Supreme Court judge rules in favor of Vineyard 48

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. 

The SLA’s case relied heavily on the testimony of William Shipman, the winery’s neighbor and one of its most outspoken detractors.

Earlier this month, Mr. Shipman complained to town police that Vineyard 48 — which had become known for club-like partying on summer weekends — was again pairing wine tasting with music and exceeding its parking capacity, which the SLA claimed were violations of the stay order allowing the winery to operate with a temporary liquor license.

But a state Supreme Court judge ruled May 16 that Vineyard 48 is operating legally.

“The court said what we are doing is exactly what is permitted,” said Peter Sullivan, an attorney for the winery. “The court dismissed Shipman and the SLA out of hand, affirming that Vineyard 48 was not violating the court order. [Vineyard 48] has spent two years and a fortune being the most perfect operator in the town.”

The winery is appealing a December SLA ruling that pulled its liquor license and is battling Southold Town in state Supreme Court.

On May 14, the SLA filed the complaint in court, claiming Vineyard 48 was violating the law and court order. Two days later, state Supreme Court Judge Doris Ling Cohan ruled that the winery’s tents, music and parking all comply with the terms allowing it to retain its temporary liquor license.

Mr. Shipman said that despite the judge’s ruling, he believes SLA’s appeal will be successful.

“I’m actually very confident in the appeal,” he said. “What was put in the case shows that Vineyard 48 isn’t doing tastings; they were serving hundreds of people drink specials. I think with all of that in the SLA’s case they will never be able to go back to what it is was. We might have to suffer with limos and buses, but that would have been acceptable to begin with, had it not turned into a club three years ago.”

The town issued code violations against Vineyard 48 this year over outside tents that the town believes violates the winery’s site plan. It’s moving forward with its two-year-old case against the winery over alleged noise and other issues, according to Southold attorney Martin Finnegan.

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