The Science of Pét-Nat Wines

The winemaker James Christopher Tracy has been making pét-nats since 2014 at Channing Daughters winery on Long Island, New York, releasing as many as 10—white, pink, and red—in a given year. Why so many? “Because we can!” he says. “Because it’s fun to make them. They’re really joyous wines—with their low alcohol, they’re great lunch wines. They taste awesome young; they taste great after years in the bottle.”

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—Paul Adams


It’s clearly a blessing for winemakers who love exploring the edges, as Channing Daughters’ Chris Tracy does. Muscat, Lagrein, Dornfelder, Ribolla Gialla, Refosco, Malvasia… they’re all fodder for his investigations. Tracy is a hyper-articulate advocate for the sort of inspired mad-genius winemaking made famous by Randall Graham, at Bonny Doon of Santa Cruz, California. Tracy’s interest is “in pushing the envelope for what’s possible in our region.” Experimenting with varieties and styles is paramount in this.

“Aliveness, minerality, texture are super exciting,“ he enthuses, and these are precisely the elements so thrillingly at play in his wines. He is as much an experimenter with technique as with variety. He was way ahead of the curve on skin-contact wines and lately he’s gone full throttle on pet-nats, with 10 different traditional method bottlings made in the 2016 vintage alone. Now you’ll find them infiltrating by-the-glass pairings at more than one top New York restaurant.

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—Valerie Kathawala

East, East, East! Stars from the Other Side

The experimentalist: Channing Daughters, Bridgehampton, NY

Christopher Tracy did not start out wanting to make wine, but when he did, Channing Daughters was certainly the right place to do it. Like founder Walter Channing and partner and CEO Larry Perrine, Tracy has a restless mind that has led him to succeed in diverse fields—first in the theater, then as a chef with a grand diplôme from the French Culinary Institute in New York. And since 2001, as a winemaker.

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—Roger Morris

Channing Daughters: No frills, no hype, just darn good wine

The New York winery avoids silly names and cutesy labels, but its products are splendid to drink.

You may have seen them already – I’ve seen them at Whole Foods, they’re showcased at Leroux Kitchen and Browne Trading Company on Commercial Street in Portland, as well as at RSVP out on Forest Avenue. The labels aren’t adorned and might be easily glossed over at a casual glance. They simply tell you the name of the wine, the grapes therein, the year, and how many cases were produced. The labels feature no cute, furry creatures, and the wines do not get seductive names (I recently saw a wine called Ravage. Really?!?). These bottles are simply and honestly labeled. They are interesting and delicious. These are the wines of Channing Daughters.

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—Bryan Flewelling

20 Wines Under $20: Reds for Winter Moods and Foods

Channing Daughters Long Island Rosso Fresco 2015 $17.99

Like Wölffer Estate, Channing Daughters is based on the South Fork of Long Island, yet the estates could not be more different. Wölffer takes a more classical approach, but Channing is joyfully experimental, growing an eclectic range of grapes not otherwise seen on Long Island. The ’15 Rosso Fresco incorporates some of these — blaufränkisch and dornfelder along with merlot, syrah and cabernet franc. It’s bright, vividly fruity and floral, and absolutely delicious.

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—Eric Asimov

Blending innovation and top-notch fruit, Channing Daughters builds national profile

Most wine drinkers think Napa and the Fingers Lakes first when they consider wine regions to visit, and for good reason considering the quality of the wine and the number of wineries available to visit. But anyone who has taken time to check out the North American landscape knows there are dozens of possibilities, from north of California up the Pacific coast, to Texas and Colorado, and then along the East Coast, from North Carolina into Ontario. One of those is Long Island, where more than 50 wineries operate (more than 40 are open to the public) and draw more than 1.3 million visitors annually, according to the Long Island Wine Council. One of those is Channing Daughters Winery, in Bridgehampton, one of the few open on the island's South Fork. It's named for the offspring of Walter Channing, an artist, builder and venture capitalist who planted his first Chardonnay vines at his Bridgehampton farm in 1982.

