Monday, June 24, 2013

On Site vs. Offsite Tasting Rooms - Here and There.

The news of the Long Island North Fork’s Peconic Bay Winery's decision to close its vineyard based tasting room in Cutchogue and focus on their Empire State Cellars wine center at the Riverhead Tanger Outlet Center, was received last January when we were returning from a wine tour of California's Monterey Wine Region (Monterey AVA, Carmel Valley AVA, Santa Lucia Highlands (SLH) AVA, etc.) which was  also listed along with the Long Island Wine Region as one of Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s Top 10 regions for wine tourism in 2013.

Before we get to the linkage between these two events and places, we want to start by saying it is our opinion that General Manager Jim Silver, owners Ursula and Paul Lowerre, and the management team at Peconic Bay Winery and Empire State Cellars (ESC) wine center are true leaders in Long Island and in New York with regard to wine marketing and sales. We have previously stated publicly that ESC is the finest combined wine tasting, wine education and retail center we have seen in the US.  To bring together virtually all New York wines, as well as artisanal ciders, distilled spirits and brews in one retail center is fantastic. So we do not question that there is undoubtedly a solid business case for the decision to consolidate, and as Peconic Bay Winery and ESC have been and are well run small businesses this is their sole decision.

Having said that, we were sadden that a Long Island tasting room located next to the vineyards had left to move to an offsite tasting room in a large outlet shopping center miles away from where the grapes are grown and the wine is made. One of the great charms of Long Island Wine region is that vast majority of the tasting rooms are located adjacent to the wineries and in the center of the agriculture. From grand tasting rooms as at Bedell Cellars, Raphael, and Wölffer Estate, to more moderate ones such as Channing Daughters Winery, Jamesport Vineyards, Paumanok Vineyards and Roanoke Vineyards, to the smaller ones as Croteaux Vineyards, McCall Wines and Shinn Estate Vineyards, the intimacy of tasting wines next to the vines is intoxicating. While we are not fans of the two or three "frat house party" tasting rooms that exist on the North Fork, virtually all the Long Island wineries shine in providing a great environment for both the casual visitor as well as for the wine enthusiast. 

Offsite tasting rooms are nothing new. In fact in most of Burgundy unless you are a commercial buyer, journalist or another wine professional, your tastings occur in a community, cooperative, or commercial tasting rooms in the center of towns and villages some distance from the vineyards and cellars. The same is true for many wine regions elsewhere in France, and throughout Italy and Spain.

Tasting rooms as we know them today go back to the pioneering commercial wineries of California and upstate New York which used them to inform consumers about wine. In the 1970’s wineries in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys began converting their tasting rooms into the revenue centers that they have become today when on site retail sales, wine tasting fees, and wine clubs were introduced. In the May 2013 issue of Wine Business Monthly (WBM) the results of a survey conducted in February 2013 demonstrated that Tasting Rooms represent a significant portion of the business for small and medium sized wineries. Napa and Sonoma tasting rooms average $164 and $101,respectively in sales per visit versus $42 in the Eastern States (New York was not specifically broken out in the survey according to WBM because an inadequate percentage of New York wineries responded to the confidential survey conducted by WBM and the Silicon Valley Bank, a major financial analyst of the wine industry).

This brings us back to the connection between Long Island’s tasting rooms and wine touring in the Monterey wine region.  While initial vineyard plantings occurred 40+ years ago, the Monterey region which is 85 miles in length from South to North remained until recently more about vineyards and grape growing than about wine making and wine sales. Some of the region’s “name wineries” were and are in fact still located 400 miles South in Temecula and 175 miles North in Rutherford.  So there were very few tasting rooms in the area.

However with the growth of tasting rooms as critical part of the wine business, offsite tasting rooms first began to appear in tourist locations such as Monterey's Pebble Beach Golf Resort and Cannery Row, as well as in art centered Carmel-by-the-Sea.  More recently offsite tasting rooms have moved closer to the vines; in a shopping center in Carmel Valley, and in neighboring small towns in the valley that have tourist traffic, comparable to Anthony Napa's Winemaker Studio in Peconic, the Sherwood House Vineyards tasting room in Jamesport and Roanoke Vineyards tasting room in Mattituck. Unfortunately, like New York the average wine purchases in these Monterey tasting rooms was $45 in the WBM survey, the lowest of the West Coast wine regions.

