from a family “that drank wine and food and traveled and exposed me to those things,” and eventually purchased a California vineyard. Having attended school for performing arts and philosophy, he changed direction after exploring the Long Island wine region in the mid-‘90s, returning to wine via “life’s crazy circuitous route.”

A background in art and philosophy may not seem relevant to winemaking, but Mr. Tracy’s love for creativity and appreciation of beauty have enhanced his craft.

“The two things are deliciousness and reflection of our place,” he said of his priorities. “It’s important that we make things that are delicious that people want to drink and enjoy and excite them and their senses. And that it reflects the climate, terra, the place, the culture where we’re growing our grapes and making wine.”

“If we can provide that something that’s actually delicious and actually tells the story of the little piece of land where we exist and where we grow grapes and make wine, that’s pretty awesome,” he added.

The island’s first second generation winemaker, Mr. Massoud learned the trade from his parents, Ursula and Charles, who founded Paumanok Vineyards in 1983 and still own and operate it today. Named after the Native American name for Long Island, Paumanok Vineyards is “very much a family affair,” Mr. Massoud said, with his brothers Nabeel and Salim also working at the vineyard.

“My orientation as a winemaker, in terms of what inspires me, is not unlike what a chef probably experiences in a restaurant – and that is to just produce the most delicious wine that I can, it’s pretty much that simple,” he said. “It’s always about making the best wine and what does that mean? It means the most delicious.”

His inspiration also stems from the excitement of being a winemaker on Long Island these days, when recognition is rising for the region’s wines.

“Honestly, the quality of the wines in many cases has been there for quite some time already, but more and more people, I think, are beginning to sort of catch on to the reality that world-class wines are being made right in their backyard,” he said.

“We fancy ourselves artists as winemakers,” he added. “We basically have, on Long Island, a very broad palette of colors to choose from…It’s a lot of fun to be able to do all these different varieties and different styles and pair them with the local produce that the East End is so rich with.”

Having earned a master’s degree in fine art, Ms. Shinn also views her craft as an extension of her art, farming using holistic practices and keeping the farm “in tune with the subtleness of nature.”

“When David [Page] and I moved to New York City,” she said of her partner and co-owner at Shinn Estate Vineyards, “I was beginning to question making art and hanging it on a wall. When we brought this land and were deciding to plant a vineyard, I was so inspired by these 20 acres of land that had not been planted in vines yet. And the moment the first vine went into the ground, I was so inspired and this huge creative rush has just stayed with me ever since.”

“Quite frankly,” she added, “my art is now off the wall…it’s in the vineyard and it’s in every bottle of wine that we produce. It’s just incredibly inspiring to me.”

Hosted by the Parrish Business Circle and co-presented with Edible East End and Long Island Wine Council, “How Do You Bottle Creativity?” is Friday, March 21 at 6 p.m. at the Parrish Art Museum, 279 Montauk Highway in Water Mill. $20 for members and $25 for non-members, tickets include a one-year subscription to the Edible title of your choice. Space is limited. To make reservations, call 283-2118 or visit parrishart.org.

Cash Mob To Strike Sag Harbor

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By Claire Walla


So, you wanna be part of the Cash Mob? Here’s all you gotta to know:

You’re going to spend $20.

So will dozens of your friends.

You don’t know where you’re going to spend this money.

And you won’t know until minutes before you actually do.

Capiche?

Ok, despite how it may sound, Cash Mob is actually a concept that refers not to illicit black-market activities, but to an international movement meant to spur commerce on a hyper-local scale.

The idea stems from a movement called Flash Mob, which brings a large group of people to one particular destination for some pre-planned, yet seemingly random event for a brief period of time before quickly dispersing.

“It’s about bringing together a group of community members en masse to descend upon a local business — with cash,” explained Cash Mob East End organizer Laura Houston, “the idea being that when we come together as a community, our $20 can have a big impact on a local business.”

The element of surprise is an integral part of the Cash Mob experience, which will take place for the very first time this Sunday, May 6 in Sag Harbor Village. All participants — with $20 in tow — will gather at the Sag Harbor Windmill at precisely 3 p.m. with no knowledge of where they’ll be going from there.

After a brief introduction, finally, the name of one Sag Harbor business will be revealed, and the mob will migrate accordingly.

It’s not difficult to imagine the benefits such a mob would bring to the business. With roughly 100 people expected to show up, that’s at least $2,000 spent in one place in the span of two hours.  But, Houston continued, the long-term benefits exceed this singular act.

Not only will neighboring businesses see more traffic, but community members will get the chance to meet and converse. (Houston said local efforts have already come together to make Cash Mob East End a reality: freelance graphic designer Jill Kampf designed the event logo, and Montauk Printing and Graphics donated “Cash Mob East End” stickers.)

The event is more a celebration than a shopping spree, Houston continued, inviting participants to come with “spirit” in addition to cash. Houston said participants are encouraged to dress-up and make Cash Mob-inspired posters, like this one from Cash Mob Charlotte: “Give ‘Em All Your Cash!” or this simple design from Cash Mob Lakewood: “Mob Boss,” the words creatively scripted with bullet holes for ‘O’s.

“I really hope someone sings me a song,” Houston mused.

She said mobbers will get major points for creativity, because, in the end, the person with the most spirit will receive a gift certificate for dinner for two from Muse Restaurant, which just opened in its new location on Main Street Sag Harbor. And it is to Muse where the mobbers will head immediately after spending their $20 for an after party of sorts with hors d’oeuvres and drink specials.

Houston first learned of the movement from a New York Times article published last December. She said it sounded easy to organize, and she liked the fact that it promoted both local commerce and community involvement.

“I thought it was inspired and simple,” she explained. “I mulled it over for a couple weeks, then I thought: this is something we should do here!”

The first official Cash Mob was organized by Andrew Samtoy, a lawyer in Cleveland, Ohio on November 16, 2011.  Since then, the movement has spread to 45 U.S. states (including Washington D.C.), as well as nine other countries, from Canada to South Korea.

Houston immediately called Samtoy, then got in touch with Terri Hall, a teacher in Southampton, who organized the first Cash Mob Bellport in January of this year.  Through conversations with Hall and by scouring the “suggested rules” on Samtoy’s Cash Mob website, Houston said she picked a business that fits the Cash Mob profile: locally owned, gender neutral and within one block of a locally owned “watering hole’ (in this case: Muse) where the after party will be held.

Houston — who works as an ad sales associate at The Sag Harbor Express — already spends a great deal of time with local shop owners and said she knew how helpful it could be for the business community.

“Working in sales, I spend a lot of time getting to know our local businesses,” she said. “This is just another way to support a community that continues to give the Hamptons the flavor of being home.”

To learn more about the event, visit Cash Mob East End’s Facebook page.