WINE Q&A: Kelly Urbanik Koch of Macari Vineyards

The Macari family has owned their 500-acre waterfront estate for more than 50 years and has been making wine since the mid-1990s. The North Fork winery—known for producing chardonnay, malbec, and premium red blends such as Bergen Road—is also home to Texas longhorns, Spanish goats, Sicilian donkeys, ducks and rabbits. I asked winemaker Kelly Urbanik a few questions about local food pairings and upcoming Macari releases.

Describe your winemaking philosophy.
My winemaking style is to be as unobtrusive as possible and allow the wine to be what it wants to be depending on the vintage conditions. This means less intervention and less new oak. I love vintage variation and think it should be celebrated and appreciated.

Tell us about your wines.
My goal is always to make wines that are balanced, delicious and reflective of the vineyard. The Macari vineyard is a very unique and magical place with an immense amount of diversity and beauty. My goal is to capture the essence of that beauty and life in the wines.

What’s your favorite pairing with local food?
There is a well-known phrase, “If it grows together, it goes together.” This is especially true on the North Fork with our wines and local foods. One of my favorite pairings is our Macari Estate Chardonnay  (stainless steel fermented) paired with fresh blackfish that my husband caught just an hour or two earlier.

What brought you to Long Island?
I was born and raised in Napa Valley, but moved to Long Island to explore making wine in a different region. Long Island Wine Country is an up-and-coming region with a rich history and a bright future. I am very excited to make wine during such a pivotal time of growth, development and experimentation.

What’s your favorite event with your wine club?
Our barrel tasting series is an amazing opportunity for people to taste the wines in the cellar and learn how wine is made from grape to bottle. It’s always a fun event that allows people to ask questions and see things first-hand.

What’s special about visiting your tasting room?
Our tasting room has beautiful, sweeping views of the vineyard and a great team of pourers who are very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the wines. Wine can be a very clear reflection of the place it was grown, so it is a special experience to be able to taste it at the source.

What’s next or new at the winery?
The 2015 Rosé is bottled and ready for release this spring. We recently disgorged our Cuvée Gabriella Sparkling Pinot Noir Rosé from the 2010 vintage. This is a beautiful sparkling that we are all very excited about!