“We immediately agreed that our winery and tasting
room would be oriented to serious wine drinkers like ourselves. We did
not want to create a gift shop that also sells wine. We also did not
want to build a bar that happens to focus on wine sales.” That’s how
Hal Ginsburg, one of the proprietors of Clovis Point, describes he and
his partners’ vision for their new wine venture.
In 2001 Ginsburg and two friends of his – Nasrallah Misk and another
who is no longer involved in the project – looked at ten acres of
property on Main Road in Jamesport and decided to purchase it and turn
the farm into a small vineyard with a converted-barn tasting room.
Jonathan and Renae Pine and Richard Frey also joined as proprietors and
the Clovis Point label was born. They added an existing vineyard on
Herrick’s Lane in 2002 and the combined vineyards go by the name East
The name Clovis Point refers to the sculpted tools found near the
vineyard and that now adorn the labels. These tools were used by Native
Americans on Long Island’s North Fork over 10,000 years ago. Now, with
vineyard manager Peter Gristina, formerly of Gristina Vineyards (now
Galluccio Family Wineries) and currently of Duck Walk Vineyards,
tending the vines and John Leo of Premium Wine Group making the wines,
Ginsburg and his partners are hoping to open their tasting room this
“When the tasting room will open is essentially out of our hands since
it is dependent on town approvals,” Ginsburg said.
Ginsburg and Misk, who act as managing partners, chose Gristina as
vineyard manager both for his experience and because they were
“impressed with his obvious knowledge and his willingness and desire to
manage a high-end project from the ground up.”
The wines are being made at Premium Wine Group, the East Coast’s only
custom crush facility, where John Leo first came into the picture.
Ginsburg says, “beyond finding him an easy person to work with, we
found him extremely knowledgeable and committed to making fine wines
that focus on the fruit, not simply oak and other ‘winemaking tricks.’
It was also crucial to us that we have someone who would spend every
day with our wine, not just show up from time to time as consulting
winemakers often do and just give some directions to the Premium staff.
John is at Premium every day and we believe that his ability to taste
and pay constant attention to our wines will allow us to make
consistently better wines.”
“What stands out to me about the fruit of East End Vineyards is the
distinctiveness of the chardonnay fruit and the pure fruit qualities of
the reds,” said Leo, who works with a lot of different North Fork fruit
Asked to describe his winemaking style, Leo – thankfully – eschews
words like “hands-off” and “non-interventionist,” instead saying that
he “(tries) to recognize the best potential of the grapes that are
harvested, extract that character, minimize the shortcomings, and then
blend the different lots of the resulting wines to come up with a drink
that is elegant, interesting, balanced and deceptively attractive. I
like wine that opens up and out and gets more satisfying with every
I’ll be writing later this week about the three wines they currently have available – two 2004 chardonnays (one
reared in stainless steel, the other in French oak) and a 2003 merlot. So stay tuned.