Reflecting back on the visit to Monterey, as a wine enthusiast tourists, the best wine experiences were at the in the vineyards Bernardus Winery and the Robert Talbot Vineyards winery tasting rooms, second best the small offsite tasting rooms of Boekenoogen Vineyard and Winery, and the Parsonage Family Winery near the vineyards but located in charming small towns, and the least positive was at top tier producer  Morgan Winery’s tasting room located in a congested shopping center. The hassle to find a parking space and then find the tasting room among the retail stores completely ruined the wine tasting experience.

So we strongly recommend that wine tourists that are traveling to the East End of Long Island this Summer to visit Long Island’s wine country take advantage of visiting the many vineyard tasting rooms located in or near the vineyards and in the small hamlets close to the vines, but also make the effort to include the Peconic Bay Winery's tasting room at Empire State Cellars in their tour, and hopefully have a much better experience in the shopping center environment than we had in Monterey.    

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Is there a Market for Long Island Wine Beyond New York?

This commentary was previously published on the New York Cork Report 

Since I first became involved with Long Island wine, I have said privately and publicly that I simply do not understand the general lack of national distribution. I have argued that with wider distribution there would be increased recognition and demand, which will benefit all of the wineries on Long Island. 

In response to my recent NYCR piece which included another comment with regard to Long Island wine distribution issues, I received two comments.  Charles Massoud, proprietor of Paumanok Vineyards in Aquebogue, commented: “As to distribution, indeed we may never be able to distribute beyond our local market, because our local market is huge with over 10 million people between NYC, Suffolk and Nassau. But we do not see this as a weakness or a challenge. In the wine world there are small regions and large regions and they cohabit together happily.” James Silver the General Manager of Peconic Bay Winery in Mattituck and Empire State Cellars in Riverhead commented: “We are pretending that our (LI wineries) lack of distribution is a choice. It is absolutely not a choice. It is true that we as a group have dabbled in CT and FL and stuck a toe in OH and a little in NJ – but even the greatest of LI wineries can’t (with a straight face anyway) tell you they’ve found real honest to goodness acceptance in NJ or any other place outside of the immediate area….We want distribution and we should strive to get it, but don’t pretend for a minute that we can just take it like it’s low hanging fruit…The modern day distributor of fine and not-so-fine wines is being led around by the nose by one or more of the six mega-producers of wine and spirits. This leaves precious little attention time left for NY wines in, say, Kentucky and Missouri, when they have their own local wineries to distribute. Even then, the local distributor is merely “obliged” to handle their state’s producers.”

I understand both Charles and Jim’s comments.  But what really troubled me was an additional comment from Jim: “It’s well known by now that I have found (literally) 100 times more interest in our wines in Shanghai than in Hartford or Hoboken….There is no demand, none whatsoever, for LI wines 100 miles beyond the George Washington Bridge, except by collectors of curiosities.” Since I have the greatest respect for Jim’s business and marketing knowledge, his comments floored me.  I had for years promoted Long Island wines in the Northeast region, as well on the West Coast, and I found among wine professionals that had sampled Long Island wine great respect for the style and quality of most Long Island wines.  From their comments, I had projected that consumers would also be interested in Long Island wines and there would be good distribution markets outside New York.  But I had not really tested this theory that if wine professionals enjoy Long Island wines that there was in fact a market beyond New York.

So to test my assumptions that Long Island wines can be marketed outside the NYC region I decided to conduct a very non-scientific survey.  I spend the winter season in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. During the winter months 20-30 percent of the population in the area is from the Northeast, with the largest group from New York State.  While not wine country, Palm Beach, Florida has a number of pluses for wine enthusiasts. Wine can be purchased virtually everywhere; wine shops, wine and spirits super markets, food markets, convenience stores, drug stores, etc.  Restaurants have extensive wine lists due in part to many national and regional distributors serving Florida.  The local Palm Beach Post newspaper has multiple wine articles weekly. And there seems to be a wine tasting or wine dinner almost every night during the winter season at retail stores, wine bars and restaurants featuring wines from California, Oregon, Washington, Chile and Argentina, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, Israel, South Africa, and Australia and New Zealand. However, New York wines are difficult to find due to the distribution issues.  I went to the three leading upscale retail wine sellers in Palm Beach Gardens; Total Wine & More (a national wine and spirits warehouse store), Publix (a large food market group which along with its Whole Foods type store, Greenwise, is the largest wine retailer in Florida), and Whole Foods which has a large wine section with 100’s of domestic and international wines.  I talked to the wine managers at the three retailers and asked if they carried New York and particularly Long Island wines. 

