01/18/13 3:00pm
COURTESY PHOTO  |  Louisa and Alex Hargrave left Harvard University, where they met, 40 years ago to head to Long Island's East End.

COURTESY PHOTO | Louisa and Alex Hargrave left Harvard University, where they met, 40 years ago to head to Long Island’s East End.

The Long Island Wine Council celebrated its 40th anniversary Thursday night at Raphael Vineyards in Peconic. The North Fork wine industry began when Louisa and Alex Hargrave took a chance to try something never before done here. In the winter issue of the Long Island Wine Press, published by Times/Review, the Hargraves reflected on how it all began.

Louisa and Alex Hargrave stood under a sunny sky one unseasonably warm winter afternoon with two grape experts who had come from afar to take a gander at Long Island’s very first vineyard.

The young couple, neither of whom had any viticulture experience, were soliciting advice on growing stronger, more fruitful grapevines. The expert, who grew grapes in California, told them to keep the vines with the thickest wood and cut off the side shoots.

The Hargraves exchanged puzzled glances. Just minutes earlier, a grape expert from Cornell University’s Agricultural Experiment Station in upstate New York had given the exact opposite advice: Keep the thinnest wood and do not cut off the side shoots.

COURTESY PHOTO  |  Alex Hargrave majored in Asian studies before turning attention to wine making.

COURTESY PHOTO | Alex Hargrave majored in Asian studies before turning attention to wine making.

“We decided not to take anyone’s advice,” Louisa Hargrave recalled in a recent interview. “We had to inform ourselves. We couldn’t rely on anyone else.”

Exactly 40 years ago, the Hargraves left Harvard University, where they met, and headed for Long Island’s East End, a rural landscape covered with potato farms, cornfields and churches. There was not a single grapevine in the region, now characterized by a bustling wine industry.

The Hargraves had driven across the country to Napa Valley to visit vineyards and explore owning one but were disappointed at the time by the quality of the West Coast’s highly oxidized wines. They knew they wanted to grow vinifera grapes, which grow well in Europe, and were told by Cornell University researcher and agricultural scientist John Wickham that the climate and soils on Long Island were similar to those of France and other regions where vinifera grapes prosper.

And so, they set their sights on grape-growing on Long Island.

“We weren’t satisfied with anything else,” Hargrave said of their decision. “We were young and we thought we had nothing to lose.”

Alex Hargrave had majored in Asian studies and his wife earned degrees in teaching and government. If college taught them anything, though, it was that experts didn’t have all the answers. They couldn’t farm — neither had grown so much as a cherry tomato in a backyard garden — but they knew how do research and banked on their learning skills.

Hargraves2“We took a huge risk,” Hargrave said. “It’s the arrogance of youth — you think you can’t fail. You do what you want to do and just go for it.”

Sixty-six acres and many challenges later, the Hargraves had created a small winemaking operation, population two. The early days were fraught with challenges: diseased plants, destructive birds, natural disasters and nosy, anti-alcohol neighbors.

“There were people who would call reporters every time they saw a bug on a grape leaf and then there’d be some big story,” Hargrave recalled. On the whole, the couple were well-received by fellow farmers on the North Fork, but the “small but vocal faction” caused them their fair share of headaches.

Not having anyone to look to for advice or examples, the Hargraves made fresh decisions — and tragic mistakes.

Eric Fry, 20-year winemaker at Lenz Winery, which was founded a few years after Hargrave Vineyard, said other early vineyard managers and winemakers looked to the Hargraves to glean insight on what to do — and what not to do.

The biggest lesson the fledgling Long Island wine world learned from the Hargraves was where not to plant, Fry said. The Hargraves had planted vines in low spots, which turned out to be a vine’s arch-enemy. Lower ground is typically wet and cold — destructive conditions for a grapevine.

“They didn’t exactly know what they were doing and they made a lot of mistakes,” Fry said. “They were experimenters. Someone had to do that for us to find out.”

