How Joey Wölffer is Making Wine for A New Generation
Joey Wölffer never wanted to be in wine, she was born into it. After her father’s sudden death, New York’s Wölffer Estate Vineyards needed a leader. Joey was the next in line to take the helm of the blossoming Long Island winery but her passion for fashion and design made her hesitate. After nearly signing complete ownership over to her brother, Joey recognized the importance of her attachment to the vineyard. Now Joey, along with her husband, Max Rohn and brother, Marc, run Wölffer Estate Vineyard, and have transformed it into a lifestyle brand successfully attracting a younger customer base.
What Joey has brought to the brand is a more youthful voice, emphasizing a whimsical lifestyle through design and art. The 5-color silk screen printed on the label packaging of their summer Rose is the work of the “funky” UK designer, IWANT. Her work to make the vineyard a destination for a younger crowd has already paid off. With an emphasis on the powers of social media stunning images of the vineyard, restaurant and wines with a focus on the bohemian atmosphere and approachability of the wines has made the vineyard a destination for locals.
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Another effort of Joey’s is establishing the brand as a sustainable winery—one of the few on Long Island—using viticulture practices to reduce soil erosion, and safe practices of pest management. They use a water-recycling sprayer that reduces pesticide use by more than 25% and when they do use pesticide it is always either organic or reduced risk.
Joey Wölffer has incorporated her successful boutique, Styleliner, into the vineyard as well. The mobile accessories boutique, featuring independent designers from all over the world, reflects Joey’s bohemian style and includes her own line of handbags and accessories. The mobile boutique has gained so much traction that she is opening a store in Nantucket this year.
In addition to the vineyard’s successful whites, reds and a rosé that has become a staple of Hamptons’ summers, Wölffer began bottling rosés from Argentina and pushing their cider. “Cider is the fastest growing beverage in the country,” explains Joey. “They key to attracting customers to the cider is the packaging and we have been getting that message out through social media. Our cider is very different from most. It is very dry and light."
After fully immersing herself in the wine industry she has gained a greater respect for New York wines. But Wölffer is still seen as a boutique winery and the Wölffer family would like to keep it that way.