Drink in Autumn at Wölffer Estate Vineyard

Just before Labor Day weekend, the New York Post reported that there was a shortage of the Hamptons’ drink of summer: rosé. And Wölffer was tops on the list of elusive local brand names.

Judy Malone, the Executive Marketing and Communications Director at Wölffer Estate Vineyard & Stables, confirms that they have officially run out of their coveted pink nectar. She does note however, that they made more of the summer wine this year than they had in previous years.

Luckily, with the 2013 rosé release a highly anticipated but all-too-distant event, Wölffer has proven to be a year-round destination for wine aficionados. The Tuscan-style vineyard plays host to regular live entertainment, tastings and events.

Chic but casual, Wölffer’s live music series is a Hamptons outing, pairing well with those seeking a relaxing vibe. I arrived at the Twilight Thursday installment on a late summer evening, happy to secure a bottle of the Perle Chardonnay and a cheese platter. As there was only a hint of fall in the air, the performers were set up outside, and I brought my bounty onto the portico to share it with friends while overlooking the rows of manicured vines.

That particular evening’s music featured two women, one on guitar and one on violin, who played against the waning sunshine and worked off of the crowd. (They took a break from their set to perform a rousing “Happy Birthday” for the table next to me.)

The act changes each night, and Malone reveals that choosing the musicians is an elaborate process, involving both scouting and self-promotion. But their varying melodies complement the scene, which is always abuzz with conversation, clicking glasses and quiet contemplation. Warm summer nights are for impromptu dancing on the grass; perhaps colder winter nights call for heavier jazz and mulled wines.

Thursday (today, if you read Dan’s the moment it hits the stands) marks the last Twilight Thursday of the year. (It’s the first stop on the tour of Wölffer’s popular live music summer weekend trifecta. During the season, they also have Sunset Fridays at the wine stand and, new this year, Sunset Saturdays back at the tasting room.)

As we transition to harvest time, Candlelight Fridays, which runs every Friday through April, kicks off October 12. Per usual, no cover charge, and wines by the bottle or glass, cheese and charcuterie plates are available for purchase.

To celebrate the cooler temperatures, drink in autumn with Wölffer’s Big Apple Wine. The pure apple taste works well on its own, or, for a more celebratory occasion, when mixed with sparkling water. Made from apples from nearby Halsey farm, the dry finish makes for a food-friendly drink. (Thinking ahead: It’s also nice with a turkey dinner.)

Other popular offerings include the Red Letter Red Blend (a 2010 vintage merlot) and the Classic White 2011; a blend which Malone says is a “fun wine.”

Wölffer is also the site of numerous yearly events. Though tickets are sold out for this weekend’s Harvest Party, people who would like to attend are welcome to put their names on a wait list. (‘Tis that season, after all, and wineries across the East End are reporting solid years. Malone confirms that it looks like 2012 will be an excellent vintage.)

Keeping the mood alive (note: pair festive atmospheres with a Wölffer Brut-Blanc de Blanc), the lighting of the vines will be held on December 1. Complete with a Rockefeller Center-esque countdown and a “surprise” decoration (last year they lit up the gazebo), Wölffer hits the switch and allows revelers to bask in bright, frosty glory. With wine, of course.

They say that the East End is more “New England” than “New York.” And Wölffer is somewhat inbetween: decisively European, with an Italian flair that complements and suits the Hamptons life, year-round.

Wölffer Estate Vineyard, 139 Sagg Road, Sagaponack. 631-537-5106, www.wolffer.com

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