Winery would be first one on Sound

05/06/2010 12:00 AM |

The Kontokosta family plans to build a winery at its 67 Steps Vineyard, just west of Peconic Landing in Greenport.

A bid to build the North Fork’s first winery on Long Island Sound is now before the town Planning Board.

The Jemco Winery proposal calls for the construction of an 8,419-square-foot, two-story winery — about half the size of Raphael Vineyard’s prominent main building in Peconic — on 60 acres north of Route 25, outside the incorporated village of Greenport.

The property is owned by the Kontokosta family through KACE Development LLC, which also owns and operates the Harborfront Inn and the Greenport Galleria commercial building, both on Front Street in Greenport.

The company is looking to build the North Fork’s easternmost winery and the only one in the Greenport area or fronting on the Sound.

“The architecture is somewhat modern, similar to Duck Walk Vineyards” in Southold, Southold Town planning director Heather Lanza said.

The application, which also includes plans for solar and windmill power sources, was formally accepted and submitted for environmental review by the Planning Board Monday.

KACE principal Michael Kontokosta was not available for comment earlier this week.

According to the company’s website, the 67 Steps Vineyard, a name taken from a nearby Sound beach, is planted in cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, riesling, syrah, merlot and viognier varietals. The last two planting phases were completed in 2004 and the vineyard produced its first harvest in 2006.

In the early 1990s, the property was the center of a bitter political dispute that led to a courtroom battle. At that time, the Kontokostas petitioned the Town Board for a zone change, from the R-80 low-density residential category, which requires two acres for each house lot, to a zone permitting four units per acre.

The board took no action until after the United Southold Party upset the GOP in the 1993 town elections. As one of its final acts, the lame-duck board granted the zone change, which the incoming United Southold majority reversed. The Kontokostas filed suit, but the town’s decision to restore the low-density zoning was upheld.

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