Onabay Vineyards is a new name on the North Fork of Long Island, but it has a long history. The vineyard, now over 25 years old, is part of a larger, historic farm owned by the Anderson family. Today the property encompasses over 180 acres of fertile fields, meadows, and woods as well as over a mile of bay and creek frontage. It is a wondrous, peaceable land of great horned owls, deer, osprey, herons and shorebirds. Striped bass, bluefish and flounder, clams, scallops and oysters abound in the tidal creeks and the deeper water.
The North Fork’s temperate climate offer superb conditions for viticulture. The surrounding waters of Peconic Bay, Richmond Creek, and Long Island Sound create a long and warm growing season– sunny and warm in the summer, cooling gradually in the fall. Winter frost typically come deep into November, giving wine grapes ample time to fully ripen. The soils combine sand and loam, clay and gravel, and have over the centuries nurtured crops such as rhubarb, potatoes, spinach and brussel sprouts. This generation prefers the challenges and rewards of growing wine grapes.
Onabay Vineyards’ nineteen acres are dedicated to growing the best Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Chardonnay grapes the vintage allows. Onabay combines original plantings from the 1990s with more recent high-density plantings of the highest quality clonal selections. This synthesis gives Onabay the advantage of consistently harvesting balanced, flavorful grapes that surpass the region’s expectations.
Brad Anderson is committed to growing, producing, and bottling world-class wines with the help of a very talented team, including vintner Bruce Schneider, winemaker/grape grower John Leo, and viticulturist, Bill Ackermann. Francesca Anderson, a renowned botanical artist, created the drawings of herons that make the Onabay labels so distinctive. Daughter, Mia C. Anderson’s poems also grace the labels. A published poet, Mia’s love of natural history and environmental themes lend themselves perfectly to the Onabay mission.
Chiara Anderson Edmands oversees the marketing of Onabay Vineyards. She and her husband, Ben, delight in pairing the family wines with the delicious bounty of the North Fork. And their three children are growing up immersed in the natural magic of this land, where winter snow leads to spring blossoms, and summer exuberance yields sweet ripe grapes.
Two generations of Andersons are now involved in artisanal winemaking. The third generation may soon be prepared to continue that commitment.