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Hamptons Life

Jun 13, 2018 12:44 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Wölffer Turns 30, Celebrates With 'Flowerbombs'

Flowerbombs, or floral installations, at W├Âlffer feature Eco-Wrap, a biodegradable alternative to toxic floral foam. COURTESY LINDSEY LUCENTI COURTESY LINDSEY LUCENTI
Jun 13, 2018 1:09 PM

Wölffer, known for its sprawling South Fork vineyard and its restaurants’ cuisine, has started to celebrate its 30th birthday with a new eco-friendly objective in mind.

“It’s a huge milestone for the [wine] industry out here. [The anniversary] is obviously a reason to celebrate. But it’s also a time for us to really concentrate on the spirit behind Wölffer, and bohemian culture of the Hamptons,” said Wölffer Estate Executive Director Alison Tuthill.

Wölffer teamed up with FlowerSchool NY over Memorial Day weekend to “flowerbomb” the vineyard in Sagaponack.

“A lot of what we have become known for is our ‘Summer in a Bottle’ and our rosé, decorated with floral designs, which combines the aromatics of wine and the beauty of flowers together to make a really interesting consumer experience. The big flower installations,” she said referring to the flowerbombs, “kick-off the summer, our 30th anniversary and something beautiful.”

Flowerbombs are public floral bouquet installations staged in Eco-Wrap by Eco-Fresh Bouquet—an alternative to standard floral foam that are known to contain carcinogens. The foam is used to hold water and make flower arrangements last longer. But as the foam breaks down, toxins, including formaldehyde and sulfates, are exposed, said Calvert Crary, the executive director of FlowerSchool.

“The common practice in the industry is to use flower foam, which is toxic and not biodegradable, and essentially contrary to all of the fresh and wonderful things that we find when we think of food and fresh flowers. A lot of florists are starting to wise up, and also customers are wising up, companies are wising up and choose not to use foam,” Mr. Crary said. He added that the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle featured Eco-Wraps in lieu of the industry standard, which takes 100 years to break down.

“We cherish the environment and want to use it in a respectful way, but I think there is also a certain lifestyle component about doing flowers. It’s been a celebrated hobby for gardeners, and for people who entertain, but also I think for people who like to sit back and enjoy a glass of roséė. They are like-minded people. It makes sense for Wölffer to go more eco-friendly.”

In 2017, FlowerSchool, which teaches sustainable floristry practices around the state using materials from local farms, and Wölffer had partnered to create floral and wine pairing classes. Wölffer launched its Finca rosé at FlowerSchool in November, with a flower class taught by master florist Ariella Chezar. The school is hosting a class for florists and avid gardeners in July to learn more about the dangers of floral foam and sustainable alternatives at FlowerSchool headquarters in Manhattan.

Ms. Tuthill said the 30th anniversary is a good excuse to reduce the carbon footprint of Wölffer’s 172-acre vineyard and estate stables, as well as its two Wölffer Kitchen restaurants, in Amagansett and Sag Harbor.

“We are a sustainable winery. We’ve been certified sustainable for six years now, and that was a choice everyone made because we live and grow grapes in a place that has a very fragile ecosystem and we want to preserve this for future generations,” she said. Wölffer has already invested in solar energy for its properties to reduce the company’s impact on the environment.

As part of their ongoing celebration, Wölffer released its limited Claletto Cabernet Sauvignon, which is only available during major anniversary years in its White Horse Selection. The wine is produced Amarone-style, meaning it’s made from partially dried grapes. This 2014 vintage red is available for $85 a bottle. The estate’s apple cider is also now available in cans since March.

“It’s a beach community and people love the ability to take our beverages to situations that they like to be with their friends and family. And now with the cider in hand, they can take it to the beach and to outdoor venues,” Ms. Tuthill said.

In October, Wölffer is expected to be release its first-ever brandy.

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