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Long Island Winterfest brings jazz enthusiasts to the East End

Jerene Murphy, of Forest Hills, with Fran Materasso

Jerene Murphy, of Forest Hills, with Fran Materasso and her mother, Alice Materasso, both of the Bronx, listen to the Spherical Flamenco Jazz Trio with Emma Larsson perform at Pellegrini Vineyards in Cutchogue during the sixth annual Long Island Winterfest Jazz on the Vine. (Feb. 16, 2013) Credit: Brittany Wait

Carol and Ray Connor, married 38 years, each held up a glass of chardonnay on Saturday, toasting to a relaxing, wintry weekend filled with flamenco and Brazilian-style jazz music.

“We wanted to come last weekend, but there was too much snow and we couldn’t get out here,” said Carol Connor, 66, of Brentwood. “So this is how we’re making up for it. We’re spending all weekend hopping around to the vineyards to listen to all the jazz bands.”

The couple was among the nearly 70 wine enthusiasts listening to the Harlem-based Spherical Flamenco Jazz Trio with Emma Larsson at Cutchogue’s Pellegrini Vineyards during the sixth annual Long Island Winterfest Jazz on the Vine.

The festival was slated to begin Feb. 8, but opening weekend was cancelled because of the blizzard.

“There’s nothing like sitting back, having a glass of wine and listening to music in the winter,” said Ray Connor, 66, who has attended Winterfest with his wife for the last four years. “This breaks up the long cold winter and gives us something to do.”

After Pellegrini Vineyards, the couple was planning to move on to Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead to catch the Matt Marshak Band.

Long Island Winterfest, which runs weekends through March 17, began in 2006 to increase traffic and business on the East End during the slowest part of the year by offering jazz performances, special events and promotions.

John Larsen, a manager at Pellegrini Vineyards, said it is one of nearly 20  that have been involved since the inception of the festival, and he is delighted to find that more people are making it out each year.

“Especially during this time of year, it’s nice to see so many people come out for this,” said Larsen, 41, of Mattituck. “We’re basically filled to capacity. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend your time than by drinking and listening to jazz on the North Fork.”

Jerene Murphy, of Forest Hills, Queens, sipped on cabernet franc, along with her friend Fran Materasso and Materasso’s mother, Alice, 71, both of the Bronx.

The trio snacked on stuffed olives, slices of salami and mozzarella and flatbread as they listened to the music.

“We’ve been coming here for 10 years and we never miss Winterfest,” Murphy said. “You get cabin fever in the winter and sometimes you just need to get away. I could listen to jazz music all day. It gives this place such a relaxing and mellow ambience.” 

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