You might think that winter wouldn't be an interesting time to visit a winery, but now that the wines are fermented and safely tucked into barrels and tanks, winemakers are busy blending and bottling the wine. A recent trip to the North and South Fork of Long Island gave me the chance to chat with local winemakers, tour the cellars and taste barrel samples, as well as try some wines that have been aging in the cellars for a decade—impressive stuff. In the fields, there's some pruning to do, but most of the excitement is in the wineries these days—at least until the first green buds appear on the vines.
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Channing Daughters Winery's winemaker, James Christopher Tracy, eschews all the "Long Island is Like Bordeaux" hyperbole, instead styling wines with a distinct Northern Italian influence—and get this—some of them are orange. Yes, orange.
Back in April, Michael Honig reminded us that at the heart, winemakers are farmers. "We don't grow bottles," he said, "we grow grapes." So today I wanted to take a look at how those grapes have been growing around the country. The weather has been somewhat erratic, hotter than usual in New York's wine regions, and cooler in California (with a few scorching days), but winemakers are hopeful about what they're seeing. Will 2010 be a great vintage or a catastrophic one?