News articles from 2003 and earlier (click on title of article or scroll down):
- For 2004 articles, click here
- For 2005 articles, click here
- For 2006 articles, click here
Owner, Vineyard Manager, Winemaker," LONGISLANDWINECOUNTRY.COM,
Roy Bradbrook, October 1, 2003
When Theresa Dilworth is not deeply immersed in the
intricate international tax affairs of one of the world's
leading pharmaceutical companies, she is either engaged
in keeping the administrative side of her winemaking
enterprise up to date or at weekends doing what for
her is very obviously a labor of love as she tends the
10 planted acres of the La Clos Thérèse
vineyard in Aquebogue that she co-owns with two Japanese
business ladies resident in Japan who visit a couple
of times a year but have regular contact each week.
After completing her Masters Degree in International
Law at the London School of Economics and starting to
work in Manhattan, she and her husband started spending
time out on the East End of Long Island and then built
a house out here. Theresa admits that she has always
loved to garden from a child growing up in Lloyd Harbor
and that she and her brother made wine and beer at home.
She envisaged one day growing grapes and making wine
on a somewhat larger scale but soon realized that on
the East End smaller parcels of land were unobtainable
or zoned for building so she ended up, with her partners,
buying 40 acres of farmland.
The size of the project was quite daunting. Theresa
explained that she had no real knowledge of farming
on this scale with the need for tractors and other forms
of mechanical equipment. Then came the time to put all
the research she had made into the intricacies of viticulture
and wine making into practice. Theresa is very obviously
not someone who follows the crowd. She spent time in
France touring wineries and talking to many people and
engaged a consultant who specializes in soil analysis
as well as being a qualified oenologist. One of the
key factors to emerge from this was that the first grape
vines she had planted according to local practices and
advice the consultant told her were on the wrong side
of the property so they were all transplanted to the
preferred location. Theresa also came to the conclusion
that to produce the type and quality of wines she is
striving for, the spacing of the vines should be in
accord with French custom, which is much closer than
is the norm on Long Island. This close spacing of 1
x 1.5 metres results in around 2500 plants per acre
compared to the usual 900 to 1200. Apart from the increased
cost of planting each acre the narrow spacing brings
with it problems in selection of narrow width tractors
and other plant.
Another area where Theresa showed her individualism
is in her choice of Cabernet Sauvignon as her main varietal,
rather than Merlot. Cabernet Sauvignon is regarded as
one of the most difficult grapes to ripen fully on Long
Island but Theresa is convinced that her choice of planting
site and style of viticulture will overcome these potential
Next year will start to see how well founded her plans
are for that is when the first harvest from her own
vines should be ready. So far the wines marketed under
her label of "Comtesse Thérèse" have been made by her at Premium Wine Group's custom
crush facility using grapes bought from other Long Island
growers. Again Theresa, in her winemaker persona, learned
from extensive study and also friendly advice from Russell
Hearn and John Leo at Premium.
This year she released her first wines, three Merlots
and a Rose, where again her individualism shows in the
choice of Hungarian oak barrels for one of the Merlots.
These are all available at the Tasting Room in Peconic.
Sales are also taking place through an increasing number
of liquor stores and restaurants on Long Island and
Le Clos Thérèse, owned by Theresa Dilworth
and two other women, with Theresa as vineyard manager,
winemaker and business manager, with a vineyard crew
of two women and one solitary man and with a woman sales
manager, using vineyard techniques more traditional
to France and concentrating on one of the more difficult
grapes to grow has many challenges to meet and overcome
but when asked about the longer term, Theresa Dilworth
not unexpectedly has very firm goals and expectations
"This is very much a commercial venture, in which
my partners and I have a considerable amount of capital
invested. We are in this for the very long term and
we intend to run the business in a profitable manner
but we all know that we have to have patience. We lost
some fruit this year from our vines due to mildew early
on and then from birds in September when some netting
became loose after the winds associated with hurricane
Isabel and we have learned a lot from these mistakes.
Long term I want our wines to gain both national and
international recognition. We want to be part of the
drive to get New York City wine drinkers really enthused
about Long Island wines. I also have the objective of
seeing our wines receive a high 90's rating from acknowledged
sources such as Robert Parker and Wine Spectator."
La Comtesse Thérése
Current wine releases:
2001 Rose $14
2001 Hungarian Oak Merlot $15
2001 Traditional Merlot $18
2001 Chateau Reserve Merlot $25
La Comtesse Thérèse wines are available
at the Tasting Room in Peconic, or on line at www.LCTwinery.com
© longislandwinecountry.com, October 1, 2003
As the Seine," THE NEW YORK TIMES, Howard G. Goldberg,
Sunday, September 14, 2003
LONG ISLAND VINES As French As the Seine
The Francophilia of Theresa K. Dilworth, a new North
Fork producer, seems as pronounced as the French tricolor.