 

Their first wine, Hargrave admits, was a disaster. They stored a sorry Sauvignon Blanc in whiskey barrels instead of customary oak barrels.

“We didn’t know how important oak was,” she said.

The whiskey barrels stripped the wine of its color and added a heavy char flavor.

Though the early days were peppered with flops and faux pas, the Hargraves had fallen in love with the art of grape-growing and winemaking.

“I wanted to do work that was physical and meaningful and for my children to experience work effort,” Hargrave said. “I wanted our work to have results — something we could eat and drink.”

The couple’s two children did learn the hard work of farming a vineyard. Their son, Xander, remembers the endless work and spirited energy of each fall’s harvest — and his parents’ faithful devotion to their love of wine.

“They were stubbornly committed to wines they enjoyed drinking — wines that had an old world connection and quality,” said Xander Hargrave, who is now assistant winemaker at Peconic Bay Winery in Cutchogue.

He believes the local wine industry’s prosperity is rooted in a like-minded community with the same goals. “The health and success of the wine industry is linked to the health and success of the community,” he said. “Forty years of the wine industry is just the beginning.”

The Hargraves ended up selling their beloved vineyard just after harvest in 1999, leaving behind two decades of winemaking and a burgeoning wine region now dotted with dozens of vineyards.

True pioneers, the couple set the stage for scores of winemakers who would produce world-class, award-winning wines.

To this day, Louisa Hargrave wants not much more than an alluring glass of wine to relax with. Her idea of a great wine, she said, is one with subtlety, “an interesting and intricate aroma that doesn’t hit you over the head.”  She likes dynamic wines with energy, fruitiness and earthiness.

“Making wines that are very dynamic and have energy from the first taste to the last,” she said. “That’s where I think we succeeded and that’s where winemakers on Long Island today succeed.”

03/05/12 5:00pm

SAMANTHA BRIX PHOTO | Les Howard, winemaker at Raphael in Peconic.

Les Howard doesn’t see himself as a winemaker.

He considers himself a shepherd who guides grapes into wine.

He doesn’t push the grapes, and he doesn’t change them. In the cellar of Raphael in Peconic, he aims to turn the small red and white fruits into their highest potential.

“I’m not making,” he said. “I’m guiding. The more I learn, the less I try to change it.”

Mr. Howard, 37, has worked in Long Island Wine Country for his entire career, starting out as a cellar hand at Pindar Vineyards.

“I had no idea I was going to be a winemaker,” he said.

“I needed money,” he said with a laugh, “so I became a cellar hand.”

He soon learned he couldn’t deny his fascination with wine. He learned the art of winemaking quickly and became an assistant winemaker at Osprey’s Dominion Vineyards, Wolffer Estate Vineyards and Bedell Cellars.

He landed his first gig as head winemaker in 2005 at Jamesport Vineyards, migrated back to Pindar and then joined Raphael in 2010.

Along the way, he’s made good friends with other winemakers, a band of people he says genuinely care that their peers succeed.

“We feel like we all have to make good wine to bring our reputation up as a region,” he said. “We’re not afraid to share knowledge.”

Mr. Howard is hard-pressed to identify his single favorite wine.

“I love all the wines I make,” he said.

He admits that the red wines currently fermenting in Raphael’s oak barrels made with grapes harvested in the 2010 season just might be the highest quality he’s ever made.

He went to far as to say the 2010 red vintages will be some of the best wines ever to emerge from Long Island.

“These are some of the best wines I’ve ever worked with,” he said while strolling past rows of red-striped barrels in the dimly-lit cellar of Raphael. “No one’s tasted anything like this from Long Island.”

He said the 2010 growing season was certainly the best the Island had seen since the highly successful 2007 season — if not the best ever. He didn’t use many sulfites in his red wines since the tannin structures were so rich in many of them. He didn’t use any sulfites, which is quite rare, in his 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon.

He said winemaker peers in California who tasted the 2010 vintages were blown away by the quality of the wine.

“To me, all of these wines are remarkable,” he said.

