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This month, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Shelby Hearn Ulrich, the general manager and partner at Suhru, to delve into the brand's evolution and its exciting present. Since 2008, Suhru has been owned by Susan and Russell Hearn, a family-run winery that now proudly includes Shelby and her husband, Brad Ulrich, who serves as the assistant winemaker. In a significant development last year, Suhru welcomed new partners, John and Renee Fondacaro, as they acquired the esteemed Lieb Cellars brand, along with its tasting room and 54-acre vineyard in Cutchogue.

This acquisition marks a new chapter for both Suhru and Lieb, now fully owned and operated by the people who personally strive to see the Long Island region flourish. Rest assured, the hallmark quality Suhru drinkers have come to expect will continue under this meticulous stewardship.

At Suhru, the winery currently offers an array of 11 wines, ranging from sparkling to rosé, whites to red blends, each crafted with dedication and care. We are fortunate at Vintage Mattituck to currently carry six of their wines, including the newly released 2023 Rosé, 2022 Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc, and 2021 Shiraz, Cabernet Franc, and Teroldego.

Notably absent from our current lineup is their flagship wine, La Crescent. Described as refreshing, bright, and approachable, La Crescent stands out as a single varietal white with its “dynamic fruit notes and a big burst of flavor.” It’s a hybrid varietal developed at the University of Minnesota that has shown promise in the cooler climate of the Northeast. For me, this is a perfect example of what Suhru has become and will continue to be. The future of Long Island wine might not be the typical go-tos of Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay; it might just be plantings like La Crescent or Albariño or Gruner Veltliner.

On the day I spoke with Shelby, they were expecting a delivery of 1,000 new vines to the property, showing Suhru’s commitment to innovation and exploration. While most of the vines will be for upkeep and additional plantings of their top varietals like Sauvignon Blanc, they're also excited to expand their vineyard holdings and explore new varietals. You can expect to be tasting brand new wines on the North Fork in the coming years. Suhru is in development for a new North Fork red wine varietal that has seen a lot of success in the Finger Lakes. Initial plantings through work with the Cornell Cooperative Extension Grape Program have returned more than promising results.

As Suhru continues to evolve, some wines that are already shared by Suhru and Lieb will be merged under a single bottling, while others will retain their distinct identities—La Crescent being one of them—and Lieb’s Pinot Blanc. Their commitment to wine education remains unwavering, with ongoing classes at their tasting room designed to introduce enthusiasts to new wines and styles. Mark your calendars for June 2nd, when they'll be hosting a comparative Rosé tasting—tickets available on their website.

One thing that will change is where they host these events. The Suhru Tasting House in Cutchogue will close this fall, as they consolidate their tasting experiences at the Lieb tasting room on Oregon Road. Here, customers will have the opportunity to experience side-by-side comparisons of Suhru and Lieb wines, showcasing the unique character of each brand despite them being from the same winemakers.

There's much to celebrate at Suhru, particularly their exceptional wines. To learn more, check out my tasting notes below and be sure to join us on May 24th from 3-6pm when we’ll have Suhru in house for a tasting. See you there!


2023 Rose
Pale orange-pink toned rosé unlike many of the other Long Island rosés this year. On the nose there’s bright crunchy strawberries with a peachy and citrusy backbone. A dry but not a high acid Provencal-styled rosé. Perfect wine for leafy salads with acidic dressing. Strawberries and local goat cheese would be divine.

2022 Pinot Grigio
Pale lemon color. Lemon, pear, slight green apple on the nose. It’s light, bright, and a touch of effervescence carries through. There’s a notable floral background on this wine. Very clean and easy to sip and one can certainly put down multiple glasses with ease. Additional notes of yellow apple skin and canary melon as well.

2022 Sauvignon Blanc
Reminds me of a sugar topped pink grapefruit but this wine isn’t sweet. Lemon rind, peach skin, and nectarine too. Getting hints of lavender on this too. Not overtly acidic but remains dry. At only 12.5% alcohol, it’s very enjoyable to sip. Finish is smooth and long.

2021 Shiraz
A light-bodied red with loads of crunchy red and black fruits followed by a wonderful herbaceousness that brings proper structure and depth. So versatile and should be properly chilled before serving. A unique North Fork gem and one of my favorites. Drink year round. Don’t be afraid to serve this with a fresh catch from the Long Island Sound or Peconic Bay Scallops.

2021 Teroldego
A varietal hailing from Northern Italy, now unique to Suhru and Lieb. It is quite earthy and exudes North Fork terroir on the nose. Plenty of black cherry on the tongue. Needs some air to open up its fruit some more. This wine reminds me of the reds from the Loire Valley. Take pairing inspiration from the French and go with duck and root vegetables. Perfect with mushrooms or truffle as well. Try baked brie too. A true example of the light and fresh style Long Island reds can and should be.

2021 Cabernet Franc
Your fullest and most tannic red from the Suhru lineup we carry. For those looking for a lip smacking red with ripe tannins that make you salivate this is for you. Classic varietal notes of red fruits, peppery spice and an earthy finish. Another example of classic Long Island Cabernet Franc. Wild flowers, wild berries, savory herbs.