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Duck Walk Vineyards
Southampton, NY
by Christopher J. Davies, Publisher
Edited by Steve Inglima, Associate Publisher
Photos by Christopher J. Davies except where noted

Featured Winery

Located in Watermill, just a short distance east of where Sunrise Highway ends and merges onto Montauk Highway, is Duck Walk Vineyards, a "Big Duck" in the Long Island Wine Country. Duck Walk is a Hamptons landmark.....and a very formidable winery with one of the largest wine tasting rooms on Long Island.

Dr. Herodotus "Dan" Damianos, the owner of Pindar Vineyards, purchased this winery in 1994. Dr.Damianos learned that the winery building, which is an exquisite reproduction of a chateau in Normandy, is actually built on an old duck farm that operated in the 1940's. The building stands on what used to be a road that ran between the farm. And yes, duckies were known to walk across the road to get to the other side of the farm. With apologies to Sherlock Holmes; "elementary my good Ducktor!"

Destination: Winehampton

Over these past 5 years, Duck Walk Vineyards has strived to produce quality varietal wines. They currently offer 12 different varietal wines plus 3 unique dessert wines. Duck Walk has become one of the Hamptons most popular travel destinations. Seven days a week, wine enthusiasts, tourists and sophisticated wine visitors flock to Duck Walk's tasting room or outdoor patio which overlooks the lush vineyard. Duck Walk encourages the enjoyment of food and wine. Visitors may taste the winery's latest releases or purchase a bottle of wine and snack on cheese and crackers to enjoy on premises. The winery will sell you chilled or room temperature wines at established pricing, and a package of cheese and crackers (for only $5.00). You can even bring your own food if you'd like. Why not bring a picnic basket and enjoy a chilled bottle of Chardonnay or full bodied Merlot? On the weekends during the Summer and Autumn you can listen to live music on the patio. The local Folk/Rock band Simon Ashby has been pleasing crowds and winery personnel lately.

Want the ultimate economical, but classy date ? Without looking cheap? Here's a low cost date with a romantic vineyard setting, great wine.....in the "Hollywood of the East" no less ! Celebrity Warning: if you do happen to spot a celebrity sampling at Duck Walk, please remember that he or she is there to enjoy wine, hassle free. Just tip your glass and smile!

Tastings and Tours are offered seven days per week, free of charge. Visitors must be at least 21 years old to participate in tastings at Duck Walk. Multi-bottle and case discounts are offered.

Harvest Time is here !

Autumn is the busiest time of the year at the winery. When Steve Inglima, our Associate Publisher, and I arrived at Duck Walk, we were keen to photograph the visual flavor of the vineyard. Fortunately, we were in luck . Winemaker Jason Damianos brought us to the rear of the building where a truck load of Pinot Meunier grapes was being carefully loaded into a grape sorter/crusher. This machine is the first step in separating the grapes from the stems before they go through the final crushing process.

Hands on Management Style

Alex Damianos is Duck Walk's General Manager. Following his father's hands-on style, close attention to details and maintaining quality, Alex can be seen on the front line of the business. He listens to customer input, mans the retail counter, and oversees activities in the vineyard.

His younger brother Jason was recently promoted to the position of winemaker. Jason has worked his way up the ladder to earn this position. Having first had a stint working as a stockbroker, Jason received his BS degree in Business at the University of Hartford, pursued a program in Enology and Viticulture at the University of California, Fresno leading to his second Bachelor's degree, and continued his studies at the University of Bordeaux. When I asked Jason what made him decide to go into the wine business he told me that it was more fun and interesting than the stockmarket. I tend to agree.

Prior to his current position, Jason was Duck Walk's Assistant Winemaker. His first release is the 1997 Southampton Pinot Meunier. Incidentally, Duck Walk is the first winery on Long Island to produce red wine featuring 100% Pinot Meunier grapes (the grapes used to make champagne).

Tasting Duck Walk Wines

It is not our custom at Long Island Wine Country.com to rate or score wine. We leave this pleasurable experience up to our readers. We do however try to taste all the wines offered by our featured wineries with the intention of providing useful information to our readers. Taste is up to the individual. So please try as many different LI wines as you can to form your own opinion. That's our goal.