The results were uniform and supported Jim Silver’s assessment.  Only Total Wines routinely carry New York wines, but of the 57 wines that the company has in its national inventory, only approximately 20 are carried by the Palm Beach Gardens store and almost all are Kosher wines with a few sparkling wines from Great Western and Taylor. Publix occasionally carries some Finger Lakes Rieslings, while Whole Foods does not carry New York wines.  The reason is simply that there was no demand.

I was very disappointed that in an affluent community with significant New York residents, there was no demand for New York wines.  I doubt it is price as the wine managers indicated that the typical price paid for a bottle of wine in their stores was greater than $20 (closer to $25). Perhaps it the demographics; younger New Yorkers buy Long Island wines and older New Yorkers do not. Perhaps buyers are conditioned to purchase wine while visiting tasting rooms on Long Island, and do not think to buy at the wine retail shop. Or perhaps there really is no interest in Long Island wine.

For those of us in Florida interested on Long Island wine there is some good news with regard to purchasing Long Island wines. Since 2007 wine shipments from other states to Florida residents is permitted with no restrictions on the quantity of wine that can be shipped to Florida. Also recently, Bouké and Bouquet wines, and Macari Wines are both available from wine.

What Will Be The Long Island Wine Landscape in 10 Years?

In 2023 Long Island will celebrate a half century of wine production.  While it will be the decisions of the vineyard and winery proprietors, vineyard managers, winemakers, winery business and sales managers, and ultimately the customers that will determine where Long Island Wine will be in 10 years, based upon the state of Long Island Wine in 2013 combined with both local and national trends it is possible to make some forecasts, which may be as inaccurate as a long range weather forecast.


It is highly likely there will be many more Long Island wineries in 2023, although many will not be traditional wineries.  The financial barriers to develop many more “brick and mortar” wineries are high due to escalating land costs on the North Fork.  Further, the fact that a number of wineries have been for sale and have not sold indicates the number of domestic and foreign investors willing to purchase expensive Long Island wineries is limited. Therefore the growth will likely come from an increasing number of “virtual wineries”.  These virtual wineries are not spin off brands or spin off wineries of existing wineries, but rather stand alone wine producers that do not have a winery/cellar and in many cases also do not have vineyards. These are wineries developed by a new generation of wine producers; winemakers and business people that have a desire to produce wine but will do so without huge capital investments.  Today there already exist such virtual wineries on Long Island including Anthony Nappa Wines, Lisa Donneson’s Bouké/Bouquet Wines and until recently Roman Roth’s Grapes of Roth.  With access to contract grape purchases, custom crush facilities or contracted wine-making at established winery facilities, contracted storage facilities, entrepreneurs can establish new wineries relatively rapidly. In most wine regions of California virtual wineries are gaining rapid legitimacy and the trend is quickly spreading to Oregon and Washington. The addition of a new generation of winery proprietors and winemakers will likely spur creative development of Long Island Wine beyond the somewhat conservative and traditional approach that exists today.


Wine Types and Styles


Due to the significant existing acreage and investment in vineyards composed of traditional varietals, it is highly likely in 2023 that the majority of Long Island wines will remain the classic Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot wines. But it is possible that in 10 years there will be increased production of newer edgier wines made from more diverse varietals.  And it is even more likely that red wine blends and white wine blends will complement the growing number of rosé wines and sparkling wines being produced on Long Island.  As Carlo DiVito has recently posted, the promise of Bordeaux style blends is very appealing to wine producers, and may be attractive to consumers.  At the same time there are an increasing number of white wine blends currently being produced that are outstanding and demonstrate the quality and potential of Long Island.  Given the substantial quantity of Chardonnay and Merlot vineyard acreage on Long Island, and the national trend of lesser interest in both varietals, perhaps using these grape varieties as the basis for some outstanding blended wines would be a win-win solution.  A commitment by a number of wineries to such an approach, combined with a well done marketing and sales campaign, could result in a Long Island version of the Rhône Rangers, which turned production of rather obscure Rhône varietals on the West Coast into a most successful national wine style and great financial success.  


