It’s safe to say at this point in Long Island’s 50 year history as a wine region that summer without Summer in a Bottle is like… winter without hot cocoa. Brooklyn without egg creams. England without tea.
Winemaker Roman Roth’s annual pink release (among many, actually—Wölffer has 7 unique rosés; 13 if you include the pink gin, cider versions, verjus and non-alcoholic Spring in a Bottle) has become the stuff of legends.
Hyberbole? Nope. Summer in a Bottle has reached far beyond our shores here, and we’re not just talking North Fork. You can get it in pretty much any state of union. It’s the little wine that could, and for good reason. It’s that perfect storm of a delicious juice and great packaging that combine to create a vibe, a mood, a feeling of a place. Not an easy thing to do.
It didn’t happen under the harsh lighting of a marketing genius’s laboratory of ideas. It started organically, around a table; Roth exchanging thoughts and ideas with Joey and Mark Wölffer. Roth had been making one rosé (imagine?!), the gold label, which he began making in 1992 and is still part of the line-up under the label Estate Rosé. Joey and Mark had just come on board at the winery the year prior, taking the reigns after the passing of their founder father, Christian.
They were all at a fundraiser for the Group for the East End, being held on the winery’s estate grounds. Roman and the Wölffers asked the designer they’d worked with on other packaging to come up with something summery and fun for the ad they took in the event’s program, telling him to come up with something apropos to the wine’s nickname: summer in a bottle. The imagery was all flowers and butterflies swirling around the bottle, pink on a Tiffany blue background. The visual was so striking, Roth said outlaid: “Man, we should make Summer in a Bottle!”
And that was that.
But the thing is, pretty packaging only takes you so far. Summer in a Bottle endures nearly a decade later because it’s good. There have been oh-so many pinks that have hit wine shelves, aimed at the summer crowds in the Hamptons. They look nice, but the juice inside is forgettable at best. The 2022, which released a week or so ago, is as gorgeous as ever: ballet-slipper pink in the glass, the smell of juicy summer nectarines and pink grapefruit hit your nose, along with a little bit of crushed yellow and Bing cherries. When you drink it, its zingy acidity lifts up all that pretty fruit, like a sea spray gently dousing you while riding the waves in a Boston Whaler across the Gardiners Bay.
Grab a bottle (or a case, because you know you’ll be sharing it) at BottleHampton, 850 County Road 39, Southampton, 631-353-3313