Weird grapes are coming to the North Fork.
Regan and Carey Meador hit the finish line on their Kickstarter campaign, "Bring Weird Grapes to the North Fork," not long after it began about three weeks ago, and having flown past their $15,000 goal, are now getting ready to plant some weird grapes in the ground.
The grapes are considered "weird," because they are more commonly found in Italy, not on the North Fork.
Regan – who along with his wife started Southold Farm & Cellar after purchasing 23 acres in Southold last summer – said on Monday that due to the success of the campaign so far, the sprouting vineyard may be able to get a head start and even plant as much as an extra quarter acre of grapes.
As of Tuesday morning, the campaign had raised over $23,000, over 150 percent of its $15,000 goal. Regan said though that adding more vines should be done in a precautionary fashion, so the operation doesn't become stretched too thin.
"You just have to be careful, because that $15,000 might get you an acre in the ground. But years afterwards you still have to do things to keep the vines alive before you see grapes coming out of the ground."
Meador noted that early press coverage of the campaign "gave it a shot in the arm," with even the nation's most widely-circulated newspaper – the Wall Street Journal – covering the campaign after a couple weeks in. Less than a week after the WSJ story, the fundraising effort went from about half of its goal to well beyond.
The Meador's campaign is the third local effort using the website to reach its goal in the past month; John Condzella to service the local craft beer industry, and Keith Luce on Love Lane.
Though Meador's professional background included marketing before his current role as assistant winemaker at Osprey's Dominion Vineyards, he said framing the idea in one way or another likely wasn't too much of a difference maker, but the idea itself is what has caught people's attention - and dollars.
From the Kickstarter website: "The plan is to plant only about 7 out of the 23 acres with grapes this spring (2013), ranging from Syrah to Lagrein and Goldmuskateller...and that's just the beginning. The following years will bring even more varieties and our own wine label sold from our estate. Our approach to the vineyard will be low input and certified by Long Island Sustainable Winegrowers."
The campaign itself is going to go toward planting an acre – now possibly more – of Teroldego.
"I think the fact that we're planting stuff that's off the beaten path – which is weird – makes it interesting itself," Regan said.