The pandemic year will be remembered for many things, most of them not so good. For the Long Island wine community, however, there was a noteworthy bright spot: Montauk Daisy. The newest wine producer to join the community, Montauk Daisy came online to provide a welcome respite from all things 2020. We had the pleasure recently of spending some time with one of the principals of Montauk Daisy, Juan Micielli-Martinez, formerly of Martha Clara Vineyards, to learn a bit about the project, and the wines.
Montauk Daisy is the collaboration of Juan and his wife, Bridget Quinn Micieli-Martinez, a veteran of Clovis Point Vineyard & Winery, Theresa Dilworth, known locally for Comtesse Therese Winery & Bistro, and her husband, Mineo Shimura.
The initial releases from Montauk Daisy include their 2019 Rosé (a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon) and 2019 Chardonnay, which is a blend of both steel- and barrel-fermented wines. Juan said he finds the steel results in a wine that is more fruit=forward, and he likes the blend of new-world and old-world styles. There is also a 2019 red blend featuring Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, as well as a 2020 made from Cabernet Franc and Merlot, which Juan expect will spend “about a year in the barrel.” The red wine will bottle with no capsule, and will use wax as a seal.
Grapes for the wines are grown on Theresa’s vineyard, comprised of around 15 acres. Juan explained that modern planting techniques generally allow for 1200 – 1500 vines per acre, but theirs has 2100. Because of the proximity of the vines to each other, “everything needs to be done by hand,” he said, adding that he believes in minimal intervention in the process.
Juan sees a different approach to winery visits and a wine club when they open for such in 2022. He plans a Private Vine Club where club members will be able to have a shared learning experience, tour the vineyards, work in the fields, and immerse themselves in the wine experience. Members will be able to buy the wines direct from the farm.
As a side note, Juan explained that much like vinifera grapes, as well as Tree (Theresa) and her husband, the Montauk Daisy is a transplant. The flower is originally from Japan. It is a late-blooming flower, usually blooming around harvest time. Juan noted that it makes the perfect connection of Japanese ancestry with Tree and Mineo, and as a link to the past at Martha Clara, which had been owned previously by the Entemann family, who had horses on the farm including one named Montauk Daisy.
A full circle and a new beginning. And a hearty welcome to the old friends making up the new kid on the block