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PHOTOS: LI Wine Council Celebrates 40th Anniversary

One of many events planned to commemorate four decades of wine council attracts a Who's Who to Raphael Vineyards Thursday night.

The Long Island Wine Council began in 1973 with just a few agricultural pioneers — Dave Mudd — with a vision that the North Fork's vegetable farms could someday be transformed into one of the top destinations for wine production and tourism in the world.

And 40 years later, with reviews from the likes of Trip Advisor and Wine Enthusiast rating the North Fork right up there with Sonoma County and Napa Valley — and Bedell Cellars merlot being chosen as a wine on the presidential inaugural luncheon menu — that vision is a reality and that council is still around, continuing to plan ways to make Long Island Wine Country an even better place.

To celebrate four decades of existence and its now over 40 wineries on the roster, the Long Island Wine Council hosted a low-key tasting party Thursday night at Raphael Vineyards in Peconic, where a Who's Who of North Fork vintners and others in the food and tourism industry showed up to mingle. David Page and Barbara Shinn of Shinn Estate Vineyards, Russ McCall of McCall Farms, Jim Waters of Mark Anderson of Lieb Cellars, and Long Island Wine Council Executive Director Steve Bate were among the faces in the crowd.

Melissa Martin, a former manager at Raphael who now does publicity for the council, said that this is one of many events planned to celebrate 40 years.

"This is basically the thank-you reception," she said. "There's a lot more to happen with Jazz on the Vine coming up."

Ron Goerler Jr., the owner of Jamesport Vineyards and president of the Long Island Wine Council, thanked the crowd.

"When I came out here with my father and mother in 1980, I never thought I would be in this position as president of the Long Island Wine Council," he said. "But it's a great honor to serve the communities of Southold and Riverhead Townships. My board members have really made me a better person from all the encouragement and dedication they have given. Many people have thanked me for all the things we've done over the years, but I want to thank you guys — you guys are the ones who made this happen."

Kelly Bruer, a manager at Clovis Point Vineyard in Jamesport and a native of the North Fork, said he worked as a kid planting some of the first grapevines in the area in the early '80s and said that the world-wide recognition Long Island Wine Country is receiving today is "stunning."

"There were no migrant workers back then, I worked with a couple other local kids and some old ladies," he said. "And I remember people questioning if wine would work out here. And to witness this place become the bona fide industry it is now is stunning. It took vision, a lot of vision."

Click here to visit the Long Island Wine Council's website.

Anna G January 18, 2013 at 11:20 PM
Hope and Change - perhaps there will be some hope for you when you start changing your attitude. In the meantime, congratulations to the Long Island Wine Industry and the Long Island Wine Council. This region has brought joy, prosperity (jobs) , and inspiration to Long Island. We are truly lucky to have such hardworking, entrepreneurial, effective passionate leaders. Cheers to you!
Adam Lovett January 18, 2013 at 11:21 PM
Congratulations to all of the north fork wineries and vineyards and tasting rooms Without which many of us would not be here. And as far as north not being able to compete with their California counterparts, try Jamesport 2007 petite verdot it blows away turley at the same price. It it costs twice as much to work the land.
Tom Schaudel January 20, 2013 at 08:39 PM
I happened to be at the event at Raphael last Thursday. I didn't hear anyone congratulate themselves so I'd like to take the opportunity to do it now. Congratulations Long Island Wine Industry and here's to forty more! What I saw was a celebration of an industry. An industry that employs people, pays significant taxes, supports the local community and local businesses, preserves the beauty of the region, and contributes mightily to Long Island's charitable causes. I find myself amused that people, who are obviously trying to matter, knock the hard work and dedication of others....while asking them to subsidize their housing needs. Seems counter-productive, no? Someone needs to read Teddy Roosevelt's "Man in the Arena" speech before he decides to enlighten the rest of us with his elementary wine knowledge. The intellectual laziness of "Kretons from up-island," which is spelled "Cretins" by the way, and "Long Island wines will never be of top quality," bring to mind the "All black people are good dancers" or "All Asians are good at math," ect. ect. mentality that I'd hoped had disintegrated under the weight of the stupidity. Correctly spelling Napa, while impressive, doesn't compensate for the ignorance that was on full display. Now that's something worthy of self congratulations, i guess. Maybe you should take your hand off the mouse, wrap it around a glass of Carlo Rossi, and THINK before you write something. Just sayin'.
Hope and Change January 22, 2013 at 02:21 PM
Tom, if you "happened to be at the event" you have already said all we need to know. the awarders and the receipients. the mis-spelled kreiton was to make a point, fool. lets first acknowledge everyone that Tom, the pseudo intellectual, is the smartest guy in the room this way he wont cry. this is evidenced by his spelling prowess. the rest of your hateful bigotry will speak for itself. i strongly suggest you crawl out of the bottle tommy. btw, carlo rossi is head and shoulders above anything that will come from the NoFo in your life. personally, i prefer the '97 canalicchio di sopra .. i dont imagine you have any idea what im talking about as i didn't happen to be at "the event" LOL...
Tom Schaudel February 04, 2013 at 02:34 PM
I think it's fairly obvious to everyone at this point that in a battle of wits you are seriously under-armed. Thanks for the confirmation.

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