At first glance, it might seem that a Hamptons-based wine club and North-Forks are a bit at odds. The reality couldn’t be further from the truth. The majority, if not all wine clubs here on the Island are winery-based. The notable exception is Empire State Cellars, which sadly is closing in December. This is where The Hamptons Wine Club comes in.
The usual format North-Forks chooses to share its Wine Club of the Month is through an interview with the club manager, where we discuss the benefits of belonging to their club through discounts and events. In the case of the Hamptons Wine Club, because there is no winery or storefront, there are no usual benefits in the traditional sense. It is, however, what they do for the Long Island wine industry that lead us to make them November’s Wine Club of the Month.
The single biggest challenge any wine club has is that before they can become members, people usually have to visit the winery to taste the wine. By dealing exclusively in Long Island wines, The Hamptons Wine Club circumvents this issue of geography and brings the wine to the consumer before they discover it on their own.
With a current membership based largely in western Nassau and throughout New York City with members also scattered throughout the country, this club is extending the reach of Long Island wines by sending them to people who might not otherwise explore them. The most common path to membership is “membership as a gift”. Others join because they moved away from the Island and wish to have part of home sent to them. Others because they visited a few wineries and want to explore the rest from home.
The Hamptons Wine Club is a curated club, meaning that each month’s wines are selected for a reason, and upon signing up members can choose if they prefer red, white, or both, as well as the number of bottles (1-4) they wish to receive with each monthly shipment. As an example, if you chose to receive all four bottles, November’s shipment included: Raphael 2013 Riesling, Anthony Nappa 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Raphael Non-Vintage Cabernet (mix of Cab Sauvignon and Cab Franc), and Osprey’s Dominion 2010 Malbec. October’s shipment: Palmer 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Paumanok Vineyards 2013 Dry Riesling, Osprey’s Dominion 2009 Cabernet Franc, and Palmer 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon.
What makes the club so exciting is the way it gives the ability to give someone the gift of Long Island wines. This isn’t to say you cannot gift the wines to yourself. There are after all, nearly fifty vineyards on Long Island and visiting them all can take some time, whereas with the Hamptons Wine Club, the wines come to you.
The Hamptons Wine Club is Bob Mate and David Ball. They are both passionate about Long Island wines and took the reigns at the club after retiring from the magazine industry.