State Senator Anthony Palumbo, center, with Salim Massoud, left, and Kareem Massoud of three-time 'Winery of the Year' winner Paumanok Vineyards in Aquebogue on May 27. Photo: Denise Civiletti

State Senator Anthony Palumbo presented Paumanok Vineyards in Aquebogue Thursday with a Senate resolution recognizing Paumanok for its “Winery of the Year” award from the New York Wine and Grape Foundation in March. Palumbo also presented a resolution to Pindar Vineyards, winner of the Governor’s Cup award and to some of the eight other North Fork gold medalists at the 35th Annual New York Wine Classic this year.

This was the third “Winery of the Year” award for the 127-acre estate vineyard and winery in Aquebogue, which was founded in 1983 by Charles and Ursula Massoud and is one of the oldest vineyards in the Long Island wine region.

Today, Paumanok is run by the founder’s three sons, Salim Massoud, administrative manager, Nabeel Massoud vineyard manager and Kareem Massoud, winemaker.

The Massoud brothers hosted Palumbo and representatives of other North Fork top award-winning wineries on the deck of their Main Road winery Thursday afternoon for a toast to the region’s success at the competition.

Paumanok Vineyards won five “best in class” awards at the competition: Best Red Wine (Assemblage 2015), Best Sparkling Wine (Blanc de Blancs 2016), Best Red Blend (Assemblage Red Blend 2015), Best Sauvignon Blanc (Sauvignon Blanc 2019) and Best Traditional Method (Blanc De Blancs 2016), which were all gold medalists. It also won gold medals for its 2014 Tuthill Lane Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and 2019 Festival Chardonnay, as well as silver medals for its 2019 Festival Chardonnay, 2014 Grand Vintage, Merlot and 2019 Riesling.

The “Winery of the Year” award is for the best overall showing based on the level and number of awards in relation to entries.

Senator Anthony Palumbo on the deck at Paumanok vineyards in Aquebogue with representatives of Paumanok, Pindar and Osprey’s Dominion vineyards, all among the top award-winners in the 35th Annul NY Wine Classic. Photo: Denise Civiletti

Pindar Vineyards, founded in the early 1980s by the late Dr. Herodotus (Dan) Damianos is owned and operated by his family, Pindar Damianos, Alexander Damianos and Alethea Damianos-Conroy. The 500-acre vineyard based in Peconic, produces 70,000 cases of wine annually, making it the largest vineyard on Long Island.

The Governor’s Cup recognizes the “Best of Show” or top prize of all entries in the New York Wine Classic. Pindar Vineyards for its 2019 Dr. Dan’s Signature Collection, Gewurztraminer, for which Palmer won the competition’s only platinum medal this year for Best White Wine.

Pindar also won a gold medal for its 2019 Dr. Dan’s Signature Collection White Blend.

The eight other North Fork gold medalists memorialized in a senate resolution introduced by Palumbo were:

  • McCall Wines, Cutchogue (2014 Reserve Corchaug Estate Pinot Noir, 2016 Reserve North Ridge Vineyard Chardonnay, 2015 North Ridge Vineyard Cabernet Franc, 2013 Ben’s Blend Corchaug Estate);
  • The Lenz Winery, Peconic (2013 Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon, 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2017 Estate Selection Malbec, NV Firefly Rose Pet Nat)
  • Osprey’s Dominion, Peconic (2015 Cabernet Franc, 2014 Cabernet Franc, 2013 Reserve Merlot);
  • Sparkling Pointe, Southold (2015 Seduction Blanc De Blancs Chardonnay, 2018 Topaz Imperial, 2017 Noir De Noirs Pinot Noir);
  • Coffee Pot Cellars, Cutchogue (2015 Heritage Red Blend);
  • Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard, Baiting Hollow (2019 Savannah Rose);
  • Palmer Vineyard, Riverhead (2015 Old Roots Merlot);
  • Suhru Wines, Cutchogue (2019 Pinot Grigio).

“These become part of the legislative record. These resolutions are now memorialized in the history of the State of New York, so their great-grandchildren can search the database and these resolutions will still come alive. They’ll still be there,” Palumbo said.

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.