As summer ended under sunny skies, Long Island vintners were smiling at the prospects of an exceptional vintage.
"I’ve been in the business here for 27 years,” said Greg Gove, winemaker at Peconic Bay Winery in Cutchogue. "This is the best ever."
On Sept 25, the wineries had another reason to feel good: The perfect weather held, and 700 people turned out for Harvest East End, a celebration of the local bounty from vineyards, farms and fishing boats.
The weekend comprised four sets of events: eight “10-Mile Dinners” in private homes on Friday night, with all of the foods and wines sourced within 10 miles of the East End; a dozen or so “Wine Salons” featuring tastings and seminars at local wineries on Saturday morning; and the main events, an afternoon, walk-around Festival Tasting and evening Gala dinner and auction, held under tents on the grounds of Wölffer Estate. Wine Spectator was the presenting sponsor.
The auction tent at Wölffer Estate
As the sun set, 400 guests gathered for dinner, featuring locally-sourced dishes of fluke, duck and apples by East End chefs Keith Luce of the new Jedediah Hawkins Inn and North Fork Table and Inn’s Gerry Hayden and Claudia Fleming (formerly Gramercy Tavern). A live auction raised $75,000; according to Donnell Brown, executive director of the Long Island Merlot Alliance and HARVEST event director, the event will generate $40,000 for two local charities, the East End Hospice and the Peconic Land Trust."
"This event celebrates all the good things that come from the East End, and our goal is to support the farms, vineyards and people who keep it that way,” said Roman Roth, winemaker at Wölffer Estate, and the event chair. “We are proud to give back to our charitable partners, and hope to see you all again next year. Let’s hope you bring another great vintage back with you."