Tour enough wineries (and trust me this Pearl has) and it becomes harder and harder for them to surprise you. On a recent visit to Long Island’s North and South Fork, I expected to find more of the same. Some met my expectations of the traditional wine tasting experience. Others proved to be innovative and exciting experiences. But one winery proved to be completely surprising – Channing Daughters.
The layout is simple and casual and at first glance you may make the same mistake I did – of viewing it as ordinary. But Channing Daughters is far from ordinary. Our host Anthony was a blast and his partner behind the bar, Stacy, was delightful. Anthony immediately shook up my perspective with his passionate storytelling and knowledge of the area and the wines.
The Carpenter’s Son. Channing Daughters was founded by Walter Channing. His goal in starting the winery was conservation – a way to preserve the land from over development. With 130 acres to his name, he has certainly accomplished his goal. Though Walter has passed, his touch is still on the winery. His wood working is featured throughout the tasting room and the logo stemmed from his inspiration.
A Team of Visionaries. Wine makers Chris and Allison Tracy have continued on with Walter’s vision. I had the opportunity to meet Chris and it’s easy to see he is passionate about the wine he produces and the land it grows from.
The winery takes much inspiration from the growing season in the Northern region of Italy, which matches the South Fork region in climate and length. Long Island is most known for Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc. Channing Daughters produces these varietals, but is not defined by them. They believe in planting what the area supports, including many “off the beaten path” Italian grape varietals (you won’t find many names listed here simply because I could not pronounce or spell them. Sorry not sorry.)
Inspiration from the Past. In addition to varietals, they also take much inspiration from old world planting styles. Time out for a small history lesson: traditional Italian winemakers would plant grapes as they traded them. The rows were not defined by varietals but rather were blends. This field blend method means planting multiple varietals in the same section of the vineyard, which is why you’ll see many of Channing Daughter’s wines contain upwards of five varietals at a time. This style of planting promoted cross pollination, blending, and produces very unique wines.
Channing Daughters likes to experiment with their wine production. Chris uses old style production to produce his Orange Wines. He created his Over and Over wine using older wine poured over fermented fruit. And he created seasonal vermouth from locally grown botanicals. As another winemaker commented, he certainly likes to “push the envelope” and we all get to reap the benefits.
A Focus on Wine. Channing Daughters is all about the wine. There is no patio with food and live music. There are no weddings held there or line of event after event. They host three wine club events a year and an in-depth wine education class hosted by the wine maker. Otherwise, they keep their focus on creating and experimenting with great wines.
A Pearl’s Opinion. Channing Daughter’s wines were all pretty interesting. It’s hard to pick one favorite with such a diverse palate to choose from. I personally went home with their Romato, an orange Pinot Grigio that was copper in color and lots of honey in the nose. Orange wines are not for everyone, but if you haven’t tried them yet they are worth the investigation. For more information, check out my blog on Orange Wines here! And in this Pearls Opinion, Channing Daughter’s is certainly worth the investigation as well!