Ms. Dilworth's vineyard is called Le Clos Thérèse
(in France, a clos is an enclosed vineyard).
Her brand is Comtesse Thérèse. And St.-Emilion's
main grape is central to her first major releases, three
She began planting a 10-acre vineyard, at Union Avenue
in Aquebogue, in 2000. It consists of seven acres of
cabernet sauvignon, two of merlot and some orange Muscat
intended for semidry and dessert wines. The agriculture
is mostly organic, she said.
Ms. Dilworth's merlots - solid, intensely flavorful
reds - only hint at her stylistic ambitions, because
the fruit was bought elsewhere on the East End. Once
all her grapes are farmed under her full control, she
can more thoroughly define the Comtesse Thérèse
wine style. The hands-on winemaking is done by others
at the Premium Wine Group, a custom-production winery
The first indications are positive. Ms Dilworth's 2001
Hungarian Oak Merlot ($15) - full of dark fruits, almost
sweet, agreeably woody - shows hints of lead pencil
and licorice. Her 2001 Traditional Merlot ($18; half
bottle $10) is heavily concentrated, smooth, boldly
flavorsome and smoky. It needs a beef dish to soften
its firm tannins.Her best wine is the aromatic 2001
Chåteau Reserve Merlot ($25): smooth, silky and
plush. Look for flavors of dark fruits (some cabernet
has been added), hints of chocolate in the aroma, and
licorice and cinnamon in the taste. All possess more
depth than their youth lets them display; a year more
in the bottle will unlock the nuances. Decant them now.
In addition, a virtually dry 2001 merlot rosé ($14), with a tea-rose bouquet, is berryish and amiable.
Ms. Dilworth, a 42-year-old tax lawyer for Pfizer in
Manhattan, is the principal owner; two Japanese businesswomen
in Tokyo are partners.
In 2004, Ms. Dilworth plans to release about 100 cases
of 2002 cabernet, which was made from purchased North
Fork grapes and is now being aged in French oak. She
also has a 2002 barrel-fermented chardonnay maturing
in Russian oak and expects to make a 2003 barrel-fermented
chardonnay, all from North Fork grapes. Overall, about
600 cases of the 2001's were made; 800 cases of the
2002's are unreleased; 2,000 cases are projected by
The merlots and rosé can be found at the Tasting
Room, 2885 Peconic Lane, Peconic. Sales information:
(631) 765-6404.To reach Ms. Dilworth: (631) 871-9194;
tdilworth@LCTwinery.com; and www.LCTwinery.com.
HOWARD G. GOLDBERG
© The New York Times, Sunday September 14,
"The Countess Arrives: Comtesse
Thérèse Releases First Wines," THE
SUFFOLK TIMES, Gwendolyn Groocock, September 4, 2003
AQUEBOGUE - Vineyard owner and winemaker Theresa Dilworth
has just released her first wines, the latest in a wave
of small labels striving to up the ante in exclusivity
and, say the boutique producers, quality in Long Island
Comtesse Thérèse is the name of 650 cases
of three styles of merlot and one merlot rosé,
all of the 2001 vintage. There's the Hungarian Oak Merlot,
which was aged in barrels from Hungary, the country
where historically the French obtained the finest barrels.
The Traditional Merlot is a Bordeaux-style wine, aged
12 months in a combination of French and American oak
barrels. The Château Reserve Merlot is the top
of the line, blended with 5% cabernet sauvignon and
aged 18 months is French oak.
"From the feedback I'm getting, people like them
for different reasons," said Ms. Dilworth. "The
Hungarian Oak is something a little novel, and the Traditional
is smooth and drinkable now. In the Reserve, the smokiness
of the oak really comes out; it's a big wine that will
improve with age."
The rosé is made from juice "bled off,"
or lightly pressed from the merlot grapes, a process
that some feel improves a heavy red wine by removing
liquid and thus allowing for a greater concentration
when the must macerates and ferments, releasing color
and flavor from the skins.Comtesse Thérèse
wines are made from grapes grown at Martha Clara Vineyards
in Jamesport and vinted at Premium Wine Group in Mattituck,
with Ms. Dilworth making stylistic decisions and joining
in the hands-on winemaking.