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—Paul Vigna

11 Wines To Try If You're Bored with the Same Old Varietals

You've ditched your morning joe for cortados and a Chemex. Your ribeye is dry-aged. Even that pot of legumes is heirloom. So when it comes to the wine aisle, why are you still defaulting to the same bottle of Chard? Go ahead, pour outside your comfort zone with these alluring, alt varietals.

If you drink Champagne…

Try: Pet Nat

Bottle: Channing Daughters Bianco Pétillant Naturel, $27

Pair with: a toast! 

Like Champagne minus the pomp and pageantry. Cava with some hipster cred. This naturally sparkling wine, colloquially known as "pét-nat" (pétillant naturel), has become the most sought-after patio pounder. Unfiltered, lower in alcohol, and made with an ancestral technique that predates the Champagne method, dewy bottles of pét-nat are perfect both as aperitif and celebratory toast. Crafted from all manner of red and white grapes, it has the potential to usurp anything from Lambrusco to a vinho verde.

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—Chris Hughes

See How Pét-Nat Wine Is Made, From Vine to Bottle in Just Nine Days

Scenes from the 2016 "Crush" at Channing Daughters in Long Island, N.Y., where a New World winery goes way old-school to make the industry's latest craze: a fizzy, funky sparkler.

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—Elin McCoy

We're Crushing on Orange Wine (It's the New Rosé)

While rosé continues to dominate the sipping scene, these autumn-hued wines are stealing the show. Discover why we love orange wine, plus four bottles to try now.

Channing Daughters Meditazione

(Long Island, New York; $40 buy here)
New York winemaker James Christopher Tracy has made Gatsby country (at least Channing Daughters’ research vineyard in the North Fork) a must-visit for serious oenophiles.  That can be credited to Tracy’s ways with bold, adventurous blends like his Meditazione, inspired by Italy’s so-called vino da meditazione, or meditation wine. This co-fermented and barrel-aged mix of pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc, and chardonnay (with Tocai Friulano, Muscat Ottonel and Pinot Bianco also added in) offers notes of baked apples, pears, and dried herbs.

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—Chris Hughes


In most wine regions across the world, there’s a plethora of rules that winemakers and vineyard owners must obey. This ranges from which grapes can be grown where, when a grower can start harvest, what methods have to be used in the winery and even the type of corks that can be used.

But in the States, that’s not the case. For the most part, winemakers can grow what they want and make what they want the way they want to. And so, in the spirit of freedom and the Fourth of July, check out these six wines from fiercely independent winemakers in the U.S. who are changing the conversation and doing it their own way. Continue Reading


While everyone else was trying to figure out how to get Bordeaux grape varieties, like cabernet and merlot, to ripen in the persnickety climate of Long Island’s North Fork, Channing Daughters winery was tinkering with different grapes, especially cooler-climate Italian varieties, to see if there might be more viable alternatives. Winemaker Chris Tracy found that even if the red grapes can’t get ripe enough to make red wines, they can make exceptional rosé so nice he makes six different ones every vintage. Here, he’s using northern Italy’s red refosco grape to produce this juicy, jolly, berried dry rosé ($20).

—Megan Krigbaum

Orange Wine Has Finally Arrived. Here Are Eight Bottles to Buy

When high-end, wine-centric restaurant Rouge Tomate reopens next month in New York’s Chelsea district, there will be plenty of “orange” wines on the list.

Traditionally from Georgia in Eastern Europe, these tannic white wines—made like reds, with grape skins left in during fermentation and aging—have been trending for four or five years as vinous exotica, touted as the fourth wine color. Have they finally become more than novelties?

“They’re here to stay,” says Rouge Tomate Chelsea wine director Pascaline Lepeltier, who sent me a long list of her favorite producers.

2013 Channing Daughters Ramato ($25) 
In the Hamptons, former chef Christopher Tracy makes this dry, exotic, spicy white with apricot and honey aromas from pinot grigio grapes. Ramato is an Italian term used in Friuli for skin-fermenting the varietal to create a copper-colored wine. This one spent only 14 days on the skins, so it’s a great orange wine introduction.

