Dan’s Taste of Summer Countdown: Dean Babiar, Jamesport Vineyards

Dan’s Taste of Summer Countdown: Dean Babiar, Jamesport Vineyards

Dan’s Harvest East End, the can’t-miss food and wine classic, will be held on Saturday, August 20, at McCall Vineyard and Ranch in Cutchogue. Jamesport Vineyards winemaker Dean Babiar will be there. He wants you to know, “I make most decisions based on feeling. The same goes for our viticulturist. We don’t operate systematically because the most recent version of the rulebook says so. Ron [Goerler] has been doing this for as long as anyone out here. So I have a tremendous amount of confidence in him. I can trust his feelings because they come from experience. He’s a true artisan, willing to take risks and aware of all the consequences. He’s no stranger to pain. You need someone like that for this job. Someone who understands suffering, it’s an important part of growing. The vines need a little heartbreak to grow properly and he allows them that, in return we end up with fruit that has developed a bit more character as a result. I appreciate it all.”

What fuels your creativity as a winemaker?
It has to be honest. It’s my responsibility to make wine that is unique to this place, bottling a pure expression. The grape naturally gives us everything we need for the wine; it has for the past 8,000 years. I’m not interested in another carbon copy of a wine from another place, it’s more important that we continue to cultivate our own identity.

What’s your favorite pairing of local wine and food?
Rosé and calamari. I always order sangria with lobster and steak when I’m at one of my favorite restaurants.

What are some of your favorite East End restaurants?
Fork & Anchor (East Marion), Stirling Sake (Greenport), Brix & Rye (Greenport), Love Lane Kitchen (Mattituck), Moby’s (East Hampton)

What’s the next frontier in Long Island winemaking?
Hopefully there aren’t any new frontiers. For me one of the most alluring aspects of wine comes from its past. It’s a living art that has been around for thousands and thousands of years. If anything, maybe a few steps back is what’s needed to move forward in the right direction.

Please complete this sentence: If money were no object, I would make wine exclusively according to cosmic rhythms, using the moon and stars as a guide. Absolutely everything forced naturally by gravity from top to bottom. Id like to be a little more gentle. I’d like to connect with the natural energy in the vineyard and be more receptive on the spiritual side, digging deeper into the esoteric. On paper it looks impractical and sounds like a bunch of hocus-pocus but I’ve seen evidence that would make me think otherwise. All of this requires time, which is one of the few things I’m short on. So it would be nice to buy a little more of it.

Dan’s Taste of Summer kicks off with Dan’s GrillHampton hosted by Adam Richman on Friday, July 22 and continues on Saturday, July 23, with Dan’s Taste of Two Forks presented by Farrell Building Company hosted by Alex Guarnaschelli and Katie Lee, both on the waterfront at Fairview Farm at Mecox in Bridgehampton. VIP tickets for GrillHampton are $185 and offer early access to the event beginning at 7 p.m. General Admission, from 8 p.m.–10:30 p.m., is $135. VIP tickets for Taste of Two Forks are $295 and offer early access beginning at 6:30 p.m. General Admission, from 7:30 p.m.–10 p.m., is $185.

The oceanfront food and drink fest ClambakeMTK at Gurney’s Montauk hosted by Marc Murphy and Eden Grinshpan premieres on Saturday, July 30. General Admission for ClambakeMTK, from 7:30 p.m.–10 p.m., is $150. VIP tickets are $250, and include access to the after-party from 10 p.m.–12 a.m.

Dan’s Harvest East End, the can’t-miss food and wine classic, hosted by Geoffrey Zakarian, is Saturday, August 20, at McCall Vineyard and Ranch in Cutchogue. VIP tickets for Harvest East End are $285 and offer early access beginning at 6:30 p.m. General Admission, from 7:30 p.m.–10 p.m., is $135.

A portion of this year’s ticket proceeds from GrillHampton and Taste of Two Forks will benefit All For The East End (AFTEE), a 501(c)(3) that showcases and provides support to the more than 1,000 charity organizations in the five East End towns. A portion of proceeds from Harvest East End benefits Long Island Farm Bureau and HRHCare.

To purchase tickets and get more info on all Dan’s Taste of Summer events, visit DansTasteofSummer.com!

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