No. 5 Story of the Year: North Fork mourns beloved vineyard owners

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)

In late June, the local wine industry suffered a significant blow when Castello di Borghese Vineyard & Winery owners Ann Marie and Marco Borghese of Cutchogue died within 10 days of each other.

Ann Marie Borghese, 56, died June 20 in New Mexico following a long battle with cancer. Marco Borghese, 70, the vineyard’s winemaker, died June 30 in a Wading River car accident. A touching August memorial service was held for the couple, who married in 1985 and purchased the Cutchogue winery from industry pioneers Louisa and Alex Hargrave in 1999. They were survived by three children: Allegra, Giovanni and Fernando.

“He was a man of few, but very powerful words,” Monsignor Joseph Staudt said this past summer of Mr. Borghese, a native of Tuscany with noble lineage. “He was able to communicate a lot with just a look or a gesture.”

Though Mr. Borghese was “urged by his advisers to market himself with his princely heritage,” Ms. Hargrave wrote in a July newspaper column, “he was adamant that he wanted most of all to make wonderful wine that would bring pleasure to others.”

Ms. Borghese was similarly remembered by loved ones at the memorial.

“When she walked into a room, it lit up,” friend Beverly Fortune said of the passionate community advocate, who volunteered her time with local charities, particularly Our Lady of Mercy Regional School in Cutchogue.

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