There's nothing we love more at Taste of Purple than a day of "industry research." This of course is just a fancy term for the days we all forget our responsibilities and go run away to taste wines. Recently, in one of our teams many (many) travels to Long Island wine country, we happened across an old staple of the region- Bedell Cellars.
Bedell Cellars is built on the base of an old potato barn. While its literal framework maintains its homage to the past, the framework of the company is a lot more forward thinking. The steel bar and black accents create a nice juxtaposition with the old barn and the rows of modern art dotting the walls definitely make you feel transported to a more metropolitan frame of mind.
Our tasting was run by Jack, a quick witted New Yorker with a lot of knowledge (and even more jokes) to drop on us. When I asked about the wine club he simply stated "the first rule of our wine club is we don't talk about wine club." Fight club references aside, he was a wealth of information on the history of the winery, the wines they produce, and the sustainable farming the winery puts into practice. And he expounded on all of it as he led us on our tour.
The barrel room is impressive, meticulously organized by clone with a red stain to delineate red from white. The wine maker chose French oak and even specifies the amount of "toast" on the barrel - the amount of coals to char the inside can have a large effect on the finished product.
Bedell are big believers in "beyond organic." Organic can include anything normally found in nature - even heavy metals. For a vineyard to be beyond organic, they must comply with a 200 item checklist. They are also a member of the LI wine growers association, all dedicated to sustainable practices.
In addition to sustainability, The folks at Bedell are also passionate about being hands on. There's no outside crush, everything is done in house. At the start of every year, the staff brings in anything locally grown and they all contribute to the starter yeast used for the wine.
Let's get to the really important part - the wines! Our team, usually in agreement on our favorite wines, was completely split at this winery. Some of the crowd favorites included their Gallery Chardonnay (a buttery Chardonnay just the way our Taste of Purple matriarch likes them), the 2014 Voigner (a fruit forward blend most of our team loved) and their 2014 Sauvignon Blanc (this bloggers wine of choice).
Overall our takeaway from this winery was a group of people that really know their wines and the industry they work in. Their tasting room was a class act, the tour was knowledgeable and if that's not enough they even host wine cruises!! They're worth the trip for sure!
Our Experience at Bedell Cellars — Meet Jack
Our tasting was run by Jack, a quick-witted New Yorker with a lot of knowledge (and even more jokes) to drop on us. When I asked about the wine club, he simply stated, "the first rule of our wine club is we don't talk about wine clubs." But, fight club references aside, he has a wealth of information on the winery's history, the wines they produce, and the sustainable farming the winery puts into practice. And he expounded on all of it as he led us on our tour.
The barrel room is impressive, meticulously organized by clones with a red stain to delineate red from white. The winemaker chose French oak and even specified the amount of "toast" on the barrel - the number of coals to char the inside can have a large effect on the finished product.
Sustainability: Going Beyond Organic
Bedell is a big believer in "beyond organic." Organic can include anything typically found in nature - even heavy metals. To be beyond organic, a vineyard must comply with a 200-item checklist. They are also members of the LI wine growers association, all dedicated to sustainable practices.
In addition to sustainability, the folks at Bedell are also passionate about being hands-on. There's no outside crush; everything is done in-house. At the start of every year, the staff brings in anything locally grown, and they all contribute to the starter yeast used for the wine.
Our Experience at Bedell Cellars — The Wines
Let's get to the crucial part - the wines! Our team, usually in agreement on our favorite wines, was wholly split at this winery. Some of the crowd favorites included their Gallery Chardonnay (a buttery Chardonnay just the way our Taste of Purple matriarch likes them), the 2014 Viognier (a fruit-forward blend most of our team loved), and their 2014 Sauvignon Blanc (this bloggers wine of choice).
Bedell Cellars Review — The Place
Bedell Cellars might be the most fashion-forward, modern winery in all of the North Fork Wine Trail. And while they've been in business for many years, like most wineries in the area, they've taken a distinctly different route to everything wine-related. Not only is Bedell Cellars' decor different from the norm, but so is their point of view. Bedell Cellars is currently owned by Ninah Lynne — the wife of Michael Lynne, a producer, and artist on the popular Lord of the Rings movies and veteran winemaker. She works together with Rich Olsen Harbich, a famous and exceptional North Fork winemaker.
Bedell Cellars' vineyard spans about 80 acres across three areas, both nearby and on-site. A renovated potato barn houses the wine tasting room and also showcases famous photographs and artwork by Michael Lynne. If you plan a visit, don't forget to take a look upstairs — the view over the expansive vineyard is breathtaking. Along with their dedication to sustainability, the whole Bedell Cellars vibe is fantastic.
