Hargrave Column: Remembering the Borgheses

Marco and Ann Marie Borghese purchased their Cutchogue vineyard in 1999. (Credit: Jane Starwood, file)
Marco and Ann Marie Borghese purchased their Cutchogue vineyard in 1999. (Credit: Jane Starwood, file)

The tragic loss of Ann Marie and Marco Borghese has all of us who knew them reeling. My heart weeps for their family. 

Seeking consolation, I recall a far happier day when I met them at Hargrave Vineyard in November 1998. The Borgheses had traveled from Philadelphia to the Hamptons to visit friends for Thanksgiving, and arrived via ferry to the North Fork for fun, as a diversion. I will never forget the sight of this handsome and joyful couple, caroming around my vineyard with their children Giovanni and Allegra riding on the hood of the car, shrieking with delight.

As Marco later said of their visit to Hargrave Vineyard, “We came to taste and stayed to buy.”

Over the next several months, I came to know Marco particularly as he returned again and again to discuss details of his purchase of Hargrave Vineyard. An elegant aristocrat who spoke casually of his conversations with his distant cousin, the Pope, Marco had a wry humor and easy grace. More than anything, he wanted to live an unpretentious simple life. Urged by his advisers to market himself with his princely heritage, he was adamant that he wanted most of all to make wonderful wine that would bring pleasure to others and that he didn’t care a whit about boastful self-promotion. He wanted his beautiful, clever wife and beloved children to know the serene farm life that he had experienced growing up in Tuscany. When Marco and Ann Marie came to the North Fork, they envisioned many generations of rural delight.

Today, their untimely deaths cast a pall over the entire community that knew and loved them. We stand ready to help Giovanni, Allegra, Fernando and all the Borghese family in any way we can.

Ms. Hargrave is a wine columnist and the co-founder of Long Island’s first vineyard, which was sold to the Borghese family in 1999.