Until those vintages are released, he’ll continue guiding, not making, what he believes is the best Long Island has to offer.

sbrix@timesreview.com

02/23/12 9:00am

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | It may be winter on the North Fork but the wineries, hotels and B&Bs are providing plenty of activity.

While this winter is shaping up be kinder and gentler than last winter, the ground is still cold and hard. Vineyard managers and their crews are pulling on warm boots and hooded coats to battle the cold when pruning the vines. Old Man Winter is here to stay, at least for the next six weeks, and he is not so welcoming to the usual droves of wine-loving tourists swarming Main Road and Sound Avenue in the warmer weather.

But owners of wineries and local businesses aren’t twiddling their thumbs, waiting until it’s time for beach towels and swim trunks. They are fast at work brainstorming and teaming up to get this message to residents of western Long Island and the tri-state area: come on out to the North Fork.

Wine and all that Jazz

A major collaboration to lure tourists to the East End in winter is the Jazz on the Vine Winterfest concert series, now in its fifth year. In 2010, jazz performances at participating wineries were free. Last winter, wineries began charging customers $10 for admission to a concert, including a glass of wine.

The wineries were taking a gamble. Would the same number of customers come if they were charged a fee? The risk turned out to be worth it. A record 6,000 people bought tickets to the concerts, held during six weekends in February and March, and an estimated 10,000 people hit the East End during those weekends, according to Steve Bate, executive director of the Long Island Wine Council.

The Wine Council plans and promotes the wintertime event along with East End Arts and the Long Island Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“In the winter months, it’s just dead,” Mr. Bate said at a November 2011 planning and sponsorship-seeking meeting of winery and local business owners. “[Winterfest] really has created a new seasonal destination for this region.”

This year, 76 bands — up from 40 last year — will play shows at 20 wineries — up from. Hotel Indigo East End in Riverhead will host jazz jam sessions, called Live at the Indigo, on Saturday nights.

This year’s performers will be unmatched in quality, said Pat Snyder, executive director of East End Arts and the woman in charge of lining up performers.

She said the majority of artists have won or were nominated for Grammy awards, including Stephane Wrembel, who made the soundtrack for Woody Allen’s 2011 hit “Midnight in Paris” and will perform Feb. 11 at Bedell Cellars, and Papo Vazquez Pirates Troubadour, appearing Feb. 11 at Peconic Bay Winery. . Other big names are the David Amram Quartet, which will perform at Castello di Borghese on Feb. 12, and Nilson Matta, who is performing at Sparkling Pointe on the same day and has been called the greatest bass guitarist in the world.

Ms. Snyder said many big-name artists sought out the concert series. “The name Winterfest is getting around,” she said.

Vine University — The art of making wine is a winning winter activity

Along with Winterfest, another popular event is Vine University, a winemaking class and weekend getaway that has been featured on NBC’s morning television show, Today. The three-day package, offered from late February through September, includes a two-night stay at a North Fork Bed and Breakfast and all meals, including two breakfasts, two gourmet lunches and two dinners at top-rated North Fork restaurants.

Waters Crest Winery owner Jim Waters will instruct the winemaking class, which will result in 30 bottles of red or white wine for each participant to take home. A guest panel of three judges from different wineries will taste and score the homemade wine.

Wineries work with local hotels

Some wineries are partnering with local hotels to offer packages to attract winter customers. Hilton Garden Inn in Riverhead will be in cahoots with Pindar Vineyards to offer overnight stays and behind-the-scenes barrel tastings at the winery, in Peconic.

Over Valentine’s Day weekend, the Hilton Garden Inn and Pindar will offer a wine and chocolate pairing. The hotel will also join forces with Sannino Bella Vita Vineyard on Feb. 11 for a wine blending session for couples, who will also be able to do their own bottling and custom labeling.

“It’s important to team up with the wineries,” said Julie Mundell, a sales manager at Hilton Garden Inn. “They have what people are looking to see.”

