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Steve Israel defends Long Island wine after drinking chardonnay from a bag on 'Last Week Tonight'

Steve Israel on 'Last Week Tonight'

Rep. Steve Israel appeared on John Oliver's "Last Week Tonight" to discuss Congressional campaign finance.

Comedian John Oliver took a swipe at Long Island over the weekend, calling its wine “terrible.”

Oliver’s extended riff on Long Island wine was part of a segment about Congressional campaign financing. The comedian was interviewing Rep. Steve Israel, former chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, who has featured Long Island wine at a number of his fundraisers.

Israel rolled with the punches — it’s worth watching the video above to see close-up footage of the congressman squeezing Long Island chardonnay out of a plastic bag.

After listing several wine themed events, Oliver joked that Israel “had an event called 'Chinese food and politics,' where, I’m going to go ahead and guess that you washed down your General Tso’s Chicken with a glass of — “

“No,” Israel interrupted, “You cannot bring Long Island wine to Chinese food.”

“Does Long Island wine not pair well with Chinese food?” Oliver quipped. “What does it pair well with? Street violence?”

Israel refused to give in, standing up for Long Island’s vineyards.

"The Long Island wine industry is no joke,” Israel, who is leaving Congress this year, wrote in an e-mail. “Our vineyards produce award-winning wines, attract more than a million visitors each year, employ hardworking New Yorkers and stimulate our local economy."

Israel did acknowledge, though, that Oliver’s first taste of Long Island wine, “directly from a warm bag of chardonnay in a stuffy D.C. office,” might have been unimpressive

Following the segment, Israel invited Oliver to tour the North Fork.

No word on whether that will happen, but Israel isn’t deterred. “I’ll be sure to raise my glass of rich, full-bodied Long Island sauvignon blanc, say a toast to my missing friend, and pour a little out in his absence,” he told The Point. “Just kidding, you don’t waste Long Island wine.”

This originally appeared in The Point, the editorial board’s daily newsletter about New York politics. Click here to subscribe.

 

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