As North Fork wine was being poured during Monday’s inaugural luncheon on the occasion of the country’s first African-American president taking his second oath of office, this time on Martin Luther King Day, the Cutchogue winery that produced that vintage was holding a celebration of its own.
Among the first to arrive at Bedell Cellars, whose 2009 merlot was served in D.C., was East Marion resident Sarah Malone. As an African-American who remembers the racial strife of the civil rights movement, the day was an especially poignant reminder of the history made four years ago.
“It’s for real now,” Ms. Malone said, “The first election was special, but this one is even better.”
She said the president gave a “fabulous” inaugural address. “He made reference to everything, that he knows he is being sworn in there because of Martin Luther King Jr’s foot soldiers,” she said. “I’ve been sitting at home watching this all unfold, even the election. But this, to be out with people, makes me feel like I’m there.”
Ms. Malone was one of the many at Bedell Cellars watching the inaugural celebration on the tasting room’s television, sipping wine while members of the United States Supreme Court and Congress also enjoyed a North Fork wine at the inaugural luncheon.
Bedell’s winemaker, Richard Olsen-Harbich, thanked Senator Charles Schumer for adding their wine to the menu. He also acknowledged those who also had their hand in the wine’s creation.
“Kelly Urbanik, Kip Bedell and Seferino Cotzojay started this wine and made the initial decisions about how it was going to be fermented and some of the blending requirements,” Mr. Olsen-Harbich said. “When I came here in 2010, the first thing I did was bottle the 2008 wines, so this wine was in barrels at the time. Drew Sepielli, one of our interns and cellar master in 2011, worked with me from summer of 2010 till last year and also spent a lot of time taking care of this wine, so it was truly a team effort.”
He said the choice of Bedell’s wine at the luncheon speaks well for the entire region.
“This achievement gives our region a seat at the table with the best in the country and I think we deserve it,” he said. “I’ve been doing this a long time and seeing this happen after so long is just incredible.”