A self-described “celebration of place, authentic quality, and a passion for new life,” Bridgehampton Breeze Vineyard is living up to such words with their quintessential East End rosé.
Bridgehampton Breeze owner Dr. Barry Jacobson, who began developing his vineyard in 2015, and winemaker Erik Bilka are joining the many other fantastic East End food and wine purveyors at this year’s Dan’s Rosé Soirée.
Dan’s Papers Rosé Soirée, a celebration of rosé — the East End’s unofficial summer drink — is kicking off the Twin Forks’ unofficial start of summer on Memorial Day weekend, Sunday, May 28 at the Southampton Arts Center.
We spoke to Bilka about his road to the wine business, new industry trends, favorite wine and more in the lead up to this year’s Rosé Soirée.
Bridgehampton Breeze Vineyard Winemaker Erik Bilka
How did you get into this line of work?
I attended Niagara University for Hospitality Management which allowed me the opportunity to study oenology while spending a semester in Switzerland. The seed was planted and after working in the restaurant industry for a number of years I moved to Long Island with the plan to work in a winery.
What new trends are you seeing?
I see an increasing openness to explore lesser known and locally produced wines. Not necessarily a new trend but certainly a growing one.
What is your favorite wine?
I’ve been on a serious Spanish red kick for a couple years. Tempranillo and Garnacha blends are my go-to, Rioja is a staple at my home. Riesling is the first wine that I became obsessed with and still love to drink the multitude of variations from dry to sweet.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I am always inspired by the potential of the next harvest. Every vintage is unique and exciting.
Who do you most admire in the food/wine world and why?
I have a universal admiration for people who introduce and make food and wine more approachable. Kevin Zraly comes to mind as a great ambassador to the wine world.
What’s a unique winemaking ritual you practice?
Not exactly unique but I personally do all the ferment checks throughout harvest. Ferment checks entail testing the brix and temperature as well as tasting all inoculated juice in the cellar everyday until they are dry wines.
What will you be serving at Rosé Soirée?
We will be serving our 2021 Rosé at the event and we hope you love it as much as we do.
Visit DansTaste.com for more information and tickets.
78 Bridgefield Road, Bridgehampton, 917-242-0321, bridgehamptonbreeze.com