09/01/12 12:03pm
09/01/2012 12:03 PM
Lieb, Craft restaurants

GIANNA VOLPE PHOTO | Lieb Cellars director of sales John Morales (from left), advertising consultant Peter Pace and owner Mark Lieb in front of the the new ‘Vineyard’ tasting room.

Something new is coming to the North Fork — and fall Wine Country visitors won’t have to wait long before it’s open to the public.

Lieb Cellars is days away from opening a second tasting room. This one is in a big red barn on Oregon Road in Cutchogue, abutting the winery’s vines and overlooking a sunflower field. The other tasting room is away from the vineyard, in Mattituck.

“Hopefully we’ll be open within the next week at the most,” owner Mark Lieb said Friday. “I’m very happy. This is something we’ve wanted for a long time. We built this building years ago. It’s a beautiful spot.”

The building, which features a patio, tasting room, conference room, offices and cold storage for wine, is a place Mr. Lieb said is not only nice to have, but has become necessary, as the business needed to add office space and provide more elbow room for Wine Country visitors.

“The offices needed to be expanded because we’re growing the business significantly,” he said.

Expansions include a partnership with restaurateur, celebrity chef and five-time James Beard award-winner Tom Colicchio, who chose Lieb Cellar’s pinot blanc for a private label sparkling wine called Craft by Lieb Cellars, Brut Blanc de Blancs. Mr. Colicchio is the founder of Craft and Colicchio & Sons restaurants, including Craftsteak at nearby Foxwoods Resort & Casino.

“The wine will be sold exclusively in Craft restaurants and the Lieb tasting rooms,” said director of sales John Morales.

Mr. Morales is responsible for some of Lieb’s largest clients, which now include Citifield, where two of Lieb Cellars wines are sold by the glass, and Terminal Five at John F. Kennedy airport, where Lieb is the only North Fork winery represented.

“It was hard selling Long Island wine in the beginning,” said Mr. Morales, who has been with Lieb Cellars for 12 years. “Tom [Colicchio] and one of his restaurants, Craft, were one of the first places to really open their doors to the local wine scene. There’s still some hurdles, such as Nassau County, but we’re extremely strong in the Hamptons and pride ourselves on New York City.”

Between the new partnership with Mr. Colicchio, the new tasting room and a mention this month in The New York Times (along with Lenz Winery) for having one of the 12 greatest American wines under $20, the team at Lieb Cellars is looking forward to a great year.

“You’ve got the sunflowers across the street, you’ve got Long Island Sound right over there,” Mr. Lieb said from the new tasting room’s patio. “I think it’s going to be a hot spot this fall.”

gvolpe@timesreview.com