Party at Paumanok

I’ve attended a lot of New York parties over the years- restaurant openings, book parties, costume parties, art parties, magazine launches (okay, those were a long time ago – when people were opening, not closing, magazines.) But few of those parties were as much fun as the harvest party with the Massouds at Paumanok Vineyards. (

Even when the harvest, like this year’s in Long Island isn’t much to celebrate (rain, cold, rot), the Massoud family always manages to have a (stellar) good time. One reason is that Ursula Massoud is one of the region’s great cooks- Long Island’s gain is Germany’s loss (Ursula was born in Germany and her husband Charles hails from Lebanon.) Even celebrity chef turned celebrity farmer Eberhard Muller (Satur Farms) was begging for one of Ursula’s onion tarts.

Another reason is that Charles Massoud is the consummate host. Charles could run a four-star restaurant in New York and make every guest feel like a VIP – he certainly makes winery guests feel that way. And finally, the Massouds happen to make some really good wine. (Among my favorites that night was the terrific 2007 Cab Franc- a sappy, juicy Chinon style red, the delicious 2008 Sauvignon Blanc – and the brand new juice of their 2009 Chenin Blanc) Finally, the Massouds have a lot of warm and interesting friends. I actually wanted to talk to everyone there- a physical impossibility given the size of the crowd- but something I’ve never felt at a party in New York…


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