Adam was first introduced to the world of wine in the early eighties by his Dad, who was an avid wine enthusiast and member of the New York Chapter of the International Wine and Food Society. It was at the Wine and Food Society, during tastings of the great wine estates of Bordeaux and Burgundy, Germany, Spain, and Italy, where Adam caught the “wine bug” and decided to pursue a career in the wine industry.
After graduating from Cornell University with a BS in Plant Science in 1985, Adam worked a season in the vineyard with Fred Frank at the Villa Banfi vineyard in Old Brookville, NY. From there he tried his hand in wine sales and marketing, working the counter at the venerable wine shop Sherry Lehman in Manhattan and then later for a wine-importer specializing in Spanish and South American wines.
Deciding that life as a salesman on the road was not for him, Adam worked as a waiter/bartender for five years while taking up residence in Brooklyn, NY. In 1992, Adam restarted his career by enrolling as a graduate student in the enology program at UC Davis in California where he also worked harvests at Trefethen Vineyards, Piper-Sonoma and Chateau Lafite-Rothschild. Adam received his MS degree from UC Davis in 1996. With the help of his mentor, Peter Sichel, Adam landed a job at Franciscan Vineyards as an assistant winemaker.
On a career track to be a Napa winemaker, fate and Adam’s Dad intervened to lure Adam to Long Island where he became winemaker at Gristina Vineyards in 1998. Shortly after the sale of Gristina in 2000, Adam moved on to Osprey’s Dominon Vineyards and has been their winemaker ever since. In 2008 Adam started his own label Coffee Pot Cellars and together with his wife Laura Klahre and her business, Blossom Meadow Farm, opened a tasting room in Cutchogue in 2013.
What are the unique characteristics of your winemaking style?
Minimalist, traditionalist, non-interventionist, I have largely abandoned modern winemaking technology in favor of classical techniques. My focus is on execution in the vineyard. If we get it right before the grapes arrive at the winery, then the winemaking approach is straightforward.
Describe the relationship between the Long Island wine community and the agriculture, aquaculture and overall East End culinary culture.
As a dedicated foodie, nothing gives me greater satisfaction than being able to drive up and down the North Fork and source high quality locally produced farm products to put on my table together with the wine that I make. There is a real revolution going on out here in terms of the diversity of what’s available now compared to even five years ago, not to mention a great collection of new restaurants dedicated to the farm to table experience.
In your opinion, what foods are paired best with the wines of Long Island?
Seared Peconic Bay Scallops – Sauvignon Blanc
Browder’s Birds Roast Chicken – Chardonnnay
Sang Lee Farm Baby Bok Choy Garlic Ginger Stir-Fry – Gewurztraminer
Crescent Farms Duck Leg Confit – Merlot
Locally Hunted Venison Medallions with Gastrique of Oyster Ponds Farms
Blackberrys – Meritage
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