In a few short weeks, a tasting room for olive oils and gourmet vinegars will open its doors on Main Street in Greenport.
Vines & Branches will carry a variety of specialty foods and offer a light cafe menu, in addition to a vast collection of oils and vinegars, according to owner Rita Winkler.
Each oil and vinegar will be placed in a fustis with a card describing the product’s characteristics, region where it came from, and suggested uses. Customers will be able to sample small servings of the oils and vinegars with bread. Once a customer selects oil for purchase, it will be bottled on the spot in a size of their choosing. Winkler said all of her olive oils are extra virgin and almost all are organic.
Chef Larry Kolar of On the Forks catering will prepare seasonal salads, sandwiches, panninis, and soups using the olive oils and vinegars available on premises. Winkler plans on using part of her outdoor space as an outdoor eating space for her café and said she is planning on doing chef tasting events throughout the year. Down the road, she anticipates adding wine to her menu.
“I’ve been selling wine for 20 years and working closely with chefs. I’ve always been a foodie and I’m interested in learning and promoting the health benefits of olive oil,” she said.
The retail store will carry products made from olive oil and shea butter, including body lotions, candles and soaps. She will also sell books, pasta, gourmet salts, candles and private label organic spices. All of her products have a California and Mediterranean focus, because that is where her oils come from.
In addition, she will offer cash and carry gift baskets and will also make customizable gift baskets.
Part of the reason why she started this business, she said, is to share the health benefits of olive oil. Winkler said she will be giving seminars on cooking with oils and sharing the benefits of eating Mediterranean foods. She also anticipates doing tastings at wineries and other locations on the North Fork.
If everything goes according to her plan, Winkler said her store should be open by the end of March. Until then, she is busy organizing inventory and setting up her Greenport shop. She believes her concept will be filling a void in the village.
“The tasting room concept goes hand and hand on the North Fork,” she said.
To reach Vines & Branches, please call 631-477-6800 or visit vinesandbranches.net.