Steve and I had the pleasure of tasting the full range of Duck Walk Varietals and Dessert Wines. Jane Fitzpatrick, Duck Walk's Tasting Room Coordinator was extremely helpful in presenting the full range of releases in a manner that demonstrated the subtle taste differences of the 15 wines below.

DUCK WALK VINEYARDS -Fall 1999 Wine Selection

White Varietals

  • 1996 Chardonnay Reserve, Barrel Fermented-in French Oak dry and oakey with a smooth taste, $12.95
  • 1997 Chardonnay, Stainless Steel, Excellent finish, sweeter than the reserve, $ 8.95

Propreitor's Blends

  • Southampton White, New, Stainless Steel, Semi-sweet to dry Pinot Gris & Pinot Blanc grapes, $8.95
  • Windmill White, Stainless Steel, Chardonnay/Riesling blend, semi-dry, $7.95
  • Windmill Blush, Stainless Steel, Compares well to white Zinfandel, $7.95 750ml,$13.95 1.5L
  • Windmill Red, Stainless Steel & briefly Oak, DW's lightest Red. Cabernet, Merlot & Pinot Noir Grapes, $7.95
  • Gatzby Red, Stainless Steel, Pinot Meunier & Pinot Noir Grapes. Chill briefly, $10.95

Red Varietals

  • 1997, Pinot Meunier, 9 months in French and American oak, 100% Pinot Meunier Grapes. Dry and peppery, $8.95 Intro
  • 1995 Merlot Reserve, Two years in oak, Dry red, excellent with Pasta dishes, $18.95
  • 1995,Cabernet Sauvignon, Oak, Intoxicating bouqet,great fruit,large finish, $18.95
  • 1995 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Two years in oak, Full, long body/soothing finish, $24.95

Dessert Wines

  • 1997, Aphrodite, Late harvest Gewurztraminer, $14.95 375ml $27.95 750ml
  • 1997, Blueberry Port, 1 year oak, 1-year bottle (Fortified), Wild hand-picked Blueberrys from Maine. $12.95 375ml
  • Boysenberry Dessert Wine, (Fortified), Stunningly tangy $12.95 375ml

Duck Walk Recipes

The tasting room currently distributes two recipes for cooking with DW wine. These recipes were specially created by Shari Alexander of Tastemakers. Shari is a food and wine consultant and writer.Please e-mail us for these recipes:info@longislandwinecountry.com

Award Winning Wine

Duck Walk has received many awards and gold medals for it's wines regionally and nationally, many of which are displayed throughout the tasting room. Recently "Wine Spectator" gave it's Pinot Meunier and Cabernet Sauvignon excellent ratings.

Exceptional Value

My overall assessment of Duckwalk Vineyards is that they offer a wide variety of excellent wines at consumer friendly prices. The average cost for a bottle of Duckwalk wine is $12.95 or less with only a handful of special reserves reaching the twenty dollar range. I questioned some consumers at the winery and they reconfirmed that they felt DW offered an exceptional value for their money. This pricing strategy is a rare practice in the Hamptons.....and clearly one major factor for the overall success of this winery.

C D

Publishers note: Special thanks to Shari Alexander for providing information which was used to develop this story.

 

Duck Walk Vineyards
Montauk Highway
Southampton, NY
Tel.(516)726-7555
Website: www.duckwalk.com
Acreage: Total 88 acres
 

 

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Welcome to Duck Walk

 

 


Jason Damianos Winemaker and
Alex Damianos General Manager

 

 

Some Dude
John Frisolowski, Assistant Winemaker
admires the grapes
 

 

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Pinot Meunier grapes

 

 

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Tasting Duck Walk wine

 

 

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Some of Duck Walk's many awards

 

 

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Three classic dessert wines

 

 

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View of the winery from Montauk highway

Winemaker's view of the region:

"During the next ten years, I believe that Long Island will be New York's favorite Chardonnay. In international terms, I believe that a Long Island will represent the East Coast of the US. Long Island will become known as a passionate, boutique wine-growing region. Long Island's vineyards are young and have the potential for producing better fruit."

Summary:

Wolffer Estate Vineyards is a "must stop" in the Long Island wine country! Try their great wines and tour their European style winery and vineyards!

Location: Wolffer Estate Vineyards
139 Sagg Road
PO Box 9002
Sagaponack, NY 11962
Tel (631) 537-5106
Fax (631) 537-5107
www.Wolffer.com

 

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