Additional live performances during the winter months

Many wineries feature live music throughout the year, but a few are holding extra performances during January, February and March. Osprey’s Dominion Vineyards in Peconic, for example, is participating in Winterfest and will also hold separate performances to take advantage of the bump in traffic during Winterfest weekends.

“We’re looking to try to create any kind of traffic we can during the slow months,” said general manager Peter Carey.

Wölffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack will also offer more live music events, as well as Candelight Fridays, evenings with live music and mulled wine, a popular cold-weather beverage of red wine blended with spices, typically served warm.

Staffers light candles all around the winery and “we say come on in on a cold night and warm up to some hot jazz,” marketing director Judy Malone said.

Even horses are getting in on the act

Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard, which has a horse rescue operation on site, is teaming up with animal rescue organizations this winter and selling bottles of wine named after rescued horses. Twenty percent of the profit will go to a different organization, like the Brookhaven Animal Shelter or Responsible Solutions for Valued Pets, and the rest will be put toward the vineyard’s horse rescue activities.

Baiting Hollow merchandise, such as t-shirts and wine glasses, will also be discounted during the colder months. Activity at the winery will be business as usual though, co-owner Robert Rubin emphasized.

“We make our usual effort to have the red carpet rolled out,” he said, noting that the typical attractions — live music, face painting, pony rides for kids and vineyard tours — will still go on.

Bed and Breakfasts are offering food, wine tastings and tours

Some Bed and Breakfasts are brainstorming new ideas this season, too. Cedar House on Sound in Mattituck, an extension of Scarola Vineyard, was plan a Super Bowl party to tap into football fans, a less-targeted market for North Fork tourism.

“We’re trying to go outside the box a little bit and find other means,” Cedar House owner David Perrin said.

Mr. Perrin and his wife, Donna, planned to provide pizza for the big game. “It’s a small investment on our part and adds value to your stay,” Mr. Perrin said.

Harvest Inn Bed and Breakfast in Peconic is offering special packages, like Romantic January Escape and Food and Wine Lover Weekends from January through April. The Romantic January Escape includes a two-night stay at the inn, breakfasts, private wine and cheese tastings, a wine tasting 101 class and a tour and tasting at Castello di Borghese Winery and Vineyard in Cutchogue.

The Food and Wine Lover weekends include a two-night stay, a winter dinner prepared by chef and co-owner Christopher Augusta and a private wine tasting.

At The Coffey House Bed and Breakfast in East Marion, guests who stay at least two nights during the winter will get a $25 gift card to The Hellenic Snackbar and Restaurant just next door.

And don’t forget the breweries

Breweries aren’t inoculated against the slower traffic in the winter, but the guys at Greenport Harbor Brewing Company aren’t too concerned. The brewery’s main focus, head brewer DJ Swanson said, is production, not drawing customers to the tasting room. Out of the three days the brewery is open, at least one day stays hopping. “We still manage to stay pretty busy on Saturdays,” he said.

Greg Martin, co-owner of Long Ireland Beer Company, with a tasting room in Riverhead, said he doesn’t imagine the brewery’s business slows as much as the wineries’.

“We’re an indoor venue as opposed to the wineries, which are more geared to the outside, so it’s a little different for us,” he said.

He’s not too concerned either, because come St. Patrick’s Day, the brewery will be packed with beer-drinking revelers.

And on Feb. 4, the brewery is holding a fundraiser called Keep a Breast to raise money for breast cancer awareness in conjunction with the Long Island Roller Rebels, an all-female roller derby team.

The timing of the fundraiser should bring new faces and be good for business, he said. “Having an event here will bring people into the brewery to see it, taste and buy beer.”

02/19/12 8:00pm

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | A 5 lb.4 oz. wide mouth bass that Anthony Palumbo caught when he was 14 at Norway Lake in Maine. The skeleton is used for anatomical references in personal injury cases.

The only rehearsing going on nowadays in this former Mattituck theater involves courtroom drama.

In a building where 19th-century North Fork families once put on plays and operas, two trial lawyers now ply their trade as personal injury attorneys, giving a whole new meaning to the term “break a leg.”

