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September 27, 2005

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I don’t want to see Long Island pigeonholed/promoted as just a merlot producing region. If that happens over time, so be it. (Nature took its course and the market made its choice.) But to do it purposefully and short circuit the evolution of a wine region and market seems like a bad idea to me. I hope that’s not what LIMA is all about, but it sure seems that way.

Bill:

I share your concern. I'd hate to see LI pigeonholed that way as well. It is considered the "safe bet" though...becuase it ripens well (and consistently)...

Seems a bit odd to promote a grape that is losing popularity..no?

As I learn more about the LIMA...I'll definitely pass along what they are about...both what they SAY they are about and what they are really about.

I agree with Bill on this one. My favorite LI wines are chardonnays and other whites, and to me at least the reds are pretty underwhelming.

Anyway, as an emerging wine region, LI sure would be premature in hanging its hat on one signature grape.

You do have to love some of LI's chards (along with some of the sauv blancs).

What are some of your faves, Terry?

Over here in the Finger Lakes, we're known as a Riesling region (mostly self-identified). We don't have the best environment for reds but actually produce some really nice ones. A lot of folks don't even bother with them, though, because of the Riesling label. Of all the LI wines I've tried, I don't think any of them have been Merlot.

"Seems a bit odd to promote a grape that is losing popularity..no?"

Not at all. Many businesses will promote vigorously in an attempt to buoy shrinking sales and then continue at a reduced, but steady pace to assure long term viability of their product. This is a perfectly normal business practice and something the LIWC should be doing (easier said than done though) for Long Island wine.

The LIMA is troublesome for a couple of reasons: Its formation seems to indicate weakening relationships in an otherwise united Long Island wine industry, and it threatens to stereotype the region by promoting only merlot.

The end result is anyone’s guess, but this will be very interesting to watch.

Lenn - thanks for posting the info. I think some people might get more information by visiting our website at longislandmerlot.com
You can see what we're about. I'm proud to say we are the first Quality Alliance to be established on Long Island and yes we are all about improving practices, both in the vineyard and wine cellar.

This is a model for the wine industry that is in fact, quite old. Most regions in the world that are known for fine production are also known to have a signature varietal. you know the list. New Zealand is a case in point. Before the name Sauvignon Blanc reached anyone's lips, not many people heard about or tasted wines from NZ. Sauvignon Blanc makes up only about 29% of NZ's overall wine production and yet the SB is the "engine that drives the train."

The result of the Alliance I believe, will be higher quality wines for our all consumers to enjoy.

Richard,

Your NZ point is an excellent one. I think if I had to come out on any "side" right now, I'd say I'm for the LIMA.

I like the focus on quality and the focus on better vineyard/farming practices. I'm curious to see how it all plays out going forward.

Thanks for the comment

Dear Lenn:Thank you for the interest in LIMA of which Sherwood House Vineyards is a member.As Richard Harbich has already noted, this is an alliance designed to set high quality standards in both the vineyard and winery.As you noted in your June 24th, 2005 article, on Sherwood House you gave high and equal accolades for both our Merlot and our Chardonnay. In fact, even though we are a member of LIMA we have planted & produced more Chardonnay.

In Burgundy,the best white wines in the world are produced(Puligny -Montrachet,Batard-Montrachet etc. using the Chardonnay grape. One could make a case that the best red wines are also produced (Romanee-Conti etc.) using the pinot noir grape. Thus more than one varietal of wines can be produced providing the standards of production are high.That is what we are clearly aiming for at LIMA,not the endorsement of a grape varietal only.

Charles Sherwood Smithen

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