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The Old Field Vineyards
by
Kathy Sullivan

Old Field VineyardsSummary: The Old Field Vineyards, located at the far end of North Fork, provides an authentic, rustic tasting room experience. Planting vineyards and starting a winery helped to keep the family farm in the family. When visiting the tasting room, be sure to ask about the history of the farm.

The Old Field Vineyards winery and vineyard is owned and managed by Christopher Baiz, his wife Rosamond and two adult children, Perry and Ryan. The name dates back to the 1600s when the colonists began to keep records and parcels in this area were identified as “The Old Field.”

Christopher is a combination of serious and fun. He began the conversation, “A long time ago, far far away....” Chris goes on to describe the property previous to his grandmother purchasing the land. The largest Native American group in this area lived on this property early on. While planting vineyards Christopher discovered fire pits with shells. More recently he discovered remnants of a lodge 40 feet down. For obvious reasons he does not disclose the location of these finds.

Located on the east end of Long Island’s North Fork, The Old Field winery and vineyard has been in the family since 1918 when Chris’ great grandmother purchased the land. Eventually Christian Baiz and his wife Rosamond Phelps were able to purchase the property. Chris noted, “The idea was to try to save the family farm.”

Christopher with a background in geology, worked in the drilling industry doing oceanographic work. Every two months he was on sea duty and then returned for two months on land. He heard that “hippy” farmers were planting vineyards rather than potatoes in the North Fork.

Old Field VineyardsIn 1974 Chris planted a small vineyard and in the early 1980s he purchased some farmland and started a Pinot Noir vineyard. He sold some grapes and kept others to make wine. In 1996, Chris and Rosamond were able to purchase the current property from his grandmother’s estate. The land laid fallow for one year and in 1997 he began planting vineyards. Currently the vineyard consists of 10 acres and includes Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Another piece of property has two acres of Pinot Noir. For their wine portfolio they purchase Chardonnay grapes from four miles away.

The vineyards benefit from being close to the water. However, Chris noted that the soil was very good and needs to use techniques to slow the growth of the vines. Deer have been a problem for the vineyards. Chris had to install deer fencing to protect the grapes.

Old Field VineyardsTasting Room

The rustic tasting room is located in an old barn building. The first room has a brick floor with rugs. The second room is heated with a small, wood-burning stove. Both rooms have some seating available. Historically, this part of the barn had cages for fighting cock roosters. A framed painting of people attending a cockfight has been preserved. Chris has had visitors who have been able to identify people in the photo as well as the artist.

Today several of the refurbished cages serve as displays of artifacts discovered on the property. The tasting room has several gourmet products. Look for Pinot Noir Tapenade, Mustard, and Wine Jelly.

Old Field VineyardsOld Field Wines

Chardonnay 2010 was a yellow color with an aroma of apple, pear and oak. The taste was dry and smooth with fruit nuances. The finish had a hint of soft tannins with fruit and caramel notes. Cracklin” Rosé 2011, made from Merlot, was a dark orange. The taste was of red berry fruit. The crisp finish was chewy with berry fruit notes. Blanc de Noir 2005 was a light yellow color. This sparkling wine was produced with Pinot Noir grapes. The aroma was of freshly baked bread while the taste had apple and pear notes. The finish was crisp. Cabernet Franc 2008 was a ruby color. The aroma offered notes of black pepper and black fruit. The taste had nuances of black cherry and plum. The finish was fruity and peppery with tannins. Merlot 2005 was a ruby color. The aroma and taste were of dark fruit and earthy. The fruity finish had tannins and was chewy. Rooster Tail, a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, was a dark purple. The aroma was fruity with currant nuances. The taste was smooth and offered pepper notes. Pepper nuances were on the finish.

Events

In addition to private and group tastings, The Old Field Vineyards offers a variety of events. From May thru September, the winery offers Sustainable Agriculture Tours on Saturdays. On Sundays visitors can sign up for the Historical Tours. Watch for other events throughout the year including Chocolate Fondue in February and the Long Island Winterfest.

Old Field VineyardsDuring the winter months the tasting room is open on Saturdays and Sundays. Enjoy a visit to The Old Field Vineyards at the end of Long Island’s North Fork.

The Old Field Vineyards

59600 Main Road, Rte. 25
Southold, New York 11971

GPS: N41º 04.322’ W72º 24.563’

Article written January 2013

 

 


 

 

 


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