* If you've driven by their tasting room on Main Road in Southold, you've probably noticed that Bedell Cellars is sporting a new logo. I always liked the old logo, but the new one is simple, clean and somewhat modern — and seems more in line with the design of their tasting room.
* On October 1, Bedell will also release the latest member of its Artist's Series family of wines — 2005 Gallery. The wine is a blend of chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and viognier. The label was designed by artist Ross Bleckner and only 200 cases were made. Many of those bottles will be sold to their wine club, so get some if you can.
* Osprey's Dominion Vineyards is celebrating its success at the recent 2006 Atlantic Seaboard Vinifera Wine Competition. Their 2002 Reserve Merlot was the most successful Long Island entrant, winning "Best Merlot" and "Best of Show."
* This fall, keep an eye out for two new tasting rooms — one for Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard and one from Diliberto Winery. Baiting Hollow's room will be on Sound Avenue while Sal and Maryann Diliberto will open theirs on Manor Lane in Jamesport. Manor Lane is a little off the wine trail, but the wines are worth the detour.
* Are you a fan of ABC's The Bachelor? Visit Castello di Borghese this fall and enjoy their "Taste to Romance Tasting." Marco and Ann Marie Borghese put the tasting together to celebrate the fact that their cousin, Prince Lorenzo Borghese, will be looking for his princess on The Bachelor: Rome.
* I've written about the Long Island Merlot Alliance before, and I'm happy to say that the member wineries have finally released their first co-produced wine, Merliance 2004. It sells for $35 per bottle and much of that money goes towards merlot education and research on the East End. Pick up a bottle or twelve at any member tasting room — Wolffer Estate, Sherwood House Vineyards, Pellegrini Vineyards, Shinn Estate Vineyards and Raphael.
* The 2004 vintage of my favorite Long Island dessert wine, Macari Vineyards' Block E, will be released in coming weeks. Look for it the next time you visit Macari for some of the best vineyard views around.
* Christopher Watkins, former manager of The Tasting Room on Peconic Lane has taken over the tasting room at Roanoke Vineyards. This poet and former professional musician and brings plenty of knowledge — and a unique perspective — to the Roanoke team. His wife, Amy Marinelli, has also joined the Waters Crest Winery tasting room staff.
* Last, but far from least — Lenz Winery's winemaker Eric Fry has released his 2001 Old Vines Merlot. 2001 was a banner year and while Kip Bedell is Mr. Merlot, you could call Fry the Merlot Maestro. This is an age-worthy merlot that may prove to be a benchmark wine for the region.