The South Fork’s premier winery will be packaging a whole lot more summer in a bottle. As Wölffer Estate Vineyard celebrates its 25th anniversary and looks toward the future, the enthusiasm of new co-owner Joey Wölffer only grows.
This past January, Joey and brother Marc purchased their namesake Sagaponack vineyard, which was founded by their late father Christian Wölffer, and they are intent on preserving their family legacy while expanding Wölffer’s brand and audience.
“We’re going to own ‘summer in a bottle,’” says Joey of the winery’s long-term plans. Their phrase has always been synonymous with Wölffer, specifically their rosé, and the winery has proven to be a Hamptons favorite for their weekly live music series. But plans are in the works to turn Wölffer into a world-class destination for more than
just the local pours.
“We’re trying to build a lifestyle brand,” explains Joey. As a part of the new vision, Wölffer will be launching numerous initiatives, with a focus on the arts scene. Beginning on July 3, the winery will be partnering with two young, up-and-coming artists to set up a gallery-type exhibit in the tasting room and wine stand. And Joey will make Wölffer the home base of her mobile accessories boutique, the Styliner.
The time is ripe to be in the Long Island wine business, as the region celebrates 40 years this summer. And at a quarter-century old, Wölffer is clearly among those who don’t plan on slowing down. “It starts to give you integrity, having 25 years in the business,” says Joey, adding that the appeal of many of the area vineyards, particularly on the South Fork, is that they’re still family-owned.
Purchasing the estate “was a huge decision for me,” and the thought of having something to pass onto her children ultimately swayed her. “[The property] is something to be proud of,” Joey adds. Joey brings her creativity to the Wölffer brand, working on the marketing and design elements of the vineyard. Brother Marc, who is in the food and wine business, has taken control of the nuts-and-bolts side of the operation. “So we’re not competing,” says Joey.
Also key to the Wölffer Estate family is longtime winemaker Roman Roth, who was recently made partner. Wölffer is now marketing Roth’s brand Grapes of Roth. “Bringing in his label is showing that we’re one team,” says Joey. Plus, “now we have a great riesling!”
Of course, it wouldn’t be summer without the vineyard’s famous pink nectar. “Roman and my dad really pushed the rosé,” says Joey. “This year’s rosé is spectacular…The flavor is light and airy,” with floral hints and a touch of sweetness. She adds that the dusty pink color is key, as it evokes warm summer evenings. “Roman knows what people want,” says Joey, almost in reverence for the longtime winemaker. “He has really perfected
When the nights turn cold, however, Wölffer still wants to be a Hamptons entertainment destination. Plans are in the works to open a wine bar and lounge area inside the tasting room. “Winter shouldn’t be a forgotten season,” says Joey, hinting that since she has trouble finding downtime, she wants to provide a place for people to get together outside of the house, even in the quieter months.
Luckily, that’s still months away.
For now, it’s time to pour some more