Le Clos Thérèse, the 40-acre vineyard
in Aquebogue owned by Ms. Dilworth and two partners,
and an adjoining 27 acres owned by Ms. Dilworth and
family members has, between the two, about 20 acres
planted in two-thirds cabernet and the rest in merlot.
The first vines took root in 2000, and will yield a
small first harvest this year. Eventually, Ms. Dilworth
wants to try to produce a winning cabernet entirely
from her own grapes. "I would love to keep these
first grapes separate, but we'll have to see how they
come out," she said.
Ms. Dilworth, who during the week is a tax attorney
for Pfizer in Manhattan, tends the vineyards on the
weekend. "It's a totally different world in the
fresh air and sunshine," she said. "I like
the field work it's a great break from the law
job and it keeps me in good shape."
At the vineyard, the grapes are planted close together,
a meter by a meter and a half, after the European model.
This allows a field to produce the same yield of grapes
as those more generously spaced even if each plant is
allowed to ripen only a few bunches of grapes. Again,
concentration of wine flavor and color is the goal.
Small vineyards yielding only a few hundred cases under
a boutique label are a growing part of the Long Island
wine industry, which now encompasses 3,000 acres of
vineyards with about 30 wineries producing over a half
million cases a year.
Comtesse Thérèse is the fourth label to
be featured at the Tasting Room in Peconic, the region's
first multi-producer tasting and retail establishment,
run by Robin and Karen Meredith. Alongside the Merediths'
Broadfields Wine Cellars and Comtesse Thérèse
wines are offerings from Sherwood House and Schneider
Vineyards. Comtesse Thérèse wines are
also on the menu at La Cuvée bistro in Greenport,
and will be appearing in wine shops here and in the
city, said Ms. Dilworth.
© The Suffolk Times, September 4, 2003
Tastings," THE NEW YORK TIMES, Howard G. Goldberg,
Sunday June 1, 2003
Four small North Fork producers that do not own wineries
have pooled their wines in a sales room in Peconic.
Called the Tasting Room, the outlet carries wines from
three new and relatively unknown producers: Broadfields
Wine Cellars, in Southold; Le Clos Thérèse,
in Aquebogue (in France, a clos is an enclosed vineyard);
and Sherwood House Vineyards, in Mattituck. The fourth
is the well-known Schneider Vineyards, in Riverhead.
The Tasting Room, which opened May 21, is owned and
managed by Robin Meredith and Karen Meredith, who have
grown grapes on the East End since 1998 and own Broadfields.
The store, Mr. Meredith said, "gives smaller, quality-oriented
wineries an opportunity to connect directly with the
public, and it gives consumers a place to sample and
purchase wines that might otherwise be difficult to
Mr. Meredith expects four Comtesse Thérèse
wines to arrive this month: a 2001 rosé ($14),
a 2001 Hungarian Oak Merlot ($15), a 2001 Traditional
Merlot ($18) and a 2001 Château Reserve Merlot
© The New York Times, Sunday June 1, 2003
Island's First Multi-Winery Tasting Room Opens in Peconic," DAN'S PAPERS, Susan W. Simm, May 30, 2003
an unintentional nod to the past, a new tasting room
has opened on Peconic Lane just steps from the old purple-shuttered
offices of the late Michael Todd's popular Grapezine
magazine, the first North Fork publication to focus
entirely on the local wine industry. But any connection
to the past ends there, as this room, a multi-winery
tasting facility, is the first of its kind in our wine
by Robin and Karen Meredith of Broadfields Wine Cellars
in Southold, The Tasting Room features, in addition
to Broadfields wines, vintages from Sherwood House,
Schneider Vineyards, and (coming soon) newcomer Comtesse
Thérèse, all of which,
for varying reasons, lack their own tasting room facilities.
Robin, "This is the only place on Long Island where
any of these wines are available for tasting. Here,
you can taste wine that you can't taste anywhere else."
Tasting Room is a stylish but understated renovation
of an old double storefront that shares a block in Peconic,
between the North Road and Route 25, with the tiny Peconic
Post Office and two majestic Victorian B&Bs. By
nature of its somewhat off-the-beaten path location,
it is a destination unto itself. But given its goal
of friendly exclusivity, that's not necessarily a bad
© Dan's Papers, May 30, 2003
Tasting Room - The Newest Place to Taste Wines on Long
Island," LONGISLANDWINECOUNTRY.COM, Christopher J. Davies,
May 30, 2003
is an excerpt from the article on May 30, 2003, for
complete article click
OPEN! THE TASTING ROOM. On May 21,
2003, The Tasting Room opened its doors in Peconic,
the heart of the LI Wine Country. This brilliant concept,
already in practice in Napa and Sonoma, blends a wine
store with a tasting room showcasing small production
wines. It seems appropriate that Long Island, "The Napa
of the East," now has a place to taste boutique wines
under one roof, near some of Long Island's most respected
and established wineries. Consumers may also purchase
mixed cases of these wines for home consumption...qualifying
for a 10% case discount to boot!
