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11/03/16 11:00am
11/03/2016 11:00 AM

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Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell has suggested a temporary moratorium on new winery, brewery and distillery applications, saying the town needs time to revamp the “sparse” codes it has for regulating the industries. READ

12/03/15 6:54pm
12/03/2015 6:54 PM

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An owner of Southold Farm + Cellar — whose business has been in limbo for months after his family closed it voluntarily and then opened back up on a limited schedule not long after — told town officials he would accept certain restrictions on his small winery as part of any approval to reopen given by the Zoning Board of Appeals. READ

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.

12/30/13 4:19pm
12/30/2013 4:19 PM
GIANNA VOLPE FILE PHOTO

GIANNA VOLPE FILE PHOTO

Less than two weeks after the New York State Liquor Authority revoked the liquor license for Vineyard 48, the Cutchogue winery is back open for business while it appeals the ruling in state court.

According to Southold Town attorney Martin Finnegan, the winery received temporary stay from the SLA revocation as a New York State Supreme Court considers whether or not the previous ruling by the state authority is legal.

The current stay is good until Jan. 9, he said, when the vineyard is due back in court.

“We anticipated this was coming at some point,” said Mr. Finnegan.

Southold Police Chief Martin Flatley confirmed the decision as well, though he and Mr. Finnegan both noted that the issues at hand are technically not between the town and Vineyard 48, but rather the SLA and Vineyard 48.

On Dec. 17, the SLA board sustained six of eight charges brought against the embattled vineyard, which has drawn the ire of neighbors for years.

Nearby residents have testified that they’ve witnessed lewd acts in public, dealt with overwhelming traffic coming in and out of the vineyard, and heard more than their fair share of loud music coming from the winery.

A manager on site at Vineyard 48 did not return a request for comment, and a call to Vineyard 48 attorney Pat Moore was not returned on Monday. A spokesman for the SLA also did not return a call seeking comment on Monday.

Chief Flatley, who testified at the Dec. 17 SLA hearing in New York City, said that the winery had previously been offered a deal that would have resulted in a fine and a liquor suspension. That offer was denied, he said, as the owners opted to go to a hearing.

After listening to testimony at the hearing, SLA Chair Dennis Rosen said that “I think there is a point where one can distinguish between a winery running legitimate operations … and turning into this kind of a nightclub atmosphere that is clearly detrimental to the community.”

While the winery is back in business — its Facebook page advertised its “victory in court” on Monday — the vineyard will still need to meet new compliances as required through a recent site plan approval from the town Planning Board.

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08/28/13 12:00pm
08/28/2013 12:00 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | A pilot shuttle bus program will transport people to wineries, hamlets and local businesses.

Southold Town is throwing its support behind a new pilot shuttle bus service to connect wineries, hamlets and local businesses this Veterans Day weekend.

During Monday’s work session the board said it would assist the East End Tourism Alliance, Long Island Wine Council and North Fork Promotion Council in promoting the event.

“This would be an opportunity to advance business,” said Southold’s special projects coordinator Philip Beltz. “It needs to be successful so it can be continued.”

The pilot program is being made possible through a portion of a $335,000 “I Love NY”  grant, aiming to help promote agritourism on the East End, said Joan Bischoff of the North Fork Promotional Council during the meeting.

The buses, which will be provided by Hampton Jitney, will run in a loop between Riverhead and Greenport. There will also be feeder buses from the Cross Sound Ferry and Long Island Rail Road. Stops will be made at each location approximately every 45 minutes during business hours.

The groups behind the shuttle are currently planning a ‘Taste North Fork” festival to coincide with the pilot program on Veterans Day weekend. The three-day event will feature a full range of activities celebrating local wines and foods across the region. Wineries, as well as local breweries and distilleries, will be invited to offer special tasting menus paired with foods from local restaurants.

Mr. Bischoff said he’d like the town’s help to expand participation to include small businesses, chambers of commerce and historical societies. He hopes stops could also be made within each individual hamlet.

“The hope is [that businesses] can come up with themes to showcase their community,” he said.

“It is a fantastic idea,” said Greenport Business Improvement District president Peter Clarke said after the meeting. “It makes sense for Greenport. It’s a pedestrian spot. People could stop and see a lot of things at one time.”

Mr. Clarke said he thinks the village could be use as a hospitality center where visitors can learn about the different locations where the shuttle will stop.

Mr. Bischoff said he hopes the shuttle program can continue next year for the entire summer season.

“We have to make sure it’s not a bridge to nowhere,” he said. “We would like some sort of annual event in the slow season to bring in tourists.”

The organizations are now working with the towns and the Hampton Jitney to finalize the exact shuttle route.

The Town Board agreed to host a meeting for all interested parties at the end of September to help promote the pilot program. No date has been set.

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04/26/13 12:00pm
04/26/2013 12:00 PM

RACHEL YOUNG PHOTO |  Macari Vineyards was the set for an upcoming “I Love New York” commercial Wednesday.

A film crew from the “I Love New York” campaign set up shop at Macari Vineyards in Mattituck yesterday to shoot a spot that will be used in an upcoming commercial.

“We’re happy to be part of it,” said Barbara Hofer, the special events coordinator at Macari Vineyards. “It’s going to promote the North Fork.”

The “I Love New York” campaign is run by the Empire State Development Corporation and promotes tourism throughout the state.

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