A Talk with Juan Micieli-Martinez of Martha Clara Vineyards

Martha Clara winemaker Juan Micieli-Martinez
Martha Clara winemaker Juan Micieli-Martinez, Photo: 91East Productions

Always try something new. That is what the world of wine is all about,” says Juan Micieli-Martinez, the winemaker at Martha Clara Vineyards. Taste your way through the bounty of East End Wine Country with Micieli-Martinez, who will be on-hand at Dan’s Harvest East End. This food and wine event will be held at McCall Vineyard and Ranch in Cutchogue on August 22 with host Geoffrey Zakarian. Here Micieli-Martinez offers up his thoughts on local wines and the culinary culture of the East End:

What are some wine-tasting tips you can offer to people coming to your vineyard, and in general?
Always try something new. That is what the world of wine is all about. The best thing about coming to Martha Clara is that we have wines for all palates. We offer wines that are playful and easy drinking as well as those that are complex and nuanced.

What are you most looking forward to about participating in Dan’s Harvest East End this year?
It is great to see Harvest East End evolve. It has changed through the years and each year it becomes more fun than the year prior.

Best pairing of food and East End wine?
Lobster roll and a nice glass of local rosé.

Describe the relationship between East End wine and the agriculture, aquaculture and overall East End culinary culture.
The relationship between all of the food and wine is amazing because we share terroir. The food and drink reflects that in how well it all pairs.

What is the best thing you’ve ever heard anyone say about your wines?
The best thing I have heard anyone say about our wines is when they were enjoyed and shared over a family holiday meal. It is nice to think during the holidays that many people across Long Island are enjoying one of our wines.

What is the funniest way you’ve heard somebody describe a wine?
“It’s not bad.” Okay, so…were you expecting it to be?

What are the biggest challenges facing the East End wine industry?
The threat for development. As the popularity continues to increase, so will the desire to build new homes to accommodate all of those that want to live on the East End.

What key factors are helping East End wines increase in quality and reputation outside the region?
Our dedication and attention to detail from the vineyard to the winery. Our reputation continues to grow because of the efforts of all the men and women from the vineyard to the front lines. As an industry, we are producing great wines. It takes a lot of great wines to build a great wine region, and we are on that path.

What are a few insider tips for wine touring?
PLAN AHEAD! It is great to organize a last-minute trip, but when traveling with a group, be sure to make reservations in advance. Planning does really pay off when going wine tasting.

Dan’s Taste of Summer kicks off with Dan’s GrillHampton presented by Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors on Friday, July 17, and continues on Saturday, July 18, with Dan’s Taste of Two Forks presented by Farrell Building Company, 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.

Martha Clara Vineyards, 6062 Sound Avenue, Riverhead. 631-298-0075. marthaclaravineyards.com

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