Tasting Room is located on Peconic Avenue, a north/south
road that crosses between Sound Avenue and Main Road
in Peconic. They are located steps away from Peconic's
postage stamp-sized Post Office, as well as the Long
Island Railroad crossing. Less than a mile away on Main
Road are Osprey's Dominion Vineyards, Raphael, Lenz
of PWG's boutique wineries are now showcased at The
Tasting Room, which offers tastings and sales of wines
produced by Schneider Vineyards, Sherwood House Vineyards
and newcomer Broadfields Vineyards, which released their
wines with the opening of The Tasting Room.
Room owners Robin and Karen Meredith also operate Broadfields.
Ms. Meredith is an attorney and co-author of the application
for the Long Island Appellation. Her husband Robin is
a management consultant who runs The Tasting Room. The
Merediths own an 18-acre vineyard estate in Southold
planted exclusively with red grapes, primarily Merlot
and Cabernet Franc. Broadfields wines were made at PWG
under the supervision of French-born winemaker Gilles
Martin. Mr. Martin has earned a great reputation for
his award-winning wines for Macari Vineyards and Sherwood
House; he recently became winemaker for Martha Clara
Tasting Room offers tasting flights consisting of up
to six different wines; visitors may taste recommended
flights or create their own flights for 75 cents per
wine. Robin Meredith commented, "You can get wines here
that you can not get anywhere else. In some cases we
are the exclusive tasting room for these wines".
Meredith plans to continue looking at any new projects.
My guess is that he'll have plenty of new wines to choose
from in the coming years.
new producer, Ms. Theresa Dilworth of Le Clos Thérèse
Vineyards of Mattituck, plans to release her wines this
summer. There are four different Comtesse Thérèse
wines due for release shortly; 3 different styles of
estate grown Merlot and a rosé will be featured
at the Tasting Room. Le Clos Thérèse logo
is already stenciled on The Tasting Rooms window along
with the other producers' brands.
trip to the North Fork warrants a stop at The Tasting
Room. It's housed in an old restored retail store that
has been retrofitted with wine racks and a tasting bar.
Not a glitzy place, but highly functional and convenient.
You will find some delicious new wines to tantalize
to Make Bordeaux Wine: Japanese Descent Lawyer on Long
Island," ASAHI SHINBUN, North American edition, Kaoru
Ishiguro, December 7, 2002
JAPANESE DESCENT LAWYER IN LONG ISLAND
of New York State releasing the fist "La Comtesse" in
the coming spring.
York State is one of the biggest wine areas, next only
to the West Coast in the United States. Theresa Dilworth
(41), a lawyer whose mother is a Japanese, is one who
got hooked on wine-making. She spends her weekends in
her vineyard on Long Island and is releasing her first
wine in the coming spring. "My dream is to make the same level as Bordeaux wine," says energetic Theresa.
started the vineyard with two other Japanese partners.
Theresa and Chizuko Tomita, one of the partners, used
to work together at one of the major accounting firms
in New York. They purchased a 160,000 square meter (about
40 acres) pumpkin farm in Long Island.
Island's soil and climate are similar to Bordeaux's.
She visited Bordeaux many times and met a local wine
consultant who gave her advice that "Merlot and Cabernet
Sauvignon will grow well." These are the major grapes
for Bordeaux red wines. She ordered nursery plants from
California and planted.
summer, she spent more than 10 hours per day every weekend
sitting and entwining baby vine trees to wires in the
vineyard, as this will be a discriminating factor for
good grape harvesting.
will be done by a company that specializes in fermenting
and maturing. Her first release of wine next spring
will be named "La Comtesse (meaning Countess) Thérèse."
by Yuni Han, December 16, 2002
© ASAHI SHINBUN
on the Vine: Hundreds of Newly Planted Acres Promise
Growth for Wine Industry," (excerpt) NEWSDAY, Alan J.
Wax, July 17, 2000
Dilworth is not a Francophile, but her newly planted
North Fork vineyard definitely has a French theme.
40-acre property, a former pumpkin farm along Route
105 in Riverhead that she purchased earlier this year
with her father and two Japanese partners, has been
dubbed Le Clos Thérèse - French for Theresa's
French are at the top of their art...in terms of wine," said Dilworth, a tax lawyer in Manhattan for Pfizer.
