LI Merlot Alliance Appoints Deborah Brenner as New Executive Director

Deborah Brenner, new Executive director of Long Island Merlot Alliance
Deborah Brenner, new Executive director of Long Island Merlot Alliance, Photo: Courtesy Deborah Brenner

The Long Island Merlot Alliance (LIMA) announced Tuesday the appointment of Deborah Brenner to the position of Executive Director.

In her new role, Brenner will work closely with LIMA members to help promote the full potential of Long Island vineyards and winemakers in producing superior quality, age-worthy, balanced, classic merlot, and merlot based blends.

LIMA’s announcement notes that Brenner has already started executing the expansion plan which includes redefining the mission and vision of the Alliance, the hiring of a research fellow and the launch of the new “Merliance Wine Trail.” In addition, she will help coordinate the production and release of the aptly named Merliance wine—the only cooperative wine made on Long Island.

Brenner became inspired to join the world of winemaking while conducting interviews for her acclaimed book, Women of the Vine: Inside the World of Women Who Make, Taste and Enjoy Wine. In 2006, the year the book was published, Wine Spectator magazine selected it as a critical read in its Top 100 December issue.

For almost a decade, Brenner has conducted her wine consulting business from Rockland County, NY, specializing in marketing, public relations and business development. She is a member of Senator Gillibrand’s New York Agriculture Working Group and Women of the Vine, which is proud to be the first and only wine partner of Farm Aid, founded by Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp.

From 2007–2012, Brenner founded the first cooperative wine brand with six women winemakers of Napa, Sonoma and Paso Robles. In this role, she was responsible for all wine sales, marketing and managing distribution channels in 23 States.

“The Long Island wine business is on fire and we are excited to have Deborah on board to facilitate the growth of our alliance,” said Roman Roth, President of LIMA and partner/winemaker at Wölffer Estate Vineyard. “Her enthusiasm and expertise will be instrumental in growing this cooperative effort,” Roth continued, adding, “It is imperative for the wineries of Long Island to collaborate in order to achieve our quality goals and ultimately benefit the region as a whole.”

The Long Island Merlot Alliance (LIMA) is a trade organization which strives to educate media and consumers about the quality of merlot and merlot based blends produced in Long Island. Participating wineries include Sherwood House Vineyards, Clovis Point, T’Jara Vineyards, McCall Wines, Lieb Cellars, Raphael, and Wölffer Estate Vineyard.

Merliance wine is a blend of 100 percent merlot from each LIMA-member winery, hailing from the Hamptons and the North Fork of Long Island American Viticultural Areas (AVAs). The sale of Merliance wine funds the activities of the Alliance, from research initiatives to events.

Merlot wine
Deborah Brenner is bringing LI merlot into the future! Photo: IngusBajars/iStock/Thinkstock

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