North-Forks would like to introduce our readers to John Leo, Winemaker at Clovis Point and his own label, Leo Wines. Clovis Point is located on Main Road in Jamesport, There are often events like art shows and live music to be experienced on the weekends.
1. Please tell us a little about yourself: Your name, the winery/wineries where you make wine, how long you’ve been making wine.
John Leo Winemaker at Clovis Point since 2004. I came to the East End of Long Island in 1994 and started making wine for myself under my Leo’s Cellar moniker in 1999.
2. What was your first experience with wine that made you see it as something more than just a beverage?
Growing up and having Sunday meals with my extended Italian American family, homemade red was always a part of the meal, and enjoyed by grandpa and grandma and all the aunts and uncles. As children we were allowed to have a small glass of wine mixed with cream soda. I knew then that wine was food– or at least an important part of a good meal.
3. What is your favorite part of being a winemaker?
Walking the vineyard throughout the year, gauging the developing progress, tasting berries when ripeness seems immanent, and hand harvesting clusters that nature has been generous with. Then again, blending trials are also nicely challenging and ultimately satisfying when things work out.
4. What is your favorite part the wine making process?
Every step, and every decision, is important. Perhaps pressing off a successful ferment is my favorite step… tasting for the cut and anticipating the possibilities.
5. What is the biggest challenge you face as a winemaker?