The unique offices of attorneys William Goggins and Anthony Palumbo are located on the north side of Main Road in Mattituck, two doors east of the former Glenwood Hotel. The building was moved to its current location in 1920 from its former spot on the northwest corner of Love Lane and Pike Street. The moving was done with a windlass — a pulley apparatus used to drag heavy objects — since it was too heavy to be pulled by oxen.

SEE MORE PHOTOS OF THE OFFICE SPACE IN OUR REAL ESTATE SECTION

Mr. Goggins, 51, who has lived in Laurel since the age of 8, had eyed the building for a while. He first tried to purchase it in 1986 to open a restaurant but couldn’t agree on a price with the owner. Instead, he headed to law school.

He and Mr. Palumbo, 41, purchased the vacant building, which had once housed the popular Jim’s Diner, in 2006 and renovated it as their 21st-century law office. Inside the building, a network server, tucked in a cabinet in the back room, centralizes documents, calendars and billing and connects to smartphones and the office copy machine.

“I didn’t envision this in law school,” Mr. Palumbo said. “The technology enhanced exponentially when I got out.”

There are no remnants of the old theater’s stage, where members of local families with well-known names —  Wells, Moore, Reeve and Tuthill among them — performed in productions like “How She Cured Him,” “Bolts and Bars” and “Down by the Sea,” according to the Mattituck-Laurel Historical Society. But in a tribute to the region’s seafaring roots, the lawyers decorated the former community theater in a maritime theme.

In one room, a harpoon purchased from a local nautical store leans against a merlot-colored wall, adding to the ambiance.

In an adjacent conference room, nearly 700 law books line hunter green walls from floor to ceiling. The books stand side by side in the library’s original hand-made barrister bookcase with decorative dentil molding.

“That’s only one-fifth of my collection,” said Mr. Goggins, insisting that using the books is faster than searching the Internet. A long table built in the 1920s and plucked from Riverhead Free Library sits in the center of the room and a paneled window was installed at the top of the wall for privacy.

The seagoing theme continues in Mr. Palumbo’s office, where a five-pound bass Mr. Palumbo caught in Montauk hangs on a wall. In a small kitchen is a wormwood-framed burlap bag used for catching oysters, unearthed from the basement of the Glenwood Hotel, which Mr. Goggins used to own.

“We try to mix in the historical stuff,” Mr. Palumbo said.

Despite these nods to the past, the lawyers say staying abreast of modern technology is essential, since they work in a small office in a small town and compete with attorneys at giant Manhattan firms.

“I think lawyers [at smaller firms] are learning they need to keep up with the pace of technology,” Mr. Goggins said.

One of the office’s conference rooms is equipped with a 42-inch flat screen television, which the attorneys can use to video-conference with colleagues — and if there’s any downtime, maybe take in a show or two. Just like old times.

sbrix@timesreview.com

02/11/12 7:00am

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | River and Roots community garden founders Amy Davidson (left) does some weeding as Laurie Nigro and her daughter Rita, 7, harvest some spinach for a dinner salad as tempertures climbed to the low 60's last week..

Have your plants begun to bud? Is the kale in your vegetable garden already ready to harvest?

This winter’s unusually warm weather has caused plants, fruits and vegetables to bloom and grow faster than normal. Some will be just fine, experts assure. But some might be in danger.

Flower roots that are deep underground will likely be protected from aboveground temperatures, said Tamson Weh, a turf and land management specialist at Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Suffolk County.

“People panic when they see their bulbs are up,” she said. “If we have a cold snap and the tips get nipped and turn a little yellow, not to worry. The bulbs will be just fine.”

Front lawns, however, may take a bit of a beating. Ms. Weh said warmer winters like this one tend to cause dollar spot, a disease that turns tiny pockets of grass a shade of brown. In addition to discoloration, dollar spotting causes front lawns to be blanketed in the mornings with a white layer reminiscent of a spider web.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Rita Nigro, 7, pulled a bunch of carrots out of the garden bed last week.

