The East End’s newest winery, Montauk Wine Company (MWC), is based on the South Fork and uses grapes grown and processed on the North Fork. So they kind of have the best of both worlds. And MWC Consultant Mark Blair, husband to owner Anneris Blair, has this advice on how to experience the East End to the fullest: “Forget about politics for 100 summer days and enjoy your life! Spend the summer reading, seeing friends, listening to music. See a movie, eat outside and step outside of your everyday life. Every year brings changes and newcomers so it’s always exciting. A nice mix of old standards and new, seasonal places provide the right culinary mix. I’m looking forward to trying EMP Summer House, Moby’s at East Hampton Point and Il Mulino in Wainscott. The middle of the week is the best time to dine out and enjoy the Hamptons.”
You can meet Blair and taste his Montauk Summer Rosé at Dan’s Rosé Soirée presented by Porsche on Sunday, May 27 at the Southampton Arts Center. As he says, “I think rosé is a state of mind and kinda vacation in a bottle. Nobody opens a rosé and makes a work association—unless you’re in the wine business!”
How does living on the East End inform your winemaking?
I’ve been coming to the North Fork since the ’80s and have seen the dramatic rise of the region over the years. We’re proud to represent the region and made our wines as an ode to great European wines with Long Island style.
What inspired your career the most?
My first trip to Napa Valley made me feel like this was going to be a lifelong passion.
When did you begin to truly appreciate wine?
In my mid-30s my palate changed, I stopped drinking beer and liquor and switched over to wine and never went back. It’s a gift and an art form.
What’s special about Long Island wine?
We’re very proud of Long Island wine’s humble beginnings and now it’s a pretty serious wine region/destination. The landscape is stunning. The taste paired with the right foods is a wonderful experience. We can’t grow all grapes really well, but the ones that favor our terroir are as good as any. Respecting the environment and keeping the waters clean is paramount.
What’s the best saying you’ve heard about wine?
Life is too short to drink cheap wine.
What’s the most unusual or surprising wine-and-food pairing you’ve come across?
Red wine with seafood—properly thought out it can be a great experience.
What would be your favorite wine to take on an East End picnic?
A nice chilled lobster roll, Montauk Summer Rosé and a great sunset is a quintessential East End experience to last all winter long!
How do you like to spend your “off time” here on the East End?
Exploring new trails, discovering hidden gems of food resources, getting to the beach and enjoying every sunrise and sunset with the amazing light of the East End.
Dan’s Rosé Soirée presented by Porsche is Sunday, May 27 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Southampton Arts Center. GA tickets are $140. VIP tickets are $190 and include event entry from 5 to 8 p.m. PLUS 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 DansTaste.com. Patrons must be 21 or older to attend.