Before he died on June 26 at the age of 65, Mattituck resident Charles Flatt was an integral part of the production of North Fork wine for over two decades.
Over the years Flatt had worked as a grower and winemaker at several vineyards including, ,and To remember their co-worker and friend, many involved in the industry will gather on Tuesday night at in Riverhead at 7 p.m..
"This is just something casual to have a drink and share stories about Charles," said Rob Hansult, former vineyard manager at Pellegrini who'd worked with Flatt there in the late '90s. "He was around from near the beginning, to see the industry take strides."
Flatt started out in the business running his own vineyard in Pennsylvania before relocating to the North Fork and starting out at Peconic Bay Winery in the late 1980s, according to his widow, Melissa Cannady.
"That's what his passion was — being part of the Earth," she said. "And that's what he got to do, working with the fields and the fruits."
To Adam Suprenant, winemaker at Osprey's Dominion in Peconic, Flatt was an underrated but influential figure in the development of Long Island Wine Country — and he was, simply put, a great person.
"He was a dear friend and had a huge, huge heart," he said. "He was a guy that if you needed help, he would drop what he was doing and come and help you.
"He was a great winemaker — and even though he ended up taking care of the vines instead of making wine, I still always considered him a great winemaker, first and foremost," Suprenant continued. "He was a diamond in the rough out here. And he could light up any room he walked in to."
Flatt is survived by his wife; his children, Jennifer Fleischer and Adam, both of Pennsylvania; his brother, Raymond; and three grandchildren.
Martha Clara is located at 6025 Sound Avenue in Riverhead. Call 631-298-0075 for more information.