Market Access


The market for traditional Long Island single varietal wines in 10 years will likely remain centered on the greater New York City market.  Winery owners and their marketing and sales managers appear to have read the tea leaves correctly that other major US wine retail markets (San Francisco, Washington, DC, etc.) are not fertile ground for Long Island Wines.  However, if exiting wineries and the new generation of wineries do indeed develop unique wines; be they aromatic white varietals, cult red varietals or edgy blends, then there will exist an unlimited  opportunity to market Long Island wines throughout the Untitled States.  The small real and virtual wineries of the West Sonoma Coast, the Lompoc Ghetto, or the Portland Garagistes have leveraged such non-traditional wines into enormous national demand and sales.  Long Island has exactly the same potential.



In ten years the Long Island Wine landscape may be very similar to what it is today. However, the potential exists in new wineries, a new generation of wine producers and the development of unique Long Island wine styles, that in 2020 and beyond the landscape may look very different and be very exciting. 

Observations on Long Island Wines 40th Anniversary

This commentary was previously published on the New York Cork Report

This year Long Island wine is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the first vinifera grape plantings by Louisa and Alex Hargrave that kicked off the Long Island wine region.  As one who arrived very late to Long Island Wine some ten years ago, my perspective is somewhat different than that of the wine professionals and writers who have watched the evolution of wine making on Long Island over the past 40 years and the establishment of a solid wine region that today is acknowledged as producing both outstanding and unique wines.
Although I was raised and educated in Northeastern Pennsylvania, and was familiar with wine production in the Fingers Lakes region, I was not introduced to Long Island Wine until we moved to New York in 2003.  For the previous 30 years, I was either travelling consistently for business to California from the East Coast, or after moving to California in 1982 living there for 20 years and learning about wine from a West Coast perspective.
As I am not a wine professional but rather a wine enthusiast. California became my frame of reference for domestic wine, and how it compared to traditional European wines.  When I went to California in the 1970s it was all about Napa and Sonoma, particularly after California wines proved to be at least the equal of great European wines in a series of wine competitions. By the 1980s it was about the emerging West Coast wine regions that — like Long Island — began in the early 1970s. New vineyards had been planted from Santa Barbara, up the Central Coast to Paso Robles, to Monterey, to Santa Cruz, along the Sonoma Coast to Mendocino, and up to the Willamette Valley of Oregon.
Very much like Long Island, each of these regions experimented with multiple varieties and by the late 1980s to early 1990s each of these West Coast regions began to focus on one or two grapes or styles. Santa Barbara’s Santa Ynez Valley, with a hotter climate, found chardonnay and Southern Rhone varieties were a good match, while the cooler Sta. Rita Hills and Santa Maria regions focused on cool-climate pinot noir and lean chardonnay.  Further North in the Paso Robles hotter regions, zinfandel became the grape, while in cooler portions of that region Southern Rhone grapes were selected, as they were in Southern Monterrey   The cooler Santa Lucia Highlands of the Carmel Valley selected pinot noir, as did Santa Cruz and the Sonoma Coastal wine regions. In Mendocino’s cool climate white varieties were the predominate wines.  In Oregon’s Willamette Valley, pinot noir was the main vareity although cool-climate whites such as pinot blanc, pinot gris and riesling were being planted and producing excellent wines. Later Washington State focused on riesling in the cooler Colombia River region, while merlot and cabernet sauvignon were the main grapes in the hotter Walla Walla wine region.
When I began to explore the Long Island wine region starting in 2003, there were a number of surprises — some positive and some less so.
First, while not really knowing the history of Long Island viticulture, I was overwhelmed by the beautiful vineyards found on the East End.  It was clear that there were serious proprietors and vineyard managers who invested in developing outstanding vineyards.  Unlike the developing West Coast wine regions that were located on hillsides, Long Island was more like the Napa Valley with broad flat vineyards. Second, I was impressed with the number of substantial wineries and large attractive tasting rooms.  The newer West Coast wine regions, unlike established Napa and Sonoma regions, tended to have far fewer fully equipped wineries and far less extensive tasting rooms. And of course I found the leaner more European-style red wines to be very appealing, particularly in comparison to the big, fruity and high alcohol wines from Napa and Sonoma.
Ten years ago there were some disappointments.  My biggest problem back then was the big variation in quality between the top producers and the lower-tier producers, and quality issues in certain wines, particularly whites, from both top and lesser producers.  I had just not experienced such major variation in quality on the West Coast — especially given that Long Island wines, as they remain today, were priced at the upper levels of the domestic wine price range.
My second problem ten years ago was that after finding great wines at the wineries, when I went back to Manhattan, it was difficult or impossible to find the wines being sold at wine stores. Not only could I not buy in Manhattan, I could not have friends in Pennsylvania or California also experience the wines I was enjoying.
Another issue with the Long Island wine region was — unlike the developing West Coast regions — there did not seem to be a distinctive variety that identified Long Island Wine. Ten years ago Long Island seemed to be continuing to experiment with many grapes and many wine-making styles, including some that were not well suited.
By 2006 when we purchased a house on the East End, I was completely committed to the land, the wine-making and wine of Long Island.  The wine cellar at our house was quickly filled with the best wines I could find at wineries and local retail stores. I seriously considered investing in a vineyard, and becoming an active member of the Long Island wine community. I was fortunate to be introduced to top winemakers and proprietors and eagerly took on a role at the Long Island Merlot Alliance (now Merliance) in 2008 as I had concluded merlot and merlot-based blends represented the best of Long Island.
After two years back in the aerospace industry, when in 2011 I returned to New York I was pleased to find that Long Island wine remained robust during difficult economic times.  New wineries, new brands and new approaches were being pursued. While no one variety has emerged as defining Long Island wine, there do appear to be positive trends.
Fortunately the issue of wine quality has significantly improved in the ten years I have been observing Long Island wine, although it is far from completely solved.  As the lowest quality producer or wine remains the weakest link in the reputation of the a wine region, it seems to me to be important that the collective of Long Island wine ensures that all wine being produced is of high quality. Unfortunately, as consumer interest in merlot remains low, one of Long Island’s strengths has had a run of bad luck.  But as leaner, lower alcohol, aromatic wines are popular with consumers, Long Island is well positioned with it maritime climate.  As a top winemaker has said, “Long Island does not have adjust to make these wines; it is what we have always made.”
A number of white varietals and in particular white blends, sparkling wines and rosés are increasingly being seen as the potential defining wines of Long Island.
Distribution is also improving, but in my opinion has far to go. Yes, today it is much easier to buy Long Island wines in Manhattan and throughout the greater New York area, but try to buy Long Island wine in Philadelphia, or San Francisco, or Portland.  Fortunately, wine shipment regulations have improved and it is now possible to ship wine to many of these locations. And in addition to distribution, price remains an issue, While I know firsthand how expensive Long Island vineyard land is, how expensive productions costs are, these costs are as high or higher on the West Coast, and there are far more lower priced California, Oregon and Washington wines in the marketplace than there are Long Island wines. This remains a major challenge.
Congratulations to all those that are and have been engaged in Long Island Wine over the past 40 years,  The progress has been great and the potential remains even greater.