—Elin McCoy

The Best American-Made Rosé Wine for Summer

Ideal summer sipping requires something refreshing, and there’s nothing more thirst quenching than rosé. Because it’s a style of wine that is made with red grapes, there’s a lovely structure that provides a backbone to even the lightest rosés, and those light, salmon-pink wines often have an aromatic subtlety and citrusy minerality that we find just so, well, refreshing. This summer, our search for something different than the standard setter Provence has taken us home: Winemakers across the U.S. are producing creative, dry, light rosés with all kinds of grapes. From blends that recall those made in southern France to single-variety wines made from grapes both expected and surprising (a Northern Californian rosé using a traditional Portuguese varietal, anyone?), there is much to explore from coast to coast. What’s exciting is the variety available within this year’s current release, and all of these, and more, are worth exploring as the days continue to heat up. Here within, a few suggestions to get your summer started. Read More

Channing Daughters, Rosato di Cabernet Franc 2015

Grape: Cabernet Franc

Based on Long Island’s South Fork in Bridgehampton, it’s no wonder that this producer was inspired to produce a series of rosés to quench the Hamptons thirst for the stuff. Winemaker Christopher Tracy’s approach explores the nuances of a variety of red grapes, showing distinct differences in each of their Molti Rosati (Many Rosés) line of wines. Our favorite is the Rosato di Cabernet Franc, with its clean, peppery mouthfeel and hints of blackberry and raspberry.

—Sarah H. Bray

The Best Budget-Friendly Summer Wines

... Of course, there's cabernet franc outside the Loire, too. Not every winery makes a rosé, but Channing Daughters on Long Island's North Fork offers no fewer than six different ones, each from a different vineyard and featuring different grape varieties. The Channing Daughters 2015 Cabernet Franc Rosato (around $18) is pale salmon pink from spending just a few hours with its skins. It's silky-rich but bright, lightly floral, and almost saline, with a tangy citrus side and soft strawberry fruit beneath. I love it with poached salmon and crab cakes, but it really requires no accompaniment except a sunny day. View Full Article

—Maggie Hoffman

The 25 Best Rosés Under $25

Brace yourself. Rosé season starts this weekend. The drink pink boom means pale and pretty wines will be poured at patio parties everywhere to jumpstart a hopefully decadent summer lifestyle. An oversize tub filled with ice and bottles of pink wine is now de rigueur for entertaining.

So what to put in it? Rosés from Provence have been in vogue for what seems like forever—a new high of nearly 6.9 million bottles were imported into the U.S. last year—and alas, the number of luxury versions is exploding. But you don’t have to pay a lot to get something you'll be happy to drink. If you’re having a party or just want to knock back a glass by the pool, the virtues of those expensive rosés—ability to age, complexity—are beside the point. Continue Reading

2015 Channing Daughters Rosato of Cabernet Franc ($15)
Always pushing boundaries, pony-tailed winemaker Christopher Tracy makes several unusual rosés, including a pét-nat, in the Hamptons. This one is pale, delicate, and mouthwatering.

—Elin McCoy

Pét-Nat Is the New Rosé

... On the raw end lies Bridgehampton, New York, producer Channing Daughters. For winemaker Christopher Tracy, "some of the fundamental things that set [pét-nats] apart is that they’re fermented wildly, no yeast added. And the bubbles are created by the primary alcoholic fermentation. These are the two most important things. From there, there’s all sorts of seeming deviations, most glaringly I think between disgorgement or not," he outlines.

Disgorgement refers to one way of dealing with the sediment composed of dead yeast cells that remains in the bottle once fermentation is finished. To remove the sediment, winemakers use a process known as riddling, which involves positioning a bottle at an angle upside down so that the pressure created by the carbon dioxide inside will force that sediment out when the bottle is opened—one of the final steps of the traditional winemaking method. The result is a clear wine, like Champagne. Other ways to handle the sediment is to simply leave it in the bottle, as Tracy does: "I personally didn’t want to disgorge because if I’m going to go through the time, labor, cost of traditional production, I’d make a traditional-style bubbly. I think pét-nats are a little more friendly, fun, wild."

