A cross-section of North Fork soil composition, part of a new display at Bedell Cellars

By Lenn Thompson, Executive Editor

In late 2007, wine writer Alice Feiring said about Long Island wine in a story about the "World's Most Overrated Wines" for (now a part of

"The strawberries, potatoes, and corn grown out on Long Island are world-class. But grapes? Not so much (though you've got to give local winemakers credit for their perseverance). The fact is, soils are just too shallow on Long Island and the weather's just too humid to make world-class wine, especially from Merlot and Cabernet."

Feiring isn't alone. Other writers and 'experts' have passed judgment — though not usually in print — on Long Island's soils. In hushed voices, Long Island soils have been dismissed as too shallow, too uniform. I've even heard that some believe grapes are essentially grown hydroponically on Long Island, implying that there is little — if any — terroir on Long Island.

Rich Olsen-Harbich, winemaker at Bedell Cellars say that idea is "ridiculous and not supported by the evidence."

Soil profile top To help educate the public Rich, the author of Long Island's three AVAs more than 25 years ago, has created a display simply titled "Soil Profile of the North Fork." With it, he hopes to show how the diversity — and it really is diverse — of Long Island terroir manifests itself below the ground. "You can