Some Changes to Drink Cool-Climate Wines

At Drink Cool-Climate Wine our goal is find information, prepare reviews and provide useful information on a wide variety of wines produced in cool-climate growing regions around the world. 

In addition to this “global” mission, we will be adding some in-depth commentary and reviews on the cool-climate wine region where we live in for much of the year and one where I worked.  The East End of Long Island Wine Region is composed of three AVAs; Long Island which includes all portions of the Eastern end of Long Island, Hamptons which is the wine region on the South Fork on the Eastern tip of Long Island, and North Fork which is on the Northern portion of the tip of Long Island.

The Long Island Wine Region in 2013 is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the first planting by Louisa and Alex Hargrave in 1973 of vinifera vines.  A few of the first commentaries will focus on where Long Island Wine is and is going at this milestone. We will then move to what are the major trends in wine production, marketing and business.

We hope you enjoy

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Two Intriguing Cool-Climate White Blends for under $25

Many winemakers express that their ultimate achievement is to create an outstanding single varietal wine that coaxes the best of the aromas, flavors, structure and balance from the grapes.  And one cannot argue with this winemaker goal when enjoys a perfect Chardonnay, Viognier (Condrieu) Pinot Noir, Riesling, etc.  But blends clearly have their place.  Nearly every world class Bordeaux red is a blend, as are many other highly valued reds that go further than adding 5% , 12%, 15% of other varietals to a dominant varietal..  While white wine blends have fewer stellar examples beyond many outstanding Rhone blends, in recent years more and more winemakers in America are exploring unique wine characteritics by creating interesting blends.  Two outstanding cool-climate white blends are from the left coast the Sokol Blosser Evolution and from the right coast the Channing Daughters Sylvanus

