For those who miss summer days at camp, two North Fork bed-and-breakfast owners -- Darolyn Augusta, owner of Harvest Inn in Peconic, and Connie Ellis, owner of Ellis House in Southold -- have created “Wine Camp.”
The four-day camp, which started seven years ago and welcomed its latest class Monday, gives attendees a hands-on educational experience in winemaking and attracts people from across the country, as well as Long Islanders.
“The wine is a very bonding experience,” Augusta said. “It’s more than just educational. It’s a great vacation.”
To that end, many couples make the excursion. Pete Gerike and Carol Rudin, husband-and-wife amateur winemakers from Whiting, Ind., were planning on a trip to the Napa Valley of California, but were so impressed by the information on the Wine Camp’s website they chose to come to Long Island instead.
Gerike, a facilities manager by trade, who started making wine because of an overabundant pear tree in his yard, says wine provides more than just a nice diversion.
He describes it as “a step towards sanity.”
Joel and Kim Goldberg, of Baltimore, are also now amateur winemakers who have a different goal. According to Joel Goldberg, ”Our lifetime goal is to have our own winery and vineyard. It’s a long-term project.”
Wine Camp visited Paumanok Vineyards in Aquebogue and Sherwood House Vineyards in Jamesport on Monday.
At Paumanok, campers learned about growing and fermentation. At Sherwood House, campers were treated to a talk by winemaker Gilles Martin as they learned how various components of wine are tasted.
Classes scheduled for later days in the camp include the chemistry of winemaking, blending and sustainability.
Joe and Fran Lasker, of Center Moriches, said they’ve been visiting Long Island’s wine country for about 20 years.
“We wanted to get to know more about the people producing the wines and get a look behind the scenes,” Joe Lasker said.
Dates for 2013 Wine Camps are already set. In September of next year, a more “in-depth” Wine Camp Part 2 -- Wine Camp Part 1 is a prerequisite -- will be offered, Augusta said.
For more information, visit winecamp.org.
Above: Paumanok Vineyards owner Ursula Massoud explains the fermentation process to people attending Wine Camp, a four-day program on the North Fork that teaches people about the winemaking process. (July 16, 2012)