Bedell Cellars: winery information
Winemaker: Kip Bedell, Founding Winemaker
John Irving Levenberg, Winemaker
Kip Bedell began making wine at his home in Garden City, Long Island during the 1970's, with a home winemaking kit he received from his brother. He and his wife Susan joined a wine tasting group and enjoyed tasting and discussing wines with wine-loving friends. After several years of trial and error, Kip realized that his interest in wines had extended beyond basement winemaking. Aware of the attention that Alex and Louisa Hargrave (the founders of the Long Island wine industry and co-proprietors of Hargrave Vineyards) were receiving with their vineyard in Cutchogue, Kip made several trips out to the North Fork of Long Island. He was encouraged by conversations with the Hargraves and began a search for suitable vineyard land that eventually led him to purchase the 50-acre David's Farm, an old potato farm in Cutchogue, in 1979. For the next ten years, the Bedells commuted to and from Garden City to establish Bedell Vineyards. With the help of friends, they planted the first seven acres of vines and continued plantings over the next three years. The crops from '83 and '84 were the first grapes Kip sold. During the harvest of 1985 hurricane Gloria arrived, creating severe problems with power losses and the loss of most of the red grapes to the storm. Kip prefers to look at 1986 as the first "real" harvest. That year, Bedell Cellars produced award winning wines and won a Gold Medal from the Dallas Morning News Competition with their 1986 Chardonnay Reserve. By 1987, nineteen acres had been planted and annual case production reached 3,000. Kip now oversees the winemaking for a total of 78 acres (the Bedell, Corey Creek and Wells Road Vineyards) and a current annual production of 12,000 cases.
Heralded as one of the top young winemakers in North America, John Irving Levenberg is a central figure in the continued success of Bedell Cellars and Corey Creek Vineyards. Eric Asimov of The New York Times (June 7, 2006) recently declared, "The Bedell style has evolved, and more recent vintages taste sleek and polished, with well integrated oak and fruit flavors." Prior to his relocation to the colder climes of Long Island, John was Associate Winemaker at Paul Hobbs Winery in California, and held winemaking positions at Chateau Quinault (St. Emilion, France), Cuvaison (Napa), Clos LaChance (Santa Cruz, CA) and Te Whare Ra (Marlborough, New Zealand). While at Paul Hobbs, over 20 of John's wines earned scores of "92 points" and higher from Robert Parker or Wine Spectator. While in France the wine he made, L'Absolut de Quinault, was rated as one of the Top 3 wines of the 2002 vintage. At Te Whare Ra in New Zealand, John's wines garnered first-ever awards for one of Marlborough's oldest wineries, including the best of vintage distinction for his 1998 Gewürztraminer. Originally from Los Angeles, John pursued a master's degree in Viticulture and Enology at UC-Davis.
Annual Production: 10,000 cases
Grape Varieties Planted
- Cabernet Franc
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Petit Verdot
- Sauvignon Blanc