Sokol Blosser
Evolution NV
Willamette Valley, Oregon

In 1998 there were very few white blends on the market when Sokol Blosser Winery of Dundee, Oregon introduced Evolution.  New winemaker Russ Rosner, now husband of second generation Allison Sokol Blosser, when challenged quickly determined that there were not a whole lot choices for a really great white blend. Then, as stated on the Evolution bottle through a stroke of “luck and/or great intention”, nine varietals from multiple states; Pinot Gris, Riesling, Muscat Canelli, Gewürztraminer, Müller-Thurgau, Semillon, Pinot Blanc, Sylvander, and Chardonnay, a wild mix of French, Italian and German grape varietals when combined together in certain portions produced an incredible complex wine. Rosner says, "In over twenty years of winemaking this is by far the hardest wine I've had to make. It's like mixing nine different colors of paint and trying to end up with a rainbow instead of a muddy brown."
The color is yellow, likely indicative of skin contact fermentation. The complex aromas are of apricot, apple, white garden flowers and tropical fruits. This is a very flavorful blend; it has aspects that remind me of a Riesling, slightly sweet but then there are the exotic other flavors and dome light acidity. So many flavors: apples, pears, citrus, tropical fruit, but all the flavors are balanced. The acidity shows up on the clean finish, just enough there to let this wine stand up to spicy food. The alcohol content is 12%.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Update Version 1.1

Drink Cool-Climate Wines

The purpose of Drink Cool-Climate Wines is to provide information, opinions and reviews of wines that are primarily from cool-climate wine growing regions.

Those of us that enjoy wine, be it as an amateur or a professional recognize that wine profiles, taste preference and styles are continually evolving.  When I first began drinking wines in the late 1960’s early 1970s, the only wines in America for college age drinkers were jug wines called chablis and heart burgundy, sweet wines such as Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill and occasionally an inexpensive French “vin de table”.  When I traveled to Europe in the early 1970’s the wine cultures of France, Germany and Italy were a great awakening of the wonderful pleasure of wine paired with food offered. Later when I started to travel on business to San Francisco in the mid-1970’s and began exploring the Napa and Sonoma Valleys I was intoxicated by the lush chardonnays and cabernet sauvignons. These wines were much fuller than the red and white wines I was frequently drinking from Burgundy and Bordeaux.  Moving to California in the early 1980’s and living there for nearly twenty years I saw California wines as the benchmark and as I travelled, toured and tasted the wines throughout Europe I found I tasted wines that were more austere, but also more defined by regions and vintages than those of much of California. In the 2000+ period I was fortunate to travel not only to more places in Europe, but also to South Africa, Argentina, Uruguay, and Australia as well as throughout the wine regions of North America. My palate was evolving.  By 2006 I was more interested in leaner merlots, cabernet francs, chenin blancs and sauvignon blancs.

While working as the Executive Director of the Long Island Merlot Alliance (now called Merliance) which co-hosted the second cool-climate conference held in Long Island in 2008, I was impressed by the depth and quality of cool-climate wines produced in the United States, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.  My personal taste profile definitely changed, as it was happening throughout America and elsewhere.  Full extracted fruit flavor reds and over oaked fruited whites had their day and their appeal was rapidly diminishing.  In their place were lighter, more acid balanced wines, leaner reds and whites produced primarily in cooler climate wine regions.

By touring, by tasting, and by talking with winemakers, proprietors, sommeliers, writers and amateurs over the past few years, I have explored in depth on where the wines for people who enjoy food and wines are going in the near future.  While there are many opinions, a large number see the upcoming decade as being dominated by cool-climate wines, as well as wines made to match the flavor profiles of cool-climate wines, even if they are grown and produced in warmer climates.

Cool-Climate Wines we love are Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris from Oregon, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc from Sonoma Coast, Russian River and Sta. Rita Hills, Merlot and Cabernet Franc from Long Island, Riesling from the Finger Lakes, Albarino from Spain, Riesling and Pinot Blanc from Alsace and Germany, Sancerre and Muscadet from France, Chenin Blanc from South Africa, Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, etc.  But we also love lean rosé wines be they from Provence or Long Island.

Along with my wife, Martina Gams, my partner in wine and food we hope you find our original posts, our reviews, our opinions and our reposts of interesting pieces to be interesting, stimulating and perhaps occasionally controversial.


Len Dest

postscript - I will be reviewing an commenting on New York State wines on the New York Cork Report (