Roanoke Vineyards Human Resources
Soraya Pisacano is the President of Roanoke Vineyards. A glamorous job that sometimes requires getting covered with mud, scratched by grape vines, and chased by bees. Soraya is also our liaison to the East End food and wine community, and the force behind our programming at Love Lane. After twenty years in the wine business she can recite the international phone numbers of Cadus, Seguin Moreau, and the Bouchard Cooperage, as well as tell you if there is any 2014 Cabernet in the cellar. A fountain of information and experience, and we'd be lost without her.
Rich Pisacano will be the first person to tell you that the secret to making 95 point wines is to stay agile and keep your mind open.
Pisacano originally approached his relationship with Long Island vineyards from a technically proven approach, but quickly recognized there was significantly more to the equation. If there is a champion terriorist here, it is Rich. To get to this point has taken nearly 40 years from his first footsteps in a North Fork vineyard, and it is this experience with the land that has built a steady arc of quality.
Balancing the Wölffer Estate vineyard in Sagaponack with Roanoke Vineyards in Riverhead, requires embracing the idea that the vineyard sets the year’s rhythm. There are few days off, certainly none during the growing season, however the work proves its own reward once the cork is pulled.
Rich will tell you that sustainability is a starting point; a given, an obligation, actually. Because from there you’re in striking distance of greatness.
Roanoke's lead winemaker, Roman Roth, has made wine in his native Germany, Australia, and on Long Island's East End since 1992. Roman has a special affinity for the varietals we grow, and sees the Roanoke wines as a creative platform. Roman has won every award possible for a winemaker, but aspires to play striker for Bayer 04 Leverkusen. Widely known for his affinity with Merlot and Cabernet Franc, Roman's ability to make ageworthy Chardonnay in unequaled. Roman's personal brand, The Grapes of Roth, made Wine Spectator's top 100 list, and celebrates Riesling and Merlot. You can read more about his wines here.
Scott Sandell designs our labels and has been responsible for our branding since day one. He also hosts most of our tasting events, serves as Director of our Chardonnay program, curates the vintage portfolio, writes the Roanoke Tribune, and organizes the Roanoke Vineyards Canoe Club outings. Scott leads a secret life as a visual artist, with work in major museum and corporate collections. You can see his work here.
Jennie Spencer is the Director of the Roanoke Vineyards wine club, a critical position in our membership-based company. Jennie knows most of our members by name, and curates our quarterly wine club portfolios. She's been in the Long Island wine business for fifteen years, and is probably the first staff person Roanoke members meet.
Another artist on our team, George Fernandez spends his time at Roanoke in the vines. His attention to detail as a super realist painter transfers easily to critical canopy and cluster editing. George found himself inspired by Roanoke's late Vineyard Master, Gabby Pisacano, and says he can channel Gabby's energy when he's in the Twelve Rows block (this has been proven scientifically). 2019 was George's fourth summer in the Roanoke vineyard, but before that he was a longtime wine club member. He is not only our favorite guru, he's a wonderful friend.
Kathryn De Long arrives at Roanoke as a Court of Masters Sommelier. She can tell you about wines from the Medoc and wines from Mendocino, and she's happy to talk about her dogs Otto and Finnegan. You can usually find Kathryn in our Love Lane wine shop. Otto is sometimes not so easy to find.
Roanoke owes much to our beloved Gabby Pisacano, who taught us how to grow Cabernet Franc, navigate life with joy, and work hard for things that are important. Gabs took meticulous care of the Twelve Rows block beginning in 2006, and through the epic 2015 vintage. You'd see him in the rows at 5 AM, sometimes in the rain, and in his last year worked the vines from his electric golf cart. His parting gift was not only a great vintage, but the confidence and skills for the next.