Caroline Kiang, an extension educator in community horticulture at Cornell, said it’s probably too early to tell how plants will be affected by the season’s higher-than-average temperatures. Horticulturists can better predict how plants will fare when the end of winter nears, she said.

Her concern now, Ms. Kiang said, is for fruit crops. Flowers of fruits like apples and peaches that have already started to blossom could be killed if temperatures take a drastic dip.

“If the temperatures start to drop to normal temperatures for February here, those flowers might get killed and that would influence the yield of the fruit crops,” Ms. Kiang said, adding that vegetables don’t face much of a threat.

Laurie Nigro and Amy Davidson, founders of downtown Riverhead’s River and Roots Community Garden, were picking spinach, kale, posemary, thyme and parsley there last week under a sunny sky on a 62-degree day.

“The spinach should be dead, wilted and frozen,” Ms. Nigro said, kneeling over bountiful beds of the leafy greens. “But I’m going to pick some and bring it home tonight.”

Plants, fruits and vegetables alike could face challenges posed by the increased presence of pests who otherwise would be killed in the dead of winter. Pests likely to be most rampant are aphids, ticks and squash vine borers, she said, letting out a groan.

“Squash vine borers are the worst,” she said. “You think your plant’s growing and it’s fine and beautiful, and then, all of a sudden, it dies and you don’t know why. Then you see that the bug tore through the vine and killed it.”

To prevent catastrophes in case temperatures nosedive, Ms. Weh suggests residents give their gardens a quick sprinkle now, so they’ll have moisture. Otherwise, water already in the ground could freeze and be unable to reach plants.

She also said residents should seed bare areas of their lawns and be sure not to drive on the turf when the temperature is below freezing, as it could cause shearing.

Above all else, she said, gardeners shouldn’t adopt a false sense of security amid these sunny, February days. Gardeners shouldn’t, for example, be tempted to pull any protective mulch covers from their gardens. And they should be wary of pruning. Pruning can initiate new growth, which could easily die if it gets cold again.

“Chances are we’ll get another cold spell or two,” Ms. Weh said.

sbrix@timesreview.com

02/10/12 7:00pm

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | David Liebman and Lewis Porter perform at Raphael Vineyard in Peconic during a previous Long Island Winterfest event.

The weekend we’ve all been waiting for is finally here. The first performances in the 2012 Winterfest Jazz on the Vine concert series will be held this Saturday and Sunday at participating wineries and Hotel Indigo East End in Riverhead.

Performances include Papo Vazquez Pirates Troubadour at Peconic Bay Winery, Stephane Wrembel at Bedell Cellars, and the David Amram Quartet at Castello di Borghese. See a complete calendar of performances here.

There are 71 concerts set for this year, the most concerts in the series’ 5-year history.

Some 6,000 people flocked to the East End for last year’s concerts, and Winterfest organizers expect that number to grow this year. Tickets to all Winterfest concerts are $15 and include a glass of wine.

Pay attention to the backs of your tickets, where you’ll find a raffle stub for a chance to win a free night at an East End hotel with a gift basket of Long Island wines.

EVENTS

FRIDAY

Shinn Estate Vineyards, Mattituck. Palm readings with Joan Bernhardt in the tasting room, 5-8 p.m. $20; $5 for a glass of wine.

Peconic Bay Winery, Cutchogue. Game Night. Play games with your friends and get 2-for-1 glasses of wine.

Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center, Riverhead. ChocoVino. A chocolate and wine pairing five-course dinner. $150 per couple. Call aquarium to reserve. $250 per couple including overnight stay accomodations at Hyatt Place East End.

SATURDAY

Martha Clara Vineyards, Riverhead. Long Island Comedy Festival featuring host Paul Anthony, George Rini from the New York City comedy scene and Frankie Pace of HBO and SNL. $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Tickets available at marthaclaravineyards.com.

Comtesse Therese Bistro, Aquebogue. Red wine and dark chocolate pairing, 2-3 p.m. $40 per person. RSVP.

