"I'm only concerned about two things here: land preservation and the quality of the wine. I want people to come here in 1000 years and see the same thing."—Russ McCall
McCall Wines is a family run winery on Long Island's North Fork. We make low yield, quality driven, estate grown wines from our Pinot Noir and Merlot vineyards. You can find us in a handful of New York's finest restaurants or at our tasting room in Cutchogue.
The McCall family has roots in the town of Cutchogue going back to 1902, when the Walker family bought a house at the edge of Down's woods. The property remained in the family. Through the years the Walkers became the Munkenbecks, who then became the McCalls.
A commitment to the preservation of local wild and agricultural land and to our environment in a broader view is integral to our mission.
We are very interested in preserving the local history, landscape, and environment of the North Fork.
In 1996 Russell McCall joined forces with the Peconic Land Trust to save Down's Woods, Fort Corchaug, and the farmland adjacent to his family's property from the threat of development (over 200 acres in total), after which he replanted the corn and potato fields with twenty one acres of vineyards. When he succeeded in that goal, he sold the development rights to our land, guaranteeing that it will remain in a wild, natural state or be devoted to agriculture forever.
The addition of our wind turbine in 2010 has provided our farm with clean wind energy; enough that we can also supply clean power to the Long Island Power Association. With the use of innovative techniques such as recapturing spray, we limit the use of pesticides and herbicides and ensure that they don’t leave the vineyard or affect either the neighboring preserve or our organic grassfed Charolais cattle.
Charolais is a historic breed of cattle originally from France and central Europe. Hailed by continental chefs as the finest beef, Charolais has been served at great restaurants worldwide. At McCall Ranch in Cutchogue, we are raising a pure bred herd using organic and natural practices to make this beef available to the community. No antibiotics, steroids, or hormones will ever be given to this herd. They reproduce naturally and feed on the wild grasses growing on the 100 acre farm. Each year we sell to the North Fork Table and Inn and other local restaurants and retailers, depending on availability.
As for our wine production, we mainly focus on two varietals: Merlot and Pinot Noir. Merlot is one of the widely planted grapes of our region, but pinot is not. When we planted the Pinot in the mid-90s the community thought Russ was crazy. He planted 11 acres on the southern end of the farm, where the soil was sandy, giving it a perfect quality for Pinot: great drainage. Now that the vines are maturing and producing great fruit, we've gotten a very good response from the Pinot. Each year it's made at Millbrook Winery by winemaker John Graziano. Bob Cabral (winemaker of Williams Selyem - which has the same owners as Millbrook) consults.
Merlot is planted in 10 acres on the north end of the farm, where the soil contains more clay. Perfect for the grape, as seen in many towns on the right bank of Bordeaux where this grape is at it's very best. Gilles Martin makes our merlot and merlot based wines locally.
The wines are sold in our tasting room on route 25. The structure was a potato barn, reinforced with concrete buttresses. Then a horse stable, and finally it became the home of McCall Wines. Open April - November, Russ and his fiancee Nicola Plimpton run the tasting room. Authentic rustic charm is the overriding feel. Guests feel very much a part of the farm, as the vineyards come right up to the tasting room lawn. Tractors roll by as the owner pours the tasting flights. The experience is not one of commercialism or forced style, but one of a craftsman sharing his goods.
Recently we were written up in Wine Spectator magazine, the scoring below: 2007 Ben's Blend - 91 points 2007 Merlot - 89 points 2007 Reserve Pinot Noir - 89 points 2010 Reserve Pinot Noir - 87 points 2008 Reserve Merlot - 86 points
"In the charmingly rustic tasting room, I got to sample some of the wines and I was so impressed that I bought a mixed case, which I enjoyed immensely."—Martha Stewart
"If his regular and reserve pinots made from the splendid 2007 vintage are indicators, he's sitting pretty."—Howard G. Goldberg - NYTimes
"Honesty is a mantra for McCall. It reverberates in the handcrafted ambiance of the farm, with its collection of old tools decorating the barn walls, it's new zero-carbon windmill, and grazing Charolais beef cattle." —Louisa Hargrave, North Fork wine pioneer and industry founder
"You can sum me up simply. I'm not going to put our label on it unless it's above average."—Russ McCall
The tasting room is open 12:30pm-5:30pm Thursday through Monday, April through November. 22600 Rt.25 in Cutchogue 631.734.5764