The factors that draw countless visitors to Long Island Wine Country are the very same that called Waters Crest Winery owner James Waters to become part of the local industry—“My love for wine and the great local farm fresh food,” Waters says. And they remain at the heart of a continuing love affair.
“I love the farm-to-table aspect of the North Fork, ” he goes on. “You can purchase locally grown fresh produce, cow, goat and sheep cheeses, fresh chicken and beef and seafood. Local wines are perfect to pair with our locally grown and harvested foods!”
Guests at Dan’s Harvest East End will find out just how perfect those pairings can be as Waters Crest Winery joins more than 35 other wineries, plus an all-star lineup of East End chefs and fine food purveyors, at the wine-and-food tasting event and celebration on August 23 at McCall Vineyard and Ranch in Cutchogue.
What will you be pouring at Dan’s Harvest East End?
2013 Dry Rose, 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, 2013 CB (White Blend), 2013 Pinot Blanc (our first ever), 2009 Cabernet Franc and 2009 Campania Rosso (Red Blend).
Describe the relationship between LI Wine and the agriculture, aquaculture and overall East End culinary culture.
Long Island wine, agriculture and aquaculture all go hand-in-hand. Our farm fields and the sea yield some of the most incredible edible products around. More and more young farmers are moving in, learning how to work the land successfully. Our local residents and those visiting the North and South Forks are demanding locally grown/harvested foods and our local wines!
What was the event that made you a true wine lover?
At the age of 18 while spending 3 months in France I was immersed in their food and wine culture. It was a whole new world for me and I just fell in love with the experience. I grew as a person and learned a lot about food and wine and about myself. The experience led me to take my first wine classes in college. I had found a true passion in wine and the wine industry.
What is the best thing you’ve ever heard anyone say about your wines?
These are some of the best wines I have tasted in the region.
Where do you see Long Island wines in five years?
Our region is definitely seeing growth. The Manhattan and Brooklyn markets are opening up to us, and that will just continue to increase as our region is recognized and talked about through all of the amazing bloggers and wine publications. People are becoming more familiar with the North/South Fork wine region through all of the positive press we have received. We are experiencing and will continue to experience substantial increases in traffic to the area as more and more people want to visit wineries, farms and other local attractions.
Talk a bit about the relationship among the winemakers here, the camaraderie, the collaboration and the competition aspects.
We are very lucky here. There is a tight relationship between the grape growers and winemakers. We work together for a common goal—creating award-winning, world-class wines. If a piece of equipment breaks down during harvest, you can call upon another winemaker for help. We work together and discuss different management practices and winemaking philosophies. The region strives for great quality wines, together.
What are a few insider tips for touring Long Island Wine Country?
Don’t expect to see and try everything in one day. There is just too much to do and see. Make a week out of it, or at least a few days! There are many incredible B & Bs to choose from. Really experience what the North Fork has to offer. World-class wines, world-class dining experiences. There is something here for everyone. Local wines, beers, spirits. Farm fresh produce, cheeses, seafood. The list goes on and on. It is always a great idea to hire a driver, or designate a driver if you know you will be out tasting wines all day.
What are some aspects of your wines that would surprise people discovering them for the first time?
The old adage, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Don’t be fooled by our exterior appearance. We are a small boutique winery creating high quality, age worthy wines. It is a true passion and it shows in the complexity of our wines.
If you weren’t making wine, you would be…Wealthy! Well, seriously, I have always been taught that a man’s wealth is based on happiness, family and friends. That is truly what makes life special. Winemaking is my passion. That is why we all do what we do here. We are passionate about wine and our region.
Dan’s Harvest East End is Saturday, August 23, from 7:30 to 10 p.m. at McCall Vineyard & Ranch in Cutchogue. For tickets, including Vin-IP entry (starting at 6:30 p.m.), and more info, please visit HarvestEastEnd.com.
Waters Crest Winery is located at 22355 Route 48, Unit 6 in Cutchogue. For more info call 631.734.5065 or visit waterscrestwinery.com.