“Come and taste the best!” says Wölffer Estate Vineyard Winemaker Roman Roth in a toast to East End wine. Roth conceived the idea of Harvest East End six years ago, as he felt that every great wine region needs a great celebration. Though Roth will have to miss this year’s Dan’s Harvest East End on August 22, Wölffer wines will be well represented. Here, Roth talks about what makes East End wine unique, the challenges facing the industry, and why East End wine will only increase in popularity.
What are some wine-tasting tips you can offer to people coming to your vineyard, and in general?
A) If you want to taste a lot of wine in a serious way, always use a spit-bucket and don’t drink the wine. If you are just having fun make sure you drink enough water and you don’t have to empty/finish every glass. B) If you go to a number of wineries, focus on one or two type of wines. This way you can make a nice comparison.
What are you most looking forward to about Harvest East End this year?
After being the Chair for the first three years, I still feel Harvest East End is my baby. Unfortunately this year I will have to miss it as I have to be in Germany for a wedding the same day. You can’t dance at two weddings at the same time!
What is the best pairing of food and East End wine?
Oysters with the classic sparkling wines, like the Wölffer Estate Noblesse Oblige Extra Brut Sparkling Rosé; striped bass with our elegant Long Island chardonnays, like the Wölffer Estate Perle Chardonnay; Long Island Duck with our concentrated and intense Merlots like The Grapes of Roth Merlot
One East End Wine everyone should try at least once:
Wölffer Estate Christian’s Cuvee Merlot is our flagship wine. It’s a very special wine that exemplifies the best that merlot can be on Long Island.
What drew you to the East End wine industry?
It was Christian Wölffer! To be part of a vineyard in the middle of the Hamptons, just two hours from one of the greatest cities in the world was very tempting, as was the set goal to make some of the finest wines in the world.
Describe the relationship between East End Wine and the agriculture, aquaculture and overall East End culinary culture.
I think that the wineries on the East End are the glue to this unique combination of land and sea, viticulture, agriculture and local, seasonal cuisine. When consumed together, our wine and food certainly prove the adage, “what grows together goes together.”
What was the moment that made you a true wine lover?
It all started when I was little, seeing my parents enjoy and revere great wine.
What is the best thing you’ve ever heard anyone say about your wines?
My brother-in-law’s mother was 92 when she drank/tasted our Diosa Late Harvest Chardonnay (ice wine) the first time, and her comment was: “I had to get this old to taste something this good!”
What is the funniest way you’ve heard somebody describe a wine?
This wine rocks; This aroma reminds me of the wilted flowers on my mother’s grave.
Where do you see East End wines in five years?
There will be a huge shortage—people won’t be able to get enough of our wines!
What are some of the biggest challenges facing the East End wine industry?
A hurricane; the continuation of wineries from generation to generation; and to continuously strive and invest to further improve quality
What are a few insider tips for touring East End Wine Country?
Come during the week and get the royal VIP treatment.
Make a toast to East End wine:
Come and taste the best!
Dan’s Taste of Summer kicks off with Dan’s GrillHampton on Friday, July 17, and continues on Saturday, July 18, with Dan’s Taste of Two Forks, both at Sayre Park, 156 Snake Hollow Road, Bridgehampton. Dan’s Harvest East End, the can’t-miss food and wine classic, rounds out the trio of events on August 22 in Cutchogue. For more information on all three events, including tickets and VIP packages, visit DansTaste.com.
Wölffer Estate Vineyard, 139 Sagg Road, Sagaponack. 631-537-5106, wolffer.com