In order to preserve his wine’s depth, Tracy turns to coarse filtration, using filtration screens that measure 10-microns compared with the 0.2-micron ones adopted by many commercial-style wines. "You’re basically taking out stuff you could scoop out," he says. Since 2014, Channing Daughters has made pét-nats in all hues, from grapes as varied as syrah, merlot, refosco, pinot grigio, and sylvaner, all complex mixes of sweet and savory that flaunt each varietal's flavors, and all in tiny, buy-them-now production: there are barely more than 100 cases made of each style, which also varies by year. Continue Reading

Producer: Channing Daughters
Wine: Petillant Naturel Rosso, 2015
From: Bridgehampton, New York
Retail: $27

Winemaker Christopher Tracy nurtures his pét-nat’s wild side, making his Rosso from a blend of seven grapes—refosco, syrah, and merlot fulfill the first 89 percent, with Austrian, German, and Northern Italian specialty grapes dornfelder, zweigelt, teroldego, and blaufränkisch comprising the rest. The result is a deeply hazy wine the color of dark red raspberries, with flavors of cranberries, tart cherries, pomegranate, and lavender, along with damp earth and plenty of acidity and sweetness. Complex and wildly joyful, the Rosso works as well as a meditative wine as it does with fresh tomato sauce and herb pesto–topped pastas.

—Susan H. Gordon

Meet Christopher Tracy of Channing Daughters Winery: Winemaker profile

At Channing Daughters Winery, winemaker and partner Christopher Tracy is far from limited to using only the well-known Long Island varietals or constrained by a particular methodology.

In fact, his cellar style is mainly defined by just one common denominator: making the best-tasting wines.

“We want wines to be first and foremost delicious,” Tracy said in a late winter interview at the Bridgehampton facility. “We try to push the envelope and try to expand our horizons and varieties.

“We tend not to be too ideological,” he added.

The result is a portfolio featuring a wide range of wines, from vintages that have been completely managed in the cellar to those that have been allowed to ferment on their own without intervention. It encompasses stainless steel-fermented chardonnay as well as blends made using blaufränkisch and dornfelder grapes grown at Cornell Cooperative Extension’s research facility in Riverhead.

“He’s an artist with a palette with a lot of different colors — in this case it’s grape varieties and techniques,” said Channing Daughters co-founder and partner Larry Perrine. “These things are out of the mainstream, and the mainstream is clogged. We’re more interested in things that are not being done by everybody.” Continue Reading

—Vera Chinese

Pét-Nat: When Sparkling Wine Goes Au Naturel

PÉT-NAT MUST BE one of the cutest monikers in the wine world today. The whimsical nickname for pétillant-naturel, a slightly sparkling natural wine, also happens to capture its character best. Softly effervescent, sometimes quite frothy and ranging in style from dry to sweet, pét-nat can be as much fun to drink as it is to pronounce.

The word “fun” came up over and over again when I asked fans and producers why they liked pét-nat so much. I haven’t heard that adjective very often in wine conversations, but it’s cropped up with greater frequency over the past several years—usually during discussions about pét-nat, which has been showing up on more wine lists and store shelves. Continue Reading

2015 Channing Daughters Bianco Pétillant Naturel $25

Winemaker Christopher Tracy is famously restless, forever experimenting with one type of wine or another. His second batch of pét-nats includes this slightly cloudy, slightly sweet, frothy, floral delight.

—Lettie Teague

For delicious diversity, check out the spirited Channing Daughters of Long Island

The winery makes the most of its varied conditions and isn't trying to be anything but its innovative self.

Channing Daughters is a maximalist, catholic-minded winery on the South Fork of Long Island, New York, making exuberant, omnibus wines that defy categorization. The wines are in a so-far small class that permits inhabitants of the northeastern United States to drink regionally produced wine without compromise. If you drink the wines now, you will tell old-fogey stories about how you knew them when. Read More

—Joe Appel

Drinks strange and surprising stand out from the past year

A fresh Italian white, a Beaujolais Nouveau, a Long Island orange and a South African sauvignon blanc are among the most pleasing surprises of 2015. Read More

—Joe Appel

Channing Daughters 2013 Sylvanus White — 90 Points, Wine Enthusiast

Smoky tea leaves and vanilla permeate throughout this blossomy, perfumed blend of white grape varieties (Muscat, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Blanc). It’s lusciously full bodied, yet spry, boasting concentrated stone fruit flavors framed squarely by savory tones of earth, wood and bitter tannins. Read More

—Anna Lee C. Iijima