Diliberto Winery, Jamesport. Instructional Wine Class, every Saturday 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with tastings and Neapolitan-style pizza lunch. $45 per person, RSVP.

Duckwalk Vineyards, Southold. Celebrate Valentine’s, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Complimentary fine chocolates with tasting or wine purchase.

Sherwood House Vineyards, Jamesport. Valentine’s ‘Fond of You’ Fondue Party. Chocolate fondue and 2004 Merlot for two. $30 per couple. 1-3 p.m. RSVP.

SUNDAY

Martha Clara Vineyards, Riverhead. Vines and Canines Vineyard Walk, Valentine’s Day Theme. Bring your dog down for a walk through the vineyards with winemaker Juan Micieli-Martinez and his dog, Satchmo. Donations of non-perishable dog and cat foods and lightly-used pet supplies will be accepted.

Martha Clara Vineyards, Riverhead. Wine Education Series: Wine and Chocolate with Chip n’ Dipped. Three 45-minute sessions starting at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. $25, $20 for wine club members. Tickets available at marthaclaravineyards.com.

Diliberto Winery, Jamesport. ‘Sunday Dinner with Grandma,’ every Sunday except Feb. 19, 1-3 p.m. The art of preparing a three-course Italian dinner with food demonstration and wine pairing. $29 per person. RSVP.

Laurel Lake Vineyards, Laurel. Wine and chocolate pairing class, 1-2 p.m. $30 per person. RSVP.

SATURDAY AND SUNDAY

Clovis Point, Valentine’s chocolate and wine pairings, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday. $20 for flight and chocolates, $10 for wine club members.

FRIDAY, SATURDAY AND SUNDAY

Peconic Bay Winery, Cutchogue. ‘Free Tasting February.’ Sample give selected Nautique and estate-grown wines at no charge between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily during February (except during special events).

Sannino Bella Vita Vineyard, Peconic. Wine and international chocolate tastings. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in February from 12-5 p.m. $15.

LIVE MUSIC

FRIDAY

Castello di Borghese, Cutchogue. 6-9 p.m. Cabaret and wine with Marguerite Volonts.

 

Jamesport Vineyards, Fireside Fridays, 5:30-9 p.m., Main Rd., Jamesport.

Wölffer Estate Vineyard, 5-8 p.m., Candlelight Fridays, Sagg Rd., Sagaponack.

Bedell Cellars, 1-5 p.m., Main Rd., Cutchogue.

Sherwood House Vineyards, 4-8 p.m. Live music with Paul Helbig. Main Road, Jamesport.

SATURDAY

Osprey’s Dominion Vineyards, Live music with the East End Trio. Valentine’s gift dessert and jewelry booths. 1:30-5:30 p.m., Main Rd., Peconic.

Palmer Vineyards, Live music with Todd ‘The Guitarman’ Grossman with flight tastings, new releases, chocolate truffles and New York cheese. 1-4 p.m., Main Road, Riverhead.

Martha Clara Vineyards, Live music with Mudpuppy, 2-5 p.m., Sound Ave., Riverhead.

Paumanok Vineyards, Live music: flute and guitar by Serenade Duo. 2-5 p.m., Main Rd., Aquebogue.

Sherwood House Vineyards, Live music with JONNI, 2-6 p.m. Main Rd., Jamesport.

Pindar Vineyards, Live music with Tommy Sullivan, 1-5 p.m. Main Rd., Peconic.

Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard, Live music with Shotgun, 2-6 p.m. Sound Ave., Baiting Hollow.

Sannino Bella Vita Vineyard, Live music with Bob Blatchley, 1-5 p.m. Peconic Ln., Peconic.

SUNDAY

Clovis Point, Jamesport. 1:30-4:30 p.m., Main Rd., Jamesport.

Peconic Bay Winery, Live music with Gene Casey, 1-5 p.m. Main Rd., Cutchogue.

Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard, Live music with Denice Given and Conrad Taylor, 2-6 p.m. Sound Ave., Baiting Hollow.

