The South Fork of Long Island is a well-kept secret in the wine world. Home to substantially fewer wineries than the North, it receives very little press or attention. So we at Taste of Purple were pleasantly surprised to find the South Fork contains several lovely wineries – one of which being Channing Daughters.
An Uncommon Winery
At first glance, Channing Daughters seems like any other tasting room. With a simple layout and casual environment, it may appear ordinary to some. The minute we started our tasting, it was clear this was far from the truth.
Everything about Channing Daughters was simply interesting. Our resident blogger was having a hard time keeping up as Anthony (who we have officially adopted into the Taste of Purple family) spouted interesting facts. He started by explaining the story of Channing Daughter’s beginnings to us.
Related: Best Long Island Reds and Whites
An Artistic History
Walter Channing purchased the winery and decided to name it after his four girls (adorable). Walter was a true artist. He grew up learning from his carpenter father, and the winery is dotted with wood carvings he created himself. In fact, when Hurricane Gloria uprooted a large tree on the property, Walter saw it and saw art. Thus the Channing Daughter’s logo was created. Walter was about conservation—he wanted to create something that would ensure the land would stay undeveloped, and the winery was born.
Since Walter’s passing, the daughters have gone on to other adventures, and winemakers Chris and Alison Tracy have taken on a larger role.
An Inclination Towards Art
As an homage to Walter Channing, the Channing Daughters Winery is filled to the brim with his work. From the end posts of the vineyard rows to the walls of the tasting room, Walter’s artistic spirit continues to live in the heart and soul of the winery.
The most jarring example is the Channing Daughters sculpture garden—a must-see for any visitors to the winery. This expansive garden displays the towering, inverted trees that inspired the winery’s logo, set against an expansive horizon.
An Inventive Future
The Tracy’s are truly visionaries. They plant their vineyard in the style of a “field blend” (multiple varietals in the same section) to promote cross-pollination. They host in-depth wine classes to educate the area. They mirror their blends after regions in Northern Italy with comparable climates, and they have a variety of orange wines and vermouth tastings with fortifications all grown on the vineyard. They are testing the boundaries of a traditional tasting room in a variety of ways. And as they continue to grow, the future of Channing Daughters looks bright.
Channing Daughter’s Must-Try Wines
In addition to innovation, Channing Daughters produces some quality wines. Their climate and location allow them to grow over two dozen different types of grapes, all of which are treated with the same care and attention. Here are a few must-try wines recommended by the Channing team:
The new, 2020 Rosso Fresco is a playful, dry red wine made with 56% Merlot, 20% Syrah, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Dornfelder, 1% Blaufrankisch, and 1% Teroldego. This medium-bodied, flavorful wine also features blackberry, red cherry, raspberry, red current, plum, spice, and earth, and Channing recommends that you pair it with meats, fish, or pasta.
In terms of preparation, the grapes were crushed by foot and punched by hand, before being filtered and stored in tanks and oak barrels for eight months. As always, the grapes were hand-harvested from vines in the North and South Forks.
Channing’s new 2020 Pinot Grigio perfectly illustrates the winery’s innovative and expectation-defying flavors. This 100% Pinot Grigio shocks the senses with flavors of ripe peaches, white flowers, spice, apples, and honey. As with most Channing whites, this Pinot Grigio also holds a salty, mineral taste. Like the Rosso Fresco, it’s a medium-bodied wine with moderate alcohol and silky feel. All in all, it’s a perfect wine for both your day-to-day and a special occasion and pairs excellently with fish, chicken, pasta, sheep’s milk cheeses, zucchini frittatas, and charcuterie.
The 2020 Pinot Grigio was hand-harvested from farms in Bridgehampton, Mudd West, and North Fork, then cluster-pressed and fermented using a stainless steel tank. After five months, the wine was bottled. As always, the team used minimal handling to produce the clean, dry, and impressive white wine for sale today.
