Bedel Cellars Winemaker Rich Olsen-Harbich Talks Rosé Soirée

Bedell winemaker Rich Olsen-Harbich
Rich Olsen-Harbich

The East End, especially the North Fork, is world renowned for its wine and wineries — and Bedell Cellars is among the best of them.

The family winery, which planted its first grapes in 1980, is joining other fantastic food and wine purveyors at this year’s Dan’s Rosé Soirée.

Dan’s Papers Rosé Soirée, a celebration of rosé — the East End’s unofficial summer drink — is kicking off the Twin Forks’ unofficial start of summer on Memorial Day weekend, Sunday, May 28 at the Southampton Arts Center.

We spoke to Bedell winemaker Rich Olsen-Harbich about how he became a winemaker, new wine trends and more in the lead up to this year’s Rosé Soirée.

Bedell Cellars Winemaker Rich Olsen-Harbich

How did you get in this line of work?

Growing up a stone’s throw away from New York City in a small house on suburban Long Island, I always dreamed of being a farmer. After graduating from Cornell University with a degree in viticulture, I found himself back on the Island at the heart of an emerging wine region that was struggling to find itself.

What new wine trends are you seeing?

Consumers are moving away from large-scale manufactured wines and are gravitating towards small, local producers who are producing wines reflective of terroir. Sustainability is the most important current trend.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I’m inspired by the Old-World wines of France, Germany and Italy.

Who do you most admire in the food/wine world and why?

Jacques Pepin. He’s always been a great supporter of locally produced wines and understands the dynamic relationship between wine and food.

What’s a unique winemaking ritual you practice?

I make all my wines through using wild yeast. Every fall I ask all my staff to bring in a piece of an indigenous plant, flower, fruit, nuts, berries, stones, seashells, etc., that are native to the North Fork. These are all placed into a jug of newly pressed juice and allowed to ferment and become a starter culture for the rest of the fermentations.

What will you be serving at Rosé Soiree?

We will be serving the 2022 Rosé.

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