He does a nice job introducing the endeavor...which has come of often when I've spoken to winemakers and winery owners. People tend to feel very strongly about the LIMA...on both sides.
I've written before that I'm not sold on pushing merlot as "the region's flagship wine" mostly because I'm not sure that all of the best wines here are merlot or that the one-varietal push is what Long Island needs to stand out. Proponents point to Oregon starting as a "pinot noir region"...opponents say that those in favor of this approach are self-serving because their vineyards are filled with merlot vines already -- it's what they've invested in.
I know that the LIMA alliance has its roots in quality standards...then it started to become more of a "marketing push" and that it's changed again since I last had a detailed discussion with anyone about it. Bedell Cellars isn't the only big-time merlot maker here that has backed out (Lenz Winery comes to mind as well). So, this issue warrants further investigation (which I plan to do).
Before I can really comment on either side, I want to better understand what the true purpose is. If it's a quality-focused initiative (which is something I can get behind) that also pushes for better farming practices (another great thing) I'm for it.
I do share Charles Massoud's concerns about ignoring LI's diversity, however.
I wonder (out loud) if this initiative has anything to do with the relative ineffectiveness of the Long Island Wine Council in its efforts to promote the region.