Peconic Bay Vineyards is back!
Or rather should we say Peconic Bay Vineyards has arrived? The property formerly known as Peconic Bay Winery reopened in 2021 after an eight-year closure. Not only is the tasting room fully open but the property is back under the watchful eye and care of winemaker Greg Grove who previously made the wines for Peconic Bay Winery.
Grove and his staff are actively repairing and preparing all their acreage on the North Fork. With multiple grape-growing properties, Peconic Bay has the fourth most land of any vineyard on Long Island, behind Pindar, Wölffer, and Macari.
Owned by the Soloviev Group, they have vineyard locations up and down Routes 25 and 48. But the most interesting has to be their original plot in Cutchogue, where the tasting room is. For zero winemaking purposes and simply because at the time they weren’t aware, the vines at 31320 Main Road are planted in an east-to-west orientation. Traditionally all vines you’ll see are planted north-to-south to get the plants the most sunlight and become as ripe as possible.
It’s not the only challenge Grove has faced. When Peconic Bay was not producing wines for themselves, their renters treated the vines poorly. This has led to replanting and limited production as PBV whips production back up again. Recently they had to pull out Cabernet Franc vines because of disease, but there is no concern it will affect their other vines on the properties.
PBV is producing award-winning wines including a stainless steel and barrel-aged Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling Viognier, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec. Additionally, they have a Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine and a Rosé.
Their Riesling is a standout. It has a distinctive note of petrol on the nose that top producers from around the globe aim for. There’s no exact science as to why theirs develops that way but match it with racing acidity, and notes of grapefruit and sage, this off-dry style not only has the potential to age but should not be shied away from sipping on during the peak of the summer heat.
Grove has been a North Fork winemaker since almost the start. He has a degree in chemistry and biology and used it to start a career at Columbia University. After four years he decided to leave and in 1985 he sent six resumes to the six wineries located on the North Fork. Who else hired him other than Alex Hargrave. Grove bounced from the Hargraves to work at Pindar and then started up what was Laurel Lake, but he was only there for two years until he became the winemaker at Peconic Bay in 1999 where he remained until 2013 when they became non-operational.
Now with the new ownership comes new territory for Grove. New territory means new grapes, new wines to be made. As we’ve spoken with other wineries on the Fork it seems that the highlight of no growth restrictions from the North Fork AVA allows for our winemakers to become creative in what they want to plant. Osprey’ss Dominion has Carmenere, One Woman is growing Dolcetto, Lieb and Suhru grow Teroldego, and Palmer is known for their Albarińo. So what is up with Grove at Peconic Bay? Everything. They’re planning on Pinot Blanc and Muscat along with other small batches that they will produce for wine club members. Grove also gets to experiment with different clones of grapes including two for Sauvignon Blanc, and he gets to grow what he likes. Expect Albariño and Syrah from them as well!
It might be odd to call a vineyard that’s been planted since the 1980s to be described as the fastest-growing one on the North Fork, but there really is a renaissance going on. They have a revitalized tasting room with a terrific outdoor space. More grapes planted means more wines produced. The menu might be small now but there’s high expectations for what Peconic Bay can do to to put the North Fork on the map more than it already is.
It’s a beautiful time to be involved in the local vineyards and viniculture. As the region celebrates its 50th anniversary, it continues to grow larger. Although it might make traffic a little tough sometimes it’s worth a trade-off to see the region continue to thrive. Hence why we place an emphasis on promoting the North Fork. Next time you’re in the shop don’t just breeze by our local section right up front. We’ll help you find something you’ll like. You already live here, why not enjoy it for all that it's worth.