“Wineries bring so much beauty. There is no ugly wine region in the whole world. That’s what wine brings to an area. It brings passionate people.” • Photograph by Jason Nadler
Richard Olsen-Harbich, winemaker at Bedell Cellars, wrote his first column for Edible for our Low Summer issue this year. Rich has been working in wine…
“If anyone orders Merlot, I’m leaving,” says Miles Raymond in the 2004 film Sideways. It’s a line meant to provoke laughter, but all it should prompt among people familiar with the award-winning merlot of the East End is a rather significant serving of pity. The poor guy, as we intimately know, is missing out. And members of the Long Island Merlot Alliance know it, too.
As one drives up to the Old Field Vineyards in Southold, a tall attractive woman in a beige workman’s jumpsuit comes into view. She is pruning grapevines. Her dog snores on a cushion nearby. She’s Perry Weiss, 34, vineyard manager and assistant winemaker.
Bedell Cellars is unveiling new labels this year with their 2012 bottlings. Look for the Certified Sustainable badges on the front, which guarantees sustainable practices as outlined by Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing.
So what will it be, a glass of merlot or some compost tea? As Brian Halweil learned in his 2005 piece, “Grapes Without Pesticides,” the grapes, at least, seem to prefer the latter.
Reinventing a historical category of wine.
The East End can file 2013 as one of the better vintages.
Merliance, the trade group that promotes merlot as Long Island’s signature grape, will be hosting a wine salon on Monday, November 11 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Jamesport tasting room of Sherwood House. Another great event for Taste North Fork.
From school gardens to snails, and from screw caps to stouts, a passion for food and drink is what unites this community.
If you asked Jim Waters, he’d never agree that he can spin a silk purse from a sow’s ear; what he might say is that the collective efforts of good, hardworking vineyard managers and winemakers make for many happy surprises in the sometimes nail-biter vintages of eastern Long Island.
Kareem Massoud is the East End’s evangelist of screw caps on wine.