Tag Archive | "Martha Clara Vineyards"

East End Winemakers Call 2013 Best Vintage Yet

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Grapes being picked at Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead. Photo by John Neely.

Grapes being picked at Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead. Photo by John Neely.

By Tessa Raebeck

As if anyone needed another reason to drink wine, the 2013 vintage is the best local winemakers on both forks have ever seen.

“It’s really spectacular,” said Roman Roth, winemaker for the Wölffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack. “You hear about these fabled vintages like ’76 and ’45 – this is one that we have.”

“The entire East End is producing great wines,” agreed winemaker Juan Micieli-Martinez of Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead.

Winemakers were nervous last spring, when May was a particularly rainy month and June was the second wettest on record. They soon found their worry was preemptive.

“Then came the most fantastic summer,” said Roth. A heat wave in July followed by a generally dry, long summer helped the winemakers to overcome the wet spring.

The summer was good, but the fall was better.

“What almost always makes a fine harvest – an excellent harvest – is a sunny, dry fall,” explained Larry Perrine, winemaker at Channing Daughters Winery in Bridgehampton. “It doesn’t have to be hot, but it’s sunny and dry. And basically from Labor Day on, it didn’t rain. It rained the day after Labor Day and then it didn’t rain for the next seven weeks.”

The dry weather moves the ripening schedule of the fruit forward, preventing any rot. Because the fall was dry without being too hot, the tender varieties were not adversely affected. The yields were substantial and the quality superior across the board, ensuring that the 2013 vintage is excellent for whites, rosés and reds.

“All conditions were great,” said Lisa Freedman, a PR representative for Martha Clara Vineyards, “as far as weather and Mother Nature – and there were no hurricanes.”

Regions renowned for wine, such as Friuli, Italy or Bordeaux, France, have heavy rainfall during the growing season and a dry end of season. This year, the East End of Long Island got a taste of that perfect wine weather.

2010 previously held the crown as the best year in local winemakers’ memory and 2012 was also a landmark year, but it just keeps getting better, they say.

“There’s a lot of great wines up in the pipeline,” said Roth. “But it will all be topped by this 2013 – that’s for sure.”

The sun rises over the harvest at Wölffer Estate Winery in Sagaponack.

The sun rises over the harvest at Wölffer Estate Winery in Sagaponack.

Since he started making wine in 1982, Roth has seen maybe three lots (batches separated by varietal, date picked or vineyard section) “that are really special” each year.

“But this year,” he said. “We have thirty lots. The lots came in with the highest color, the deepest color, so it’s an amazing opportunity where you have lots of options for great wines.”

The first 2013 wines released will be the rosés in the early spring, followed fairly quickly by the aromatic, fresh white wines, such as sauvignon blancs. Fermented in stainless steel and bottled early, those white wines will be released by the spring or summer of 2014. Other whites fermented in oak, like Chardonnays, could take as long as 2015.

The reds take the longest, spending at least a year in the cellar. Channing Daughters is just now bottling its 2012 reds, so 2013 reds won’t be available for over a year, most likely two. At Wölffer, the top 2013 reds won’t be released until 2016. As Roth said, “good wine takes time.”

The goal of the North Fork’s Lenz Winery in Peconic is to release wine that “will be among the very best of its type, made anywhere in the world.”

Several years ago, that would have been a bold claim for a Long Island winery to make, but these days, it appears to be quite realistic.

Micieli-Martinez calls it the “Napa-fication” of Long Island’s wine industry, referring to the initial disregard of Napa Valley wines. It was believed California couldn’t compete with French and Italian wines, but today Napa Valley is considered to be one of the world’s premier wine regions.

“I think it contributes to the growing really positive perception…of the quality of Long Island wines and of New York wines in general,” Perrine said of the 2013 harvest. “It does improve steadily the reputation of the wines as being first-rate, world class wines.”

“It’s truly a special year,” the 30-year winemaker continued. “We’ll always remember.”

“It’s just perfect,” said Roth. “It’s a dream come true, basically.”

All for the East End Adds Avicii to August 19 Dance Party Lineup

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Nile Rodgers announces Avicii will join the All for the East End dance party this August during a press conference last Thursday at the Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead. 

