The Hamptons are short on the pink stuff.
Written by Stephanie Krikorian
Stocking up on rosé in the summer in the Hamptons, a bit of a struggle. So is Post-Traumatic Rosé-Shortage-Disorder. I remember walking into Park Place wines in East Hampton in mid-August a few summers back and the rosé shelf at the front of the store, once stacked full of all sorts of glorious clear bottles filled with different shades of pink French and Italian rosé, was empty. It was jarring. I’d never seen that before. There was no rosé in the front of the store. No rosé in the back of the store. No rosé, therefore, in my fridge at home. To be certain my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me, I took a photo of that empty and sad shelf and later showed it to many friends, each more horrified than the last. We were on the brink, I realized in that moment, of a full-fledged wine crisis, the entire Hamptons was about to experience its worst kind of drought. In true Hamptons fashion, it was suddenly every man and woman for themselves, everyone scrambling to get houseguests from the city to mule six or more bottles out to us when they came to visit.
The previous summer, Wolffer’s then newish Summer in the Bottle sold out early in the season. That was the roar before the tsunami. The tip of the iceberg. Wine supply was about to get dangerously low.
Fool me once. Before the 2018 beach-slash-rosé season began, and I made a panicked purchase, shipping cases home during a visit to the Margerum’s Santa Barbera showroom, vowing never to run out mid-season again. That’s when I learned I wasn’t alone. They told me they receive many panicked calls from the Hamptons asking for shipments east.
Our obscene consumption habits eventually caused a wine ripple felt on the opposite coast. We drink so much rosé in the Hamptons, we basically forced some California winemakers to produce enough rosé to help quench our summer thirst. The French, even the genius marketers at Whispering Angel, apparently weren’t quite keeping up.
Santa Barbara winemaker Doug Margerum of Margerum Wine Company said demand for their rosé climbs every year, not just because of the Hamptons, but as more people discover the joy of drinking it. “We can’t keep up with the demand,” he said. “Every season we up the amount we make and think we make enough but it sells out in every format. We make cans and they sell out, we make half bottles and they sell out, we make magnums and 3 liters and they sell out.”
Here in the Hamptons, it should never have gotten so dire. Long Island wineries produce some delicious pink wines. Wollfer Estate in Sagaponack offers a fleet of different rosés ranging in price. Bridgehampton’s Channing Daughters makes several different types of rosé, including one with Cabernet Franc, one with Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah. On the North Fork of Long Island, Croteaux Vineyards dedicates its entire existence to growing grapes to produce rosé. They produce a couple of delicious sparkling rosé as well—one with merlot grapes and one with Cabernet Franc.
This year, hip to all the pent-up pandemic-angst party in them, Hamptonites emergency measures have been set into motion. Among them, Fresh Direct now has a Rosé Express van that promises to get (emergency) rosé to your door in two hours. Still, the rumors re-emerge every August, whispers on the beach that one wine store was short, or one restaurant was sold out of something. But most of us have learned our lesson and will never be caught short again. My fridge is stocked. For that reason, I was feeling smug with multiple bottles of pink wine still to drink. But then I just read now there’s a champagne shortage out here. Note to houseguests heading to the East End: SOS. Don’t show up without a couple of bottles of the pink stuff in your bag, but also whatever bubbly you can get your hands on.