Long Island (N.Y.) Wine Country is marking 50 years since Louisa and Alex Hargrave planted the first wine grapes in 1973.
She was honored at a Grand Celebration that attracted more than 750 wine enthusiasts, industry professionals, and media from across the tri-state area to taste wines from over 35 Long Island wineries and pair with bites prepared by over 20 top culinary talents from the area, demonstrating the region’s commitment to local, the high quality and diversity of wine styles, and the incredible food-friendly nature of these wines produced in a distinctively maritime climate.
“The Long Island wine industry would not be where it is today without the support of each other, our neighbors, and the community at large.” said Louisa Hargrave. “It was an emotional moment for me to be invited to join this celebration. The young winemakers, including my son, who joined together to raise a glass are the new force who will bring their own zeal, talent, and creativity to define the next 50 years of Long Island wine. We have come so far in the past five decades, and look forward to continuing to innovate and adapt well into the future.”
Guests at the event sampled over 135 wines—including rare library vintages, limited-edition magnums, top award winners from past years, and even the original Hargrave wines from the region’s first plantings—in a unique walk-around tasting format, grouping wines by style. This move away from the classic arrangement of grouping by winery allowed for consumers and industry professionals alike to discover new producers and wines by following the styles they know and love.
Food stations were strategically positioned throughout so that restaurants and purveyors matched local favorites to the specific wine styles, such as lobster rolls, freshly shucked raw oysters, and summer succotash alongside mineral-forward white wines, swordfish tacos and sustainably-farmed caviar with sparkling wines, or local grass-fed beef with robust reds—all providing a seamless food and wine pairing experience.
“Our aim was to showcase the various wine styles—from traditional method sparkling wine and pét-nats all the way to full-bodied red wines with remarkable structure, depth, and ageability—alongside the incredible foods cultivated on both the North and South Forks of Long Island, with dishes specially crafted to complement each wine style,” said Kareem Massoud, Winemaker at Paumanok and Palmer Vineyards, and president of Long Island Wine Country. “This is Long Island’s unique selling proposition: a wide range of varieties, unique blends, and styles offer an opportunity for every palate.”
The tasting was complemented by Go Charity Wine Auction to help raise funds for collaborative initiatives dedicated to advancing viticulture, sustainable agriculture, and community relations, as well as various offerings and opportunities provided by event partners and sponsors.
The New York wine industry is responsible for $6.65 billion in direct economic activity annually, and Long Island itself generates about half a million cases of wine each year that are distributed domestically and internationally.