By Tessa Raebeck

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Swedish sensation Avicii will join legendary producer and musician Nile Rodgers in an event that Rodgers is calling the “greatest dance party the East End of Long Island has ever seen.”

Presented by Bridgehampton National Bank, the Nile Rodgers Dance Party is the inaugural event of All for the East End (AFTEE), an organization formed to raise funds for local not-for-profit organizations. The concert will be held on Monday, August 19 at Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead and will benefit a range of East End not-for-profits.

Rodgers has produced such chart-toppers as “Like a Virgin,” “We are Family” and Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” which is currently the number one song in 79 countries (and counting). Along with curating the event, Rodgers will also be performing with his band, CHIC (perhaps best known for their 1978 disco hit “Le Freak”).

“Dance music unites,” said Rodgers at a press conference announcing the lineup last Thursday, June 6, at Martha Clara Vineyard. “Dance music is happy and the Nile Rodgers Dance Party will bring all ages to the dance floor.”

One of the world’s premiere acts, Avicii is the name behind such hits as “Fade into Darkness” and “Silhouettes.” Rodgers asked Avicii — with whom he is currently working — to headline because he is “a really hot young superstar that represents the next generation. That represents the continuation of music on the next level,” he said.

Rodgers plans to announce “other stars” who will be joining the festivities over the next few weeks.

The dance party will benefit a number of local not-for-profit organizations. As testament to the event’s commitment to the East End, 25 percent of all tickets sold are reserved for locals at the heavily discounted price of $50. General admission tickets are $149.

“Everybody thinks of the East End as a wealthy community and an affluent place,” said Rodgers. “But not for everybody. So, I thought this is the perfect opportunity to put together an event that’s accessible by all.”

“To have folks grace the Town of Riverhead with the presence of doing something like this is just phenomenal,” added Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter.

AFTEE’s “primary purpose is to raise awareness of the role not-for-profit organizations play in making the East End of Long Island one of the most desirable places to live in the world and to establish a fund of new money that they will have access to through a grant process,” the organization said in a press release.

With over 1,075 registered not-for-profit organizations in the five East End towns — East Hampton, Riverhead, Shelter Island, Southampton and Southold — AFTEE plans to benefit a wide variety of local groups with proceeds from the show.

“What struck me is how difficult it is right now for not-for-profits to make it,” said Walter. “Many of them have failed. So, to have a group that has come together to create AFTEE is truly — you are truly doing God’s work here.”

“We are very excited about this inaugural concert,” said Myron Levine, AFTEE president and founder, in a press release issued at the event. “And we are very lucky to head out of the gate with such an amazing program produced by Nile Rodgers. We anticipate this will be the first annual AFTEE, Nile Rodgers Dance Party and the funds raised will help the not-for-profits here fulfill their missions.”

Organizers of AFTEE also note that Bridgehampton National Bank (BNB) was quick to commit as the presenting sponsor of the event.

“It’s important to us,” said Kevin O’Connor, the BNB’s president, director and CEO. “We can give back so much for everything that we’ve gotten from this community. I’m excited to be part of it.”

Rodgers has been a visitor to the East End since 1978, when he received his first large paycheck (after producing nine hit singles) and “bought a speedboat.” He now spends time in the area “every single year when I get a little break in my schedule.”

AFTEE plans to sell 5,000 tickets to the Nile Rodgers Dance Party, including the 1,000 that have been set aside for locals.

“All my friends are out here,” said Rodgers. “You know it’s going to turn into a party. We’re going to have a bunch of people up on that stage. We’ll have some of the hottest DJs, some of the hottest acts. It’s going to be crazy.”

Rodgers and Avicii have been working on several new songs that the DJ may unveil at the event.

“Back in the day, we used to write songs and we would perform them live. And based on the response of the public, we would decide what songs we wanted to put on the record,” Rodgers explained. “The fact that Avicii and I are doing things like that now in today’s world — for me, it’s so cool. It’s like, ‘We get to try this out?’ That’s like the coolest thing in the world.”

VIP, general admission, and East Ender tickets are available online at www.AFTEE.org.