Les_2Pindar Vineyards, Long Island’s largest winery, has hired a new winemaker, Les Howard, most recently of Jamesport Vineyards.

Les, a Long Island native, started his winemaking career at Pindar almost 15 years ago when he had a summer job on the bottling line. Now he’s back, as head winemaker. He made a lot of delicious wines at Jamesport, and many more will be released after he’s gone. He’s also a great guy who I’ve enjoyed talking with over the years.

There are going to be many challenges moving from a winery like Jamesport to one like Pindar, challenges beyond the 7,00-case to 70,000-case production levels. But, if Les is given the freedom to make the wines that he wants to make, we can expect a sharp increase in the quality of wines coming out of Pindar’s winery, which would be a very good thing.

I haven’t heard what Jamesport plans to do on the winemaking front, but the parting was apparently amicable. Maybe Ron Goerler Jr., the owner, will take the winemaking reins back again?

Anyway, congratulations, Les. I look forward to tasting your first Pindar wines a year from now.