The 2017 Sauvignon Blanc is another great white wine, this time made using 82% Sauvignon Blanc and 18% Tocai Friulano grapes. This wine, however, has a more tangy taste, with notes of green/golden apples, lemon curd, yellow peach, lemon thyme, pears, brown spice, almond, and a stronger minerality. It’s another silky, medium-bodied, and moderate alcohol wine, this time with a more distinctive and refined quality. Pair it with seafood, poultry, herbed pasta, and creamy cheese for the perfect meal!
The Sauvignon Blanc was also hand-harvested and cluster-pressed, then fermented using 37% new French oak barrels/hogsheads, 35% older/neutral oak barrels, and 28% stainless steel barrels for ten months.
Our Top Picks
During our visit, the team at Taste of Purple liked their 2013 L’Enfant Sauvage Chardonnay. Lots of peach and pear with a smooth finish. We highly recommend their Vermouth as well. In the words of the winemaker, it’s their way of paying homage to the land they work with.
Setting off for your own wine-tasting journey? Try Taste of Purple’s stainless steel Pinot Noir wine glasses for a spill-proof wine glass with a classic shape.
Changing the World Through Wine
In addition to its wine, our team was surprised to learn about Channing Daughters’ impressive social/environmental goals. Channing Daughters Winery is a founding member of Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing (LISW), a third-party-certified sustainable viticulture program.
The LISW is the first such program on the east coast, and it works to maintain a healthy and fruitful ecosystem that will be able to produce high-quality grapes over the long term. By partnering with other winemakers and the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, Channing Daughters has established a set of “best practices” that it uses to ensure a positive impact on the local ecosystem for years to come.
For example, Channing Daughters composts all of its grape pomaces and leaves all vine prunings to decompose on the vineyard. Combined with their neighbor’s horse manure, they’re able to use their compost to improve the bio-diversity of the farm while also finding a healthy, organic alternative to the synthetic nitrogen most winemakers use.
Channing Daughters are even further committed to positive impact, as they’ve implemented social responsibility into the Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing best practices. All employees working are properly training, paid a living wage, and provided with health insurance to ensure a safe and humane working environment for everyone on the farm.
Where to Try Channing Daughters Wines
Want to learn what all this fuss is about? The Channing Daughters Winery tasting experience is open seven days a week, with space available for both reservations and walk-ins. If you’re traveling with a group of six or more, however, Channing Daughters recommends that you reserve your seating in advance—the bigger tables fill up quickly! Unfortunately, they’re also unable to accommodate groups larger than eight, so it’s best to keep to a smaller group.
If wine tastings aren’t your thing, Channing Daughters also has a retail shop! Here, you can stop by to buy a bottle of wine on the go or order one for pickup. They’re currently open from 11 am-5 pm, seven days a week, so you can always grab a bottle of wine for a last-minute get-together.
Of course, most people don’t live within driving distance of the winery. Luckily, you can also order their wines online through their store. Be careful, though! Since wine can be sensitive to temperature changes, your delivery may be delayed. If you’re worried about any upcoming weather patterns, you can also contact the winery directly to change the timing of your order.
Drinking Channing Daughters Wine
Whether picking it up or ordering online, the experience of drinking your Channing Daughters wine (or any wine, for that matter) should be just as exceptional as the wine itself. That’s why we recommend Taste of Purple’s exceptional glassware for your next party or wine night.
Every glass from Taste of Purple features a specially designed aeration notch, which allows you to aerate your wine as you drink without the need for any additional tools or decanters. Why aerate it? Aerating wine allows you to smell the unique aroma of the wine itself, not just the alcohol. Plus, it smooths out the tannins of the wine, creating a bolder, better-tasting wine for you to enjoy. With Taste of Purple’s unique glassware, you’ll get sleek, well-made glassware that aerates the wine for you, so you can enjoy every note and flavor in your wine.Looking for elegant glassware made with quality crystal? Our timeless Piccolo2 glass goes above and beyond by effortlessly aerating your wine as you swirl.