Talking Wine With RGNY Winemaker Lilia Pérez

Try your hand at winemaking at home with RGNY’s new wine blending kits. RGNY, located in Riverhead, is a female-led winery in the space that was formerly Martha Clara Vineyard. It’s now owned by the Rivero González family of renowned Mexican winemakers, who plan to foster the family legacy by continuing to create sustainable wines on the North Fork.

With RGNY’s Scielo NY Blending Kit, wine aficionados can live out their winemaking dreams by creating their own unique red blend using RGNY’s Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot. The kit also comes complete with beakers and glasses for blending, as well as curated video guides featuring RGNY’s winemaker, Lilia Pérez, to help guide through the activity.

Lilia Pérez

Each blending kit comes equipped with wine and tools for two people. It includes one Bottle of 2018 Scielo Tinto, which is Lilia’s red blend, as an example of what a blend could taste like. The rest of the kit includes an RGNY branded 100ML beaker for measuring, four 375ml bottles of wine for blending and tasting, two RGNY rocking glasses, two activity placemats and booklets, an RGNY corkscrew, and two RGNY pens. We caught up with Pérez to learn more.

Tell us a little about your background.

I was born in Sacramento, California, and lived there till the age of 2. My parents, both Mexican, were studying at UC Davis at the time. But I’m proudly Mexican — I was raised in Mexico City and lived there most of my life. Apart from wine, I have other passions, like eating, dancing, traveling, and spending time with my little one, family, and friends.

I’ve lived in Portugal and France too, which gave me so much time to learn different cultures, speak many languages and appreciate all this world has to offer — to always continue to learn, take adventures, and discover all things I’m passionate about!

What inspired you to become a winemaker?

My love for wine happened naturally as we always drank wine at home. But I decided to dedicate my professional career to wine when studying for my Hotel Management degree where I had optional subjects related to wine. I never missed a class. I was so passionate and always looked forward to learning more about what was inside the bottle.

Tell us about RGNY’s Scielo NY Blending Kit? Where did the idea come from?

Part of RGNY’s mission is to share and spread wine culture. A “blending session” is an activity where people get to experiment with one of the most fun steps of winemaking — tasting and analyzing different wines and putting them together in a blend with different percentages to make it into a better final wine. We started offering in-person blending sessions before the pandemic started, but once the lockdown was announced we needed to get creative to keep spreading our mission, this is when we thought, “well if people can’t come in, why not bring this fun activity to their houses?” We all wanted some activities to entertain us while being at home, so we created the Blending Kit.

Photo by Brooklyn EAST photography

The kit is educational, while also fun. In your mind, what is the most important takeaway from the activity?

The most beautiful takeaway of this activity is the experience — the experience of using all our senses and connecting to what’s in the glass and sharing these thoughts with our loved ones or just enjoying ourselves. You learn something while you enjoy the moment, learning something doesn’t need to be serious.

Which wine varietals produced on the North Fork do you favor?

Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc are my two picks. I think wines from these grapes can show the essence of the North Fork — wines that are light, easy to drink, bright, and very aromatic.

Aside from the wine, what do you love most about the North Fork?

Its sunrises and sunsets, they’re completely different and special every day.

Talk a little about the RGNY branding and style. The bottle design is beautiful and definitely stands out.

Our branding shows the quality and authenticity of everything we do. We take care of every single detail to make the whole RGNY experience truly unique. Our label designs are inspired by the wine aromas and flavors.

What’s next for you and RGNY? Do you have anything coming up that you’d like to talk about?

More experimental wines! Sauvignon Blanc fermented and aged in an amphora vessel as well as an orange wine, spontaneously fermented in an amphora too with Gewurztraminer grapes. Both wines are still aging in the amphoras at the moment. Very small production, and all handcrafted!

The Scielo NY Blending Kit retails for $90. For more information, visit 
rgnywine.com.

Jessica Mackin-Cipro

Co-Publisher/Editor

Jessica Mackin-Cipro is an editor and writer from the East End of Long Island. She has won numerous NYPA and PCLI awards for journalism and social media. She was previously the Executive Editor of The Independent Newspaper.

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