Jul 28, 2014
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Behind the Vines: North Fork Winemaker Gets Married In Vineyard

Macari Vineyards' winemaker Kelly Urbanik spent the happiest day of her life in the place she loves best.

Behind the Vines: North Fork Winemaker Gets Married In Vineyard Behind the Vines: North Fork Winemaker Gets Married In Vineyard
When Kelly Urbanik, winemaker for Macari Vineyards in Mattituck, was planning the most important day of her life, she knew she wanted to be surrounded by family.

And that's why she decided to hold her wedding in the Macari vineyard, surrounded by relatives and friends who are as close as family in a place that resonates with deep meaning.

Urbanik, 32, who married her longtime love Rob Koch on Saturday, said the pair dated for six years before getting engaged in December.

The happy couple met in a local North Fork volleyball league after Urbanik, who lives in Peconic, moved to the area from the Napa Valley on the West Coast, where she grew up.

Surrounded by the lush valleys in California, Urbanik developed an affinity for winemaking and followed her calling across a country.

"I moved here to try a different region and to see what it was like, making wine on the East Coast," she said.

And in true fairy tale fashion, her passion for winemaking led Urbanik to the love of her life.

Her husband, Urbanik said, is a mechanical engineer and avid fisherman.

Deciding on a wedding date, Urbanik said she wanted to be married during the start of the harvest season.

"It's my favorite time of year," she said. "We wanted to do it in the fall but not too late in the season, because I'd be too busy at work."

The Marcari family, she said, offered to have her hold the wedding at the vineyard. "I wouldn't have had it anywhere else," Urbanik said. "There's a special connection to the winery — and to the family."

Seeing the winery adorned with flowers for her wedding, Urbanik said, was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. "I come here every day, and to see it decorated for the wedding made it feel like a whole different place. It was pretty cool."

It made perfect sense, Urbanik said, for the most important day of her life to take place at the vineyard, where the harvest represents the pinnacle of months of hard work and care.

Her work, Urbanik said, is deeply fulfilling.

"It's amazing, seeing the whole process. From when the grapes ferment through when they start bud break, you're just watching them the whole time. It really does feel like nurturing. Then when the fruit is coming in, you're proud to see it."

Urbanik said she and the winery team spend every day out amongst the vines. "I even bring my dog to work, and we walk through the vines. We're always out there, seeing how things are progressing," she said. 

The experience is about lifelong bonds, Urbanik said. "Harvest represents the culmination of it all," she said.

From the interns who come to work during the harvest, to the staff in the vineyard, winery, and tasting room, "It's about all of us working together together," Urbanik said. "We have a good time, make memories," she said. "It's an emotional thing. It feels like a family."

Even on her wedding day Saturday — which happened to fall on the first day that the winery was pressing fruit for the season — Urbanik stopped by to see how things were progressing before she left to get ready for the ceremony.

"They were processing fruit all day, and then, they all came to the wedding, the vineyard manager and the Macari family. It was a great way to start the harvest season."

And a perfect way to being her new married life.

"The whole day was so much fun," Urbanik said. 

Family and friends flew in from the West Coast to share in the special days before her nuptials.

"It went way to fast. I'm so sad it's over. Now, we're back to work."

With harvest season in full swing, Urbanik said she and her new husband won't be honeymooning till February; they haven't even made plans yet.

But that's fine by Urbanik, who, back at the winery Monday, was in her element, doing what she does best. "The air is a little bit crisp. It's harvest season — I love it," she said.

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