Family Behind Jason’s Vineyard Toasts to a Sparkling Legacy & Future

Alethea Damianos Conroy
Alethea Damianos Conroy, Production Manager, Jason’s Vineyard (photo provided)

New York is justly celebrated for the incredible diversity of the wine that it produces, from grape varieties to styles. In sparkling form, everything from rustic Pet-Nat to meticulously crafted and aged traditional methode champenoise can be found.

But the one that is really turning heads this year is a 2021 Bubbly Rosé from Jason’s Vineyard.

The New York Wine Classic 2023, which celebrates the diversity of wine in New York State, awarded the Jason’s Vineyard’s Bubbly Rosé the Best Sparkling Wine in the state—quite a feat, considering the competition. 

This year, 749 wines were entered from 108 wineries across the state. Scores were awarded by the Beverage Testing Institute’s sensory panel, made up of sommeliers, retail buyers, educators and beverage directors.

Of the 749 entries, judges awarded 10 Platinum, 320 Gold, 294 Silver and 81 Bronze medals.

Alethea Damianos Conroy, who manages production at the winery with her family—and also founded and operates Pindar and Duck Walk Vineyards—credits Jason’s Vineyard’ obsession with detail to the popularity and success of the sparkling wine.

“We sell most of our wine through our Jamesport tasting room,” Conroy explains, of their 20-acre North Fork estate and winery, which is open for tastings on a first-come, first-serve basis. “Our goal is to nurture our loyal base of customers by introducing new wines and keeping them excited to try something new. The Bubbly Rosé was made with this objective in mind.”

The rosé is a blend of 38% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Pinot Meunier, 14% Cabernet Franc and 4% Malbec. Each variety is fermented separately, then blended to taste to create a fruit-forward wine. The blend is force-carbonated in-tank, then bottled for release.  

“The bubbles are delicate, which creates a refreshing mouthfeel to mingle with the fruity blend,” Conroy says, adding that there is just a 1.5% residual sugar.

At this point, Jason’s Vineyard produces about 3,000 cases a year, and the Bubbly Rosé represents just 7% of those sales. The first bottling happened in 2021, with the quantity ramped up every year due to the enthusiastic response.

“The trend will likely continue upward, especially with this award,” Conroy says.

Jason’s Vineyard writ large—and especially this Rosé—is a dedication to Conroy’s late brother, Jason Damianos, who founded the winery and died unexpectedly in 2017 at age 49. Damianos grew up working in and loving the wine business through his family’s properties, and after graduating from University of Hartford with a degree in business, went on to study winemaking in California and Bordeaux.

In 1996, he returned home to launch Jason’s Vineyard, which he slowly grew over the decades while also working as director of winemaking at Pindar Vineyards.   

“Jason’s wines were emphatically flavorful,” Conroysays. “His appreciation of flavor was nourished by his formal technical education and his hands-on approach to viticulture. We carry on his legacy and create wines like the Bubbly Rosé that focus on using the finest crops, and producing small, high-quality batches.”

She credits winemaker Erik Biba’s extensive knowledge and talent for their ability to seamlessly extend his legacy.

“Erik has a similar approach to Jason’s, combining forward-thinking science and old school passion with technique,” Conroy says. “The Bubbly Rosé is a shining example of how Jason’s hard work has carried on, and our commitment to his legacy.”

To toast to Jason’s legacy and Jason’s Vineyard’s future, visit the winery at 1785 Main Road in Jamesport. The winery is open daily, with live music every weekend from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. In addition to tasting wine like the Bubbly Rosé and newly-minted Chenin Blanc 2022, you can picnic on the property and visit their two resident alpacas, Buttercup and Marshmallow.

jason's vineyard bubbly rose bottle shot

Jason's Vineyard Bubbly Rosé

  • Vintage: NV
  • Varietal: 38% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Pinot Meunier, 14% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec
  • Appellation: North Fork of Long Island
  • Alc. by Vol.: 12.5%

Winemaker Notes: This crisp yet fruity bubbly is perfect for any celebration or cuisine. We recommend it with mild cheeses, and shellfish.

About the New York Wine Classic

Organized annually by the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, the New York Wine Classic celebrates a diverse selection of world-class wines from producers within the State. Judging for the 2023 competition took place from April 15th – June 15th, 2023 and included 749 entries from 108 wineries from across the state. A total of 10 Platinum, 320 Gold, 294 Silver, and 81 Bronze medals were awarded.

Picture of Kathleen Willcox and Robin Shreeves

Kathleen Willcox and Robin Shreeves

Kathleen Willcox and Robin Shreeves' work frequently appears in Wine Enthusiast, Wine Searcher, Wine Industry Advisor, and many other publications. They co-founded Thinking Outside the Bottle, which provides communications services to the drinks industry.