07/19/15 4:22pm

TR0723_Fatal4_vc

They were all 23 and 24 years old, their whole lives seemingly ahead of them.

They were visiting the North Fork to celebrate a major event in one of their friend’s lives.

Then, as the driver of the limousine they had booked to help keep them safe during a trip to local wineries attempted to make a U-turn on Route 48 and Depot Lane in Cutchogue, the lives of the four friends came to a tragic end Saturday.  READ

07/19/15 9:14am

TR0723_Fatal4_vc

They were all 23 and 24 years old, their whole lives seemingly ahead of them.

They were visiting the North Fork to celebrate a major event in one of their friend’s lives.

Then, as the driver of the limousine they had booked to help keep them safe during a trip to local wineries attempted to make a U-turn on Route 48 and Depot Lane in Cutchogue, the lives of the four friends came to a tragic end Saturday.  READ

05/28/14 12:00pm
05/28/2014 12:00 PM
Vineyard 48. (Credit: file photo)

A judge ruled in favor of Vineyard 48. (Credit: file photo)

A state Supreme Court judge has tossed claims brought against Vineyard 48 by the New York State Liquor Authority, which was seeking to a reverse a decision that allows the Cutchogue winery to remain open as its legal matters are sorted out.  (more…)

01/09/14 2:37pm
01/09/2014 2:37 PM
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO

Vineyard 48 was given another extension on a stay to keep a temporary liquor license on Thursday, while the Cutchogue winery appeals a New York State Liquor Authority ruling in December that had pulled its license.

Peter Sullivan, attorney for the vineyard owner, said on Thursday that the temporary stay is good until Jan. 21, when he is due back in court. The winery had previously obtained a stay in late December until Thursday.

Mr. Sullivan said that the revocation, issued by the SLA in New York City on Dec. 17, is unwarranted on the grounds that testimony at the SLA hearing was largely over a year old, and conditions at the vineyard have improved as of late.

“First, these complaints are over a year old. That is very significant,” he said. “Second, essentially this is a noise case — notwithstanding the events that allegedly occurred a year or two ago which were not related to noise.”

Debate over activities taking place at the vineyard is nothing new.

In April, the State Liquor Authority began investigating the winery after a long list of residents complained of loud music and other disturbances.

Southold Town has also taken legal action against the vineyard, citing violations against its previously approved site plan, including exceeding maximum occupancy. In addition, the town passed parking restrictions in August on Route 48 near the vineyard.

Southold Police Chief Martin Flatley said he had not heard the news yet as of early Thursday afternoon. However he said he expected delays in the process after the SLA revoked Vineyard 48’s license.

“We know this is built into the system. Sometimes the only way to do police work is to do your end of the work and push through as best you can until the end, and wait until it gets to the end,” he said. “We didn’t think it would be resolved yet.”

While he admitted that operations at the vineyard have improved over the last year — violations have not been as flagrant as they were in 2011 or 2012, he said — “there were still calls there,” he said.

12/31/13 9:00am
12/31/2013 9:00 AM
FILE PHOTO | Vineyard 48

FILE PHOTO | Vineyard 48 in Cutchogue.

Update: Vineyard 48 back in business as it appeals SLA license revocation

After years of complaints from local residents, a back-and-forth with town leaders and even a lawsuit submitted against it on the town’s behalf, controversial Vineyard 48 had its liquor license revoked by the State Liquor Authority in December.

The ruling came as a relief to town officials, police and, perhaps most of all, neighbors of the Cutchogue winery who have long complained about a host of concerns, including loud music and patrons allegedly having sex in public on private property.

In response to those claims, the town put activities at all local wineries under the microscope. However, the Southold Town Board’s attempt to pass two separate pieces of legislation concerning the use of wineries has proven a tricky task.

After years of fine-tuning, the town adopted its controversial special events law this year, but the issue became muddied by a separate proposed policy to change the town’s legal definition of permitted winery uses.

In November the Planning Board requested that the Zoning Board of Appeals evaluate what constitutes a winery, including whether a “dance and/or social club” was permissible in a tasting room and whether a retail cigar shop was an acceptable accessory use at a vineyard, ZBA chair Leslie Weisman said.
Both those activities had become common practice at Vineyard 48, according to the ZBA, prompting investigations by both the town and the State Liquor Authority.

Vineyard 48 owner Matthew Metz has refuted all accusations against the vineyard and called the town a “bully,” saying it is unfairly targeting his business.

Shortly before the winery lost its liquor license Dec. 18, Mr. Metz filed suit against the town to defend his business, Supervisor Scott Russell said.

As the legal battle continues, the town’s attempt to hone its definition of a winery will have to wait until 2014.

Editor’s note: We’re counting down the top 10 news stories of 2013. Check back every day until Jan. 1 to follow along.