By Lenn Thompson, Executive Editor

Merliancelabel-460x356 After an extended period of relative radio silence (except for HARVEST), the Long Island Merlot Alliance (LIMA) today announced its newly elected officers while providing a glimpse into its plans for 2011.

In a press release, executive director Donnell Brown said “It will be a busy year for the organization — one that stands to bring breakthroughs in the regard for our region and for Long Island merlot. Our new leaders bring so much experience and enthusiasm to their roles. Their influence will guide all that we do to new and greater heights.”

New president Russ McCall of McCall Wines will act as the primary spokesperson for the group spearheading its research, marketing and growth initiatives.

This seems like a smart, well-conceived choice. McCall strong industry experience and while some non-members have questioned whether or not LIMA wineries are pushing merlot chiefly because it's what they have planted in their vineyards (and thus have to sell), that can't be said of McCall. His winery has a distinct focus on pinot noir, and in my opinion there is little doubt that the pinot noirs are the stars of his portfolio.

Roman Roth, best known as winemaker at Wolffer Estate will be vice president, focusing on marketing and the HARVEST event. Roth is one of the LIMA's founding members and is one of the smartest, most-respected voices for Long Island wine.

Clovis Point managing partner Hal Ginsburg is the groups treasurer and Gilles Martin, who makes wines for a few local wineries, is the new technical advisor. He'll focus on the group's research initiatives.

The group is planning to be much more active with the press and the public in 2001, with blind tasting events in the works and of course an expanded HARVEST 2011 event. As I hear more about these events, I'll be sure to share the news.