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A touch of Hollywood in Long Island wine country

Michael Lynne, co-CEO of New Line Cinema, is one of the most powerful people in Hollywood. His studio is responsible for bringing the Lord of the Rings trilogy to the big screen. But his other passion is food and wine. He became a serious collector of wines from France, Italy and California, but wanted to play a more active role. He joined the Long Island wine scene when he purchased Bedell Cellars and Corey Creek in 2000, and is now one of the region┐s biggest boosters. "I wanted to own a vineyard and looked first in Italy, France and California. Then a friend introduced me to the North Fork of Long Island, and I was overwhelmed with the physical beauty of the place and the potential for making world-class wine there," he says. "The region is developing quickly into a major tourist destination like Napa and Sonoma, although people need more restaurants and places to stay. But much like making good wine, all of this does take time," he says. The potential of Long Island wine country is almost unlimited, according to Lynne. "Our region is 90 miles from the biggest wine market in the world, yet we┐re just beginning to be recognized by wine enthusiasts . I think all of us in the region are striving for a lush wine style that is uniquely identifiable as Long Island wine," he says. "I think we are on the brink of this region being recognized among the great wine regions in the world. The results in the bottle are already quite compelling."
For Lynne, running a winery is not all that different from running a movie studio. "The winery is a joy for me, though an intense hobby that I balance with my duties as CEO of New Line Cinema. I am deeply involved with decision-making at the vineyard and winery and speak with my COO there daily. I have a home nearby in East Hampton and visit the winery as often as I can, generally about twice a month," he says. "Just as a movie has a long development process, there is a long gap between when we pick the grapes and when the wine is ready to drink. Both are businesses centered on a creative process that is full of imponderables and that you cannot completely control."

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