Martha Clara Vineyards, 2-5 p.m. Live music with Keith Maguire. Sound Ave., Riverhead.

Bedell Cellars, 2-5 p.m. Live music with King Scallop Ensemble (Jazz on the Half Shell).

SATURDAY AND SUNDAY

Sherwood House Vineyards, 2-6 p.m., Fireside Fridays and glass specials, Main Rd., Jamesport.

Jamesport Vineyards, 1-5 p.m., Main Rd., Jamesport

Sannino Bella Vita Vineyard, 1-5 p.m., Peconic Lane, Peconic.

Martha Clara Vineyards, 2-5 p.m., Sound Ave., Riverhead.

Peconic Bay Winery, 1-5 p.m., Main Rd., Cutchogue.

Pugliese Vineyards, 2-6 p.m., Main Rd., Cutchogue.

WINEMAKERS WALKS

Sunday

Castello di Borghese, Winemaker’s Walk, 1 p.m. Guided tour of the winery and production facility and tasting, $20. Route 48, Cutchogue. Reservations, 734-5111,castellodiborghese.com.

Shinn Estate Vineyards, Vineyard Walk, 1:30 p.m., Barbara Shinn explains the vines’ growing cycle and the organic and biodynamic farming methods used to grow Shinn Estate wine. $12.50 includes wine tasting. Oregon Rd., Mattituck. Reservations 804-0367, shinnestatevineyards.com.

Saturday and Sunday

Sannino Bella Vita Vineyard, VIP Vine to Wine Tour: Tour of winery, mini viticulture and winemaking lesson and wine tasting. 1 p.m., $20. Peconic Ln., Peconic. Reservations, (631) 734-8282.

Wineries: If you’d like us to include your event, please e-mail Samantha Brix at sbrix@timesreview.com.

02/08/12 10:30am

SAMANTHA BRIX PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River school board president Bill McGrath and trustee Richard Pluschau. School officials presented a proposed school budget for next school year with a tax levy increase of 1.75 percent at the district's first budget workshop meeting Tuesday night.

Next school year’s planned budget at Shoreham-Wading River maintains all of the programs and services in place this school year and raises the tax levy just 1.75, safely beneath the state-mandated 2 percent tax levy cap.

School officials proposed a nearly $62.4 million budget for the upcoming school year at the district’s first budget workshop meeting Tuesday night. The proposed budget is 3.98 percent higher than this school year’s budget.

“We’re presenting a budget that supports all of our programs by asking the community to support a tax levy increase of 1.75,” superintendent Steven Cohen said.

It’s estimated that the district plans to pull $2 million from its reserves this year — twice as much as last year — to close gaps between the proposed budget and spending increases in line items. Though specific line items weren’t presented Tuesday, school officials noted that the biggest chunk of the budget will come from employee salaries and benefits.

Board members discussed adding new services next school year like clubs, field trips and foreign language classes in the elementary schools, hiring additional security guards and creating a capital project budget line for a high school roof repair, which Glen Arcuri, director of finance and operations, called a “high-need item.”

They also suggested adding a capital project budget line for technology, since the state education department is imposing new technology requirements for the 2014-15 school year.

“To satisfy the new technology requirements in ’14-’15, let’s start making upgrades now,” board president Bill McGrath said. “I think that’d be more of a practical process.”

Board members and school officials will further discuss additions to the proposed budget before adding a capital project budget line.

“I think we have a very good starting point here,” Mr. McGrath said.

sbrix@timesreview.com

SAMANTHA BRIX FILE PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River superintendent Steven Cohen and school board president Bill McGrath.

The season of planning school budgets is upon us.

The Shoreham-Wading River school board will hold its first budget workshop of the year tonight.

School officials will present projections for building programs and enrollment in the 2012-13 school year as well as an outline of a rollover budget, or a budget needed to support all of the programs and services in place this school year.

The workshop will take place tonight at 8 p.m. in the high school library. Scroll down to view a complete agenda of tonight’s meeting.

SWR Feb. 7 Budget Workshop