The McCall family have been growing and selling Pinot Noir and Merlot on Long Island’s North Fork since the mid 1990s in the hamlet of Cutchogue, where they have their family home. While many wineries aim to produce and sell as many wines as possible, the McCalls say “we weren’t interested in putting our name on a bottle unless it was great.” 2007 was the first vintage they produced. They continue to aim to “find one or two things you are good at and do them well.” For the McCalls, this means growing only Pinot Noir and Merlot following a french-influenced model that results in high quality, low-yield wines.
McCall Wines is actually made up of two vineyards. The original vineyard that Russell McCall planted in 1997 is referred to as Corchaug Estate. This vineyard was established on land rescued from development that borders the historic Fort Corchaug site and Down’s Woods preserve. The estate also includes McCall’s tasting room, an existing barn reclaimed as a place for visitors.
The southern end of the vineyard is planted with 11 acres of Pinot Noir, comprised of four clones selected from the best French clonal varieties grown in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. This is to date the largest successful Pinot Noir vineyard on Long Island.
On the north end of our farm the soil is rich with clay much like the best vineyards of Bordeaux. Here McCall has ten acres planted with three clones of Merlot.
Based on the french tradition, their vines are spaced closer than most in the region. They take great efforts to be meticulous and sustainable farmers, operating on the idea that great wines begin in the field.
Just north of Corchaug Estate (across the main road and behind the Macari tasting room) lies a vineyard planted by Gristina in 1983. The neglected old vine Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay plantings were taken over by the McCalls in 2011.
In 2010, McCall Wines became the first wind-powered farm in Long Island, blazing the trail for many other local farmers. In the same year, McCall began ranching organic grass-fed cattle, which can be seen grazing in the fields alongside his vineyards.