Winemaker Roman Roth is excited.
Nearly a week after undertaking a vertical tasting of wines made under his personal label, the Grapes of Roth, for a dozen aficionados in Sag Harbor, he says he is looking forward to the big events of Harvest East End, which continues this weekend and will wind up on Sept. 17 with a tasting festival featuring 28 wineries and 18 restaurants and a gala dinner and charity auction of local vintages.
Roth, chairman of the wine and food celebration, said his tasting, billed as a salon — one of many scheduled for last Saturday, tomorrow and next week — went very well. “It was fabulous,” he said. “Those who came had a spectacular tasting.”
He’ll have another shot at drawing a crowd tomorrow, when he shows off Wölffer Vineyards’ rosés in Sagaponack at another salon.
Roth isn’t alone. Rob Salvatico, senior vice president of the Indigo Hotel in Riverhead, is looking forward to hosting a Riedel tasting challenge at the hotel using the Austrian glassmakers specialized stem ware. “The event is terrific, he said, explaining the hotel’s participation is a unique way to raise its visibility among East End visitors.
The vinous celebration, expected to draw hundreds of attendees, will benefit East End Hospice, Group for the East End and the Peconic Land Trust. Its organizers are the Long Island Merlot Alliance and Long Island Wine Council.
In addition to the Wölffer tasting, the weekend events include a tour and tasting at Cornell University's experimental vineyard in Riverhead, wine and food pairing at Comtesse Thérèse in Aquebogue; an exploration of merlot at Grand Cru classes in Mattituck; a vertical tasting of cabernet franc with winemaker John Leo at Clovis Point Vineyard in Jamesport; shellfish and wine at Jamesport Vineyards with winemaker Ron Goerler Jr.; biodynamics, organic practices and sustainable farming at Shinn Estate Vineyards, Mattituck and the aroma profile of Long Island wines at Palmer Vineyards, Riverhead, with winemaker Miguel Martin.
In addition to the salons and main events, the celebration includes intimate 10-mile vintner dinners at private homes on Sept. 16.
The festival on Sept. 17 festival, from 4:30 - 7:30 p.m, takes place at the Ludlow Farm: Home of the Mecox Bay Dairy and Fairview Farm in Bridgehampton.
The Mecox farm also hosts the Harvest Moon Gala and Live Auction of Long Island Wines on Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. “It will be a very elegant event,” said Roth.
Charles Antin, a wine specialist at Christie’s, the New York City auction house, will preside at the auction, which features local wines and travel. All proceeds of the auction will go to the charities. The dinner will feature dishes prepared by William Holden of West End Café, Carle Place; Tom Schaudel of A Lure, A Mano and CoolFish and Noah Schwartz of Noah's, Greenport.
Ticket sales are picking up, said Donnell Brown, executive director of the Merlot Alliance. About 250 of 600 tickets remain for the festival tasting and 100 of 450 for the gala, she said. Ticket information is at the event web site.