New York is the third largest wine producer in the United States, after California and Washington State. For the past 35 years, the venerable New York Wine and Grape Foundation has hosted its annual New York Wine Classic, a nationally recognized competition highlighting the best of the state’s wine.
This year there were 607 entries from 96 of the 471 wineries in the state.
The New York State 2021 winery of the year is Paumanok Vineyards, located in Aquebogue, on Long Island’s North Fork. It had the best overall showing based on the level and number of medals awarded.
It won gold medals for the best vinifera red blend and best red wine, its Assemblage 2015; best traditional method sparkling wine, its Blanc De Blancs 2016; and best Sauvignon Blanc, its 2019 vintage. It also won medals for its 2014 Tuthills Lane Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, its 2019 Grand Vintage Merlot, its 2019 Dry Riesling, and its 2019 Festival Chardonnay.
That’s pretty impressive, since the winery produces fewer than 12,000 cases a year. Only 85 of its 127 acres are planted in vineyards.
The winery, which was founded in 1983, also produces other varietals, including Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Rosé, and Petit Verdot. The winery is situated in a renovated barn.
This is the third time that Paumanok has won the New York State Winery of the Year award; it also won in 2004 and in 2015.
Wine With Our Family recently had the opportunity to chat with Kareem Massoud, Paumanok’s winemaker, to learn more.
Wine With Our Family: Tell us a little about your winery.
Kareem Massoud: I’m a second generation winemaker. I learned from my father. It’s entirely owned and managed by our family. My parents, Charles and Ursula Massoud, are the founders and owners and are still involved. My two brothers are also in the business. It’s a team effort.
It’s a small winery. Most of the wineries on Long Island are relatively small.
WWOF: Did you expect to win?
KM: I was pleasantly surprised. I always take these things with a grain of salt. But we know the criteria to win. To even be considered you have to enter seven or more wines. So every year, we enter at least seven wines. Winning is based purely on the bottles of wine submitted.
This year was a little different. Usually the judges meet in person. This year it was virtual, and the Foundation partnered with the Beverage Testing Institute for the judging. It’s nice to have recognition from a third party.
WWOF: Are the winning wines available for tasting and purchase?
KM: They are all currently available. We have a good supply for two to three months.
WWOF: What else does the winery have to offer?
KM: Our tasting room is open; we take all of the COVID-19 safety precautions. We also host weddings and private events.
WWOF: What else should we know about the winery?
KM. We acquired nearby Palmer Vineyards in 2018. ______________________________________________________________________________
We hope you enjoyed learning more about Paumanok Vineyards, the New York State 2021 winery of the year. We look forward to visiting the winery and sampling its award-winning wines.
Have any feedback? Don’t hesitate to send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Photos courtesy of Paumanok Vineyards. This interview was edited for length and clarity.