We’re only halfway through 2021, and it’s safe to declare this a banner year for Pindar Vineyards. The Peconic winery won the coveted Governor’s Cup, the New York Annual Wine Classic’s top honor, and quite a few other awards for their recent wines. In addition to their impressive victory in March, this year Pindar released several wines from their exciting 2020 vintage, brought live music back to the bucolic vineyard and announced new and returning events, such as the Cigars and Wine series.
The first of the 2020 vintage wines to debut this year was a Wine Classic Gold Medal-winning Riesling bursting with green apple, peach and floral notes of jasmine on the nose. Think fruit cocktail—balanced, zesty, medium sweet and perfect for picnics.
Next came the follow-up to the acclaimed 2019 Gewürztraminer, which earned Best White Wine, Best Gewürztraminer, a Platinum Medal and the Governor’s Cup. With the reputation of the sold-out 2019 Gewürztraminer and reviews of the 2020 vintage saying it may be even better, it’s no surprise this spring release is quickly selling out. The new vintage features a nose of roses, ginger and allspice paired with a palate of tangerine, apricot and pineapple.
“We have the best wine in New York State, right in your backyard,” says Pindar Vineyards general manager and owner Pindar Damianos.
The 2020 vintages continued to roll out with the limited special reserve Sunflower Chardonnay, crisp Peacock Chardonnay and, most recently, the annual rosé, which Damianos describes as particularly “phenomenal.” The latest red wine release is a 2017 Cabernet France with notes of red berries and a delicate finish. “It’s delicious—one of my favorites,” Daminanos says.
Even more impressive than Pindar’s accolades is its commitment to sustainable winemaking. Its wind turbine, the largest in Southold Town, powers most of the production facility and allows wine to be bottled without outside power.
“I’m in my 40s and have a son who’s 12, and I want him to obviously inherit the winery and the vineyard, but also to have an environment that’s sustainable and healthy for his generation, as well. We’ve always been conscious of that since the ’80s,” Damianos says. “When you’re drinking Pindar, you’re drinking sustainability.”
The vines are alive with the sound of music, and lots of it. The Pindar website boasts a long roster of singer-songwriters and bands coming to the pavilion to perform every Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. And beginning Friday, July 2, Pindar is kicking off Sunset Fridays with extended hours, 5 to 8 p.m., of music, wine by the glass or bottle, deck bar and pizza.
Also kicking off on Friday is the all-new Cigars and Wine series, which invites the Lefty’s Specialty Cigars truck, a 1959 Chevy with custom humidification system, to the vineyard for an evening of hand-rolled cigars, Founders Oysters, as well as jazz on select dates. The fun takes place 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on July 2, July 16 (Jazz) and August 6, and non-smoking sections will also be available.
“I have a lot of customers who like cigars and, they wanted to have a night where they can come out, hang out with their friends, sit out on the pavilion, listen to music and have a cigar,” Damianos says of the event’s inception.
Besides the late-night Friday events, Pindar is also hosting outdoor vinyasa classes, cleverly titled Vine-Yasa Flow, winery tours, paint and sip nights and more. The winery is currently open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week. This summer, tastings will remain as they’ve been for the past several months: Patrons order their five-wine flights at the tasting bar and then head outside to the gorgeous outdoor spaces for the tasting. Damianos says customers really seem to enjoy the current setup, though he hopes to return to indoor tastings later this year.
“The only thing I miss is the interaction between me and the consumer who’s trying the wines because we make so many different wines,” he says, clarifying that he still helps guests select wines from the tasting sheet, but he misses witnessing that first sip. “When I’m able to pour the tasting, and they’re able to taste it in front of me, if they don’t like something or it’s not for them, then I can move them in a different direction. When they’re trying the wines on their own, I don’t have that ability.”
With Pindar Vineyards returning back to “normal” in most other ways, Damianos is optimistically looking forward to a spectacular summer of new wines and events.
“We’re happy to have the season in front of us. I think it’s going to be a beautiful year, and I hope people come and experience what the North Fork has to offer and that when they come to Pindar, they feel comfortable like they’re visiting a vineyard that’s family-owned,” Damianos says, adding that Pindar is, in fact, the oldest family-owned vineyard on the East End. “I really believe that when you come to Pindar, you feel like part of the family.”
Pindar Vineyards is located at 37645 Main Road, Peconic. Call 631-734-6200 or visit pindar.net for more information.