Martha Clara Vineyard


Martha Clara Vineyard


On a beautiful Friday afternoon, I took a trip to the North fork of Long Island. This area of Long island is a gorgeous stretch of A.O.C. wineries, produce farms and horse ranches. Roughly 2/3rds of New York wines come from the Finger Lakes located upstate.  New York is most often recognized as a white wine producing state however Long Island is mostly known for their red varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. (Starwood)

On my trip, I decided to visit Martha Clara Vineyard. When I entered, my eyes were immediately drawn to the relaxing, country décor and many display cases of local honeys, jams and cheeses. This gave me a full sense of community.

After drifting into the tasting room, I was approached by a very professional and friendly gentleman by the name of Travis. Travis was extremely knowledgeable about the history of the vineyard the Viticulture and Vinification.

He began by telling me the Vineyard was founded by the Entenmann’s family (yes, the delicious, buy one get one free cakes you can’t resist while food shopping). After this tid-bit of information I truly fell in love. Originally the farm was a thoroughbred horse ranch, it soon transformed into a vineyard to compete with the neighbors.

Travis went on to tell me that Long Island had wonderful growing conditions due to its sandy loam soil and its maritime sea breezes that naturally aerate the vineyards. Sandy soils are beneficial to vineyards because of its ability to drain well and hold in heat.  It also naturally helps the plants stay pest free encouraging greener growing techniques. (MacNeil)The vines a grown at mid-wire cordon training system.

They have a wide variety of grapes that have had great success in this regions soil and climate. These include:

Whites-                -Semillon             -Gewurztraminer            

                            -Viognier             -Pinot Grigio

                            -Riesling               -Sauvignon Blanc

Reds–                   -Cab Sauvignon   -Merlot

                            -Cabernet Franc    -Malbec

He explained how they ferment their wine in large double layered stainless-steel tanks. Between the layers or steel a coolant is pumped through to regulate the temperature of the wine during this process.  The idea is to conserve the delicate aromas that can potentially be lost if the fermentation process is at too high of a temperature. (Zraly) When the fermentation is complete the then transfer their wine in to oak aging barrels.

While speaking with Travis a few guests started to trickle in and I started to eaves drop and watch the service of a wine tender named Brienne. I could tell that she really knew the ins and out of the products they offered the guests. I could tell be the graceful way she opened a fresh bottle of Merlot that she was veteran of the business. The knowledge and professionalism of the staff was top notch.

The most popular wines sold at Martha Clara are:

Northville Red Blend, this would pair great with Bison. Medium Acid with a lean red protein.

Chardonnay Island Series Reserve, Light and sweet and would pair nicely with cheeses and seafood.

Sauvignon Blanc Island Series, Light and dry and would pair nicely with salads and shellfish.

It was refreshing to meet normal, down to earth people at the Martha Clara vineyard. The staff was extremely knowledgeable and it seemed that educating the guests about the wine itself was equally as important as serving it.



Starwood, J.T. (2009). Long Island Wine Country. Guilford, Connecticut: Morris Book Publishing, LLC

Zraly, K. (2010). Windows on the World, Complete Wine Course. New York, NY: Sterling Publishing Company

MacNeil, K. (2016) The Wine Bible. New York, NY: Workman Publishing Co.


Five Town Discount Wines


Retail Beverage Shop Analysis

For my retail beverage shop analysis, I chose Five Towns Discount wines also known to locals as Price Cutters. They are located at 601 Burnside Ave. Inwood, New York.  This is on the Southern border between Queens and Nassau County. From the outside, it doesn’t appear too spectacular.  With its generic looking sign and typical promotional ads in the front window it sits between a Stop N Shop grocery store and a $.99 store.  But upon entering, most adults a reduced to mere kids in a candy store.  The store is massive.  It is roughly 5000 Sq. Ft. of Vinified love! It was established in 1979, and also sells liquor.

Huge amount of white wines from Europe, Austrailia, South America and U.S.

Overwhelming amount of reds. Merlot, Malbec, Pinot Noir, Syrah. Too many to list.

This is just the tip of the inventory iceberg.


The store Manager, Hugo was very pleasant and has worked there since his teens.  They started very small and slowly expanded as neighboring business faded.


Me:        What is one major challenge of owning or running a wine retail store?

Hugo:    I’ll give you two, he responded.  First is the competition.  There are so many wine and liquor stores on long island and it is tough to stay on top.  We always try to give the best prices and our customers know that.  Second has been storage.  I remember at one time the owner of the business was like a squirrel.  He had boxes of wine in his personal garage, basement, attic even his living room and bathroom.  He did whatever he could to find space so he could purchase the product in bulk to sell at a better price.  It made his and the customers pockets happy.  That is why our store is the size it is now. Hard to beat.

Me:        How do you stay current in the wine world when there is so much to                         know?

Staff:     Thanks to the cyber world it has made all our lives easier.  We get most of our information about what’s hot and trending through social media and wine websites.  It is also extremely important to network and build a rapport with wholesale vendors, local wineries and pay attention to trends outside of the US.

Me:        What do think about twist off wine bottles?

Staff:    Allot of reputable brands are starting to go the direction of twist off bottles and even boxed wines.  Being in the retail business and having tried numerous amounts of them. I as well as educated wine drinkers know that many of these wines are of great quality.  However, I also know by the amounts we sell that the vineyards that choose this method might not be thinking about the consumer that doesn’t know about wine or the older consumer that doesn’t want to show up to a party with a twist off top worried about perception of quality.  Younger customers don’t seem to have a problem with twist off tops, it’s the older folks that have been using a wine key for the last 4-5 decades that mostly see it this way.  Over time I’m sure it will be the norm, just a slow transition. I prefer to see it stay the traditional way. Corked and Cultured.

Me:    What do you think about the direction wine is heading?

Staff: Well, it is exciting to see so many new names and labels on the shelves and different tastes, but I hate to say that for many people, that’s all it is.  Back in the day there was not as many to choose from and a bottle of wine seemed more sacred.  Today people drink wine like water. I mean, I’m not complaining, but there seems to be too many producers and unfortunately many of them look for more affordable methods and the quality might suffer.

Thank you, Hugo and Staff