Founded by the Bedells in 1980, Michael Lynn took over in 2000 and completely remodeled the facilities. The entire wine production process happens on-site, from growing grapes in the sustainable 75-acre vineyard to the processing, fermenting, and bottling; it's all done at Bedell Cellars.
The vast outdoor seating overlooks the vineyards, allowing you to enjoy the gorgeous view while tasting the exceptional wines!
Bedell Cellars Review — The Experience
From the outside, Bedell Cellars might appear to be a typical North Fork wine tasting room (and that's pretty snazzy already!), but once you walk in, the realization hits you that it's not like any other winery you've ever seen. It's a smaller room with high ceilings and a comfy loft that's decorated with hues of demanding blacks and reds with touches of wood, white, and gray. Overall, Bedell Cellars features a very minimalistic design.
Related: Our Visit to FRIAS Family Vineyard
We immediately noticed the sign above the bar advertising "Sustainable Wine Growing" in the North Fork. And the sheer quantity of wine bottles, which line the walls, is an artwork of their own. Upstairs, the loft is perfect for relaxing in the oversized armchairs that make you want to stay for hours. Add in the design books on the tables, and it's a unique experience — you have to try it for yourself. The modern, simple design works perfectly for Bedell Cellars.
For the wine tasting, our pourer was as exceptional as everything else about Bedell Cellars. He was hilarious, knowledgeable, and only added to the experience. Not to mention the excellent tour (more on that next).
Bedell Cellars Review — The Tour
On the Bedell Cellars tour, we really saw how everything came together. You can look out the window and see the grapes growing, visit where they get fermented and barreled, and view the machines where the wine bottles get filled, corked, labeled, and boxed. It doesn't get more "locally produced" than that!
We love to learn all we can about winemaking — it's intriguing! What we also found interesting about Bedell Cellars is their commitment to remaining a certified sustainable facility, which Jack extensively talked to us about.
Bedell uses organic yeast to produce their wines; it's made from natural ingredients in the same environment used to ferment them. Neat! They also use sustainable corks that come from South America, and the art on their wine bottles is from commissioned artists in the NYC area.
And while wine tasting on Long Island is a far cry from Napa Valley (not that that's a bad thing!), Bedell Cellars definitely has that California wine experience vibe. Bedell is an excellent first stop for any Long Island wine tour.
Bedell Cellars and Corey Creek
Bedell Cellars now also owns the Corey Creek winery, which makes the perfect second stop! The owners turned it into a modern, upscale tasting room that doesn't disappoint. Because it's right up the street from Bedell, we had to pay the Tap Room at Corey Creek a visit.
They serve six wines on tap, with each one housed in a collapsible, recyclable keg. A flight of three tastes only runs $5 — the Rose, Chardonnay, Merlot, Carbonic Cab Sauv, and Sauvignon Blanc were all incredible!
The whole area is incredible, with a blend of North Fork winery and Brooklyn hipster vibes. It's extremely popular in the summer when patrons can take advantage of the massive, beautiful outdoor space.
While it's not a full-scale winery, you can purchase growlers at Corey Creek's Tap Room to refill over and over with your favorite wines!
Bedell Cellars Review — The Wines
There's no doubt that Bedell Cellars has made its mark on the wine world, and their efforts toward sustainability and crafting exceptional wines don't go unnoticed. Musee, their famous red wine, was the first Long Island wine to top the well-known Wine Spectator list.
In addition, their Gewurztraminer was exceptional, with the taste and smell of lychee and other tropical fruits. You have to try it!
We also tried the sparkling rose, a Viognier, a white blend called Gallery, their bold red Taste Red, and a Cabernet Franc. And, to be honest, we enjoyed every single one!
The exceptional wines are icing on the cake — the decor, atmosphere, food, and service are top-notch at Bedell Cellars!
Our Thoughts — Go Visit Bedell Cellars!
Don't miss out on Bedell Cellars; you'll want to plan a visit any time you're in the area! Both Bedell Cellars and Corey Creek are family-friendly, and they even allow leashed dogs. So if you can't get rid of the kids, you can plan a trip for the whole family, including your four-legged friends!
Related: Our Visit to Channing Daughter Winery
And if you can't make it out but want to try some of Bedell Cellars' exceptional wines, you shop on their website.
Overall our takeaway from this winery was a group of people that really know their wines and the industry. Their tasting room was a class act, the tour was knowledgeable, and if that's not enough, they even host wine cruises!! They're worth the trip for sure!
Don’t forget the key to the best tasting wine — the wine glasses and stemware! Shop our selection and get the perfect glasses to enjoy Bedell Cellars’ wine!