Wednesday, February 6, 2008
When the Fair-Weather Sippers Disappear, Wineries Try Jazz
LAST year more than a million visitors flocked to the wineries on the East End of Long Island, watching the bud break on the vines in May, the clusters of grapes swelling along the wire trellises in summer and the harvest come fall. They crowded into tasting rooms, sipping cabernet franc, chardonnay and merlot.
Though most of the wineries are open year round, come winter — pruning season in the vineyards — traffic slows to a trickle.
For winery owners like Ann Marie Borghese of Castello di Borghese in Cutchogue, the bills keep piling up.
“In the summer it’s easy to come,” Ms. Borghese said. “You need to have something to entice the people out into the winter cold of the East End.”
Along with offering winemaker walks and tours of the fermentation room, Ms. Borghese pairs culture with fine wine. Her converted 1949 potato barn includes an art and photography gallery and tasting room, where fine food and olive oil tastings, operas and concerts are staged.
During the winter doldrums, she and her counterparts are adding the smooth sounds of jazz.
Castello di Borghese is one of 21 wineries heralding a stepped-up effort by the Long Island Wine Council, the East End Arts Council, Suffolk County and the Long Island Convention and Visitors Bureau to turn the Long Island Culture and Wine Winterfest, now in its fourth year, into a jazz festival.More than 50 acts are booked over a five-week period; at Borghese they include Ahmad Ali, singer and guitarist, on Feb. 16, Paul Ferguson, guitarist and keyboardist, on March 1 and Mark Yodice, solo guitarist,