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Local Vintners To Explore Long Island Wine Country During Hamptons Lecture Series

Nicole Barylski

Channing Daughters is one of the few South Fork-based wineries. (Photo: www.facebook.com)

Those that call the East End home are lucky enough to live just a hop, skip and a jump away from a plethora of prominent wineries.

On Friday, March 4th, the Parrish Art Museum is paying homage to the wine and vines that are based on Long Island during an evening of local wine tasting and conversation. Starting at 6 p.m., lecture-goers will learn about the process and art of winemaking from local vintners as well as sample wines made on the East End. Brian Halweil, Editor-in-Chief of Edible East End, will moderate the event that will feature presentations by James Christopher Tracy, winemaker at Channing Daughters Winery in Bridgehampton, Michael Kontokosta, proprietor of Kontokosta Winery in Greenport, and Alie Shaper of Brooklyn Oenology.

"Long Island Wine Country recently celebrated its 40th anniversary, and this conversation at the Parrish will give attendees a chance to hear and taste how much has changed since the first vines were planted in the early 70s," said Halweil. "One of the rare East Coast wine regions that is warm enough to grow European wine-grapes, the East End's wine country is among the most diverse and dynamic, boasting more varieties, more styles of winemaking, and more charismatic winemakers than most other wine regions in the country."

Kontakosta Winery offers estate grown and bottled Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, and Riesling. (Courtesy Photo)

The program will also take a look at the local benefits of the Long Island wine country. "After the tasting and conversation, attendees will know all the reasons—gastronomic, economic, ecological, personal—for pouring Long Island wine as often as they can," added Halweil.

James Christopher Tracy, Channing Daughters' partner and winemaker, was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay area, giving Tracy his initial exposure to great wines, wine regions, and food. He moved to New York City in 1993 and attended the French Culinary Institute. While employed as a chef, Tracy earned his Sommelier Certificate from the Sommelier Society of America, Higher Certificate from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, and was awarded a Diploma from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust, earning him the D.W.S. distinction. He joined Channing Daughters in 2001, where he cultivates new products and cuvees. Tracy strongly believes the Long Island wine-growing region will continue to develop and yield world-class wines due to the introduction of both ancient and modern winemaking practices like indigenous yeast fermentations, longer extraction periods, and the molti rosati project.

Michael Kontokosta, co-owner and vineyard manager of Kontokosta Winery, was raised in New York City. When Kontakosta started the Greenport-based winery, he had no formal experience with viticulture or oenology, but was able to produce eight successful vintages due to the guidance of North Fork wine pioneer Ray Blum. Kontakosta Winery offers estate grown and bottled Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, and Riesling made from sustainably farmed, hand-harvested fruit.

Brooklyn Oenology is New York City's first urban winery concept. (Photo: www.facebook.com)

Alie Shaper is the founder and winemaker of Brooklyn Oenology, New York City's inaugural urban winery concept. Shaper's initial interaction with wine came at Cornell University during the college's intensive Friday afternoon wine course. Once she received her engineering degree, Shaper began her career with a San Jose military contractor, working on several projects, including the helmet displays for F-22 fighter pilots. After a desire to use her talents more creatively set in, she moved back to New York, working at a winery tasting room in New York's Hudson Valley. Eventually her journey took Shaper to the North Fork, where she worked as a harvest worker at Premium Wine Group, exploring all aspects of a winery. She then moved to Brooklyn, where Shaper founded Brooklyn Oenology in the hopes of combining New York's agricultural, artistic and culinary worlds, and bringing the quality wines of the area straight to the New York City market.

The program is open to the public, however wine tasting attendees must be 21-years-old or older. Admission is $10, but free for members.

Parrish Art Museum is located at 279 Montauk Highway in Water Mill. For more information, call 631-283-2118 or visit parrishart.org.

Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com NicoleBarylski NicoleBarylski

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