Winemaker Alie Shaper of Brooklyn Oenology, As If Wines, and Haywater Cove Wines believes that rosés are ascendant on the East End “because they make us think of a lifestyle; I think of the South of France myself, and imagine many other people do too. After my trip to Provence last year, I realized that the East End has a very similar wine-and-seascape setting. So, naturally, we’ve developed our own version! Rosé is also a style of wine that complements our local food, and that too is similar to the Provence cuisine. I think, over the years, we’re going to see many more styles of rosé being made, and you’ll find yourself drinking it year-round.” Sounds delightful. Come drink some rosé with Shaper at Dan’s Rosé Soirée presented by Porsche on Sunday, May 27 at the Southampton Arts Center.
Where are you from?
I’m originally from Nassau County, where, up until recently, both my father and mother still lived. My mother passed away this past winter, and it’s her memory that’s inspiring me this season. She was my spiritual influence, reminding me to walk in the world with humility, love and gratitude—I feel all those things when I think about how lucky I am to have found a career in winemaking, and so close to where I grew up.
How does living on the East End inform your winemaking?
Our wine region is unique…we have seagulls in our vineyards! Our terroir is distinct from the rest of the United States, and so our winemakers have natural elements that enable us to make wines that are reflections of our land, our sea, our special place on the Atlantic and the wonderful way of life we have here. As winemakers, we can embody the concept of “what we grow together, goes together”—and that wine IS food. Long Island wines are made to express and enhance the natural resources and agriculture that define the East End character—anyone out here knows that we’ve got killer seafood, meats and produce right in our collective backyard! As a region, we winemakers have learned how to craft wines that work with our particular local food and culture. And isn’t it awesome that the East End has it’s own special place in the wine universe?
When did you begin to truly appreciate wine?
I was still in college, at Cornell University, and I’d signed up for an elective course that covered the basics about wines from around the world. I didn’t know anything about wine then, but I ended up discovering I’d had a latent passion for it! Through studying the geography and grape varieties from different regions, and attending tasting sessions, all of a sudden my world of food and wine busted “wine open.”
What’s special about Long Island wine?
I think we can all have great pride in our local agriculture. In a time when land is getting gobbled up to build for an exploding population, we can count ourselves very lucky for having such good land for growing and raising clean and nutritious food. We should seek out our local commodities in order to ensure the preservation of our land and open spaces, both for our physical and mental well being.
Do you ever drink at your own winery on your days off?
Oh yes, that’s the best time to do so—you’re not distracted with everyday business, and can just socialize and relate with your visitors and customers. It’s a great time to chat with wine club members and enthusiasts, and simply connect with them, while enjoying a tasty beverage.
What’s the most important thing to teach the next generation of winemakers?
To push the envelope and be creative when making their style of wine, and to remember that we are a part of a greater community that has to stick together to preserve our agricultural future. It’s important to be stewards of both people and places on the East End.
How do you like to spend your “off time” on the East End?
I love sailing on the Peconic Bay, or having a gentle swim at one of our tucked-away beaches, going kayaking, or gardening at my house.
Dan’s Rosé Soirée presented by Porsche is Sunday, May 27 at the Southampton Arts Center. GA tickets are $140. VIP tickets are $190 and include access to the Rosé After Dark VIP After Party Presented by The Palm by Whispering Angel, from 8 to 10 p.m. For tickets and more information about all Dan’s Taste of Summer events, visit DansTasteofSummer.com. Patrons must be 21 or older to attend.