In the summer of 1991, Reilly Cellars was born when Joe Reilly purchased and converted a potato farm into a vineyard. Poetic isn’t it, that an Irish American would embark on such an endeavor? For Joe the idea of farming, and building a vineyard began in his youth. Growing up in Islip Terrace, Joe remembers walking home from school, picking and eating grapes fresh off the vine. Of course, farming appealed to Joe’s traditional Irish roots and after a tour of duty in the NAVY and a career with the F.A.A., the opportunity to grow grapes would present itself a little east of Islip Terrace
Since the 1950’s most of the Long Island’s farm land has migrated east to the Northern and Southern Forks; and today it was in Cutchogue, that Joe would break ground on his childhood dream to build a vineyard. Like many others who reach a conclusion in one career, retire, and transition into another; Joe thought, ‘well that was fun…but what’s next?’ It was during that special summer of ’91 that he remembered his childhood ambition: to build a farm, to taste those delicious neighborhood grapes, and thus he decided to embark upon his next great project. In those days, the grapes were Concord, but today they are Merlot.
In life, timing is everything, and as luck would have it, a potato farm was on the market in Cutchogue in the summer of ‘91; and it was just the right size to accommodate Joe’s plan. How marvelous that an Irish/American would purchase a potato farm and convert it into a vineyard to produce some of the finest grapes on Long Island. Step by step, and acre by acre, Joe cultivated the land; planting a wide variety of plants which began with Merlot and Malbec plants. Today Reilly Cellar’s variety has grown to include: Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Gerwurtzgraminer, and Riesling.
In 2015, Joe Reilly is proud to share his great bounty of grapes on his new vineyard’s label. We, at Reilly Cellars, invite you to purchase our latest vintage from our online store for your next dinner party or family gathering; and when time allows, to come visit Reilly Cellars out in Cutchogue, on Long Island’s northern fork.