She said she believes that by using French methods she
will be able to find what she believes is missing from
Long Island wines.
vineyard will have more than just a French name. Each
plot, each gentle slope, has its own name, too. In French,
of course. Each name reflects the variations of the
land. Her 1-acre pinot noir plot, planted this spring,
is called Premier Clos, or first field. A hill with
more-sandy soil has been called the Cote Nord Est, or
northeast hill, and next year will be planted with cabernet
sauvignon. The Petite Cote, or small hill, where the
soil is drier, will be planted with syrah. The Cote
Mileiu, or middle hill, will be an acre of merlot.
French theme continues. Her vines are spaced a meter
apart with 1.5 meters separating each row, as in France.
Dilworth also has hired a French viticultural consultant.
The grapes she intends to plant will all be French varietals
that she said will be grown using French techniques.
has to have a model [for grape growing]. I don't want
to follow the California model. I don't want to follow
the upstate model," Dilworth said. "The French model
was closest in terms of our climate. Also, they have
a really great commitment to quality and a long tradition."
who studied French in high school, has already made
two trips to France since her interest in owning a vineyard
intensified late last year, visiting both Bordeaux and
Burgundy, France's great grape-growing regions. She
leaves on another journey next week.
also favors French wines "because they have a lot of
finesse." She said she hopes to reproduce that quality
in her own wines 10 years from now.
has become savvy about the fine details of growing wine
grapes. "I've spent hundreds of hours and only in the
last few months," she said. "I read about grape growing
- books, magazines, the Internet...I think there are
some secrets there to be learned."
said it may take up to 10 years to plant the entire
property. Like others new to the region's viticultural
business, Dilworth is aiming high. "I'd like to see
if I can do it better," she said.
Bordeaux," THE NEWS-REVIEW, Tim Kelly, June 1, 2000
- Only whip thin, the newly planted vines stand supported
by a protective sheathing of blue plastic tubing. They
share the field with more sturdy wooden posts that will
hold the wires that will hold the maturing pinot noir
vines above the ground and in the sunlight.
view offered by a quick drive-by of the former pumpkin
farm on the east side of Route 105 seems like that of
any of the other new vineyards sprouting up along the
length of the North Fork. But looks can be deceiving.
The owners of these grape plants say their place will
be unlike any other on the East End.
was once known as the Schotsky property is now Le Clos
Thérèse, a small private vineyard. While
most of the region's grape growers have adopted the
California model of vineyard design, Le Clos Thérèse
is following the Bordeaux example. That means rows of
less than half as far apart as in most local vineyards
and an emphasis on a smaller grouping of varieties.
year they planted just one acre. Five more will go to
grapes next year.
not so concerned with huge commercial plots with long,
gigantic rows with everything done by tractor", said
Theresa Dilworth, the vineyard's namesake and one of
its four owners. "For us, a one-acre plot is plenty
land can never be developed. Last year, Suffolk County
paid nearly a half million dollars to purchase the building
rights to 62.84 acres then owned by Melville attorney
Arnold Schotsky. The Le Clos Thérèse group
purchased 40 of those acres. That includes a 3.5 acre
parcel holding full development rights where a winery
building could rise.
the 1950s, the land belonged to investors who bet, incorrectly,
that the state would eventually acquire it to extend
the Long Island Expressway.
new owners looked specifically for land included in
either the town or county farmland preservation program.
They paid $10,000 an acre for the protected fields and
twice as much for the other 3.5 acres.
wasn't the only factor. Their research showed average
temperatures in Riverhead to be slightly higher than
in farm areas further east. That, Ms. Dilworth said,
is important in growing Bordeaux reds, which take longer
to ripen than other varieties.
want to ripen our stuff early, in the Indian summer
when it's nice and warm and dry," she said. In some
years with less than optimum growing conditions, area
growers delay harvesting their red varieties until November.
That's risky, since a sudden storm or quick frost can
cause extensive crop damage.
long-term goal is for Le Clos Thérèse
to produce a quality "cult wine" of a very limited vintage.
One marketing option is to "lease" rows of vines to
Japanese investors, who would then receive a proportionate
share of the wine.
more immediate concern is developing the acreage by
the Bordeaux design. That includes following the French
concept of "terroir," which seeks to closely match vines
with site and climate.
area is to be a separate "clos," French for vineyard,
or "cote," which means slope. If possible, they'll avoid
© THE NEWS-REVIEW