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Top Stories 2017: Winery and vineyard regulation debated; Vineyard 48 closes

The year brought changes, excitement and conflict in the wine world.

In April, a new committee was formed in Southold Town to tackle the task of defining wineries, breweries, distilleries and cideries — all of which receive little or no mention in current town code. The alcohol farm products working group, made up of past and present industry members and town residents, was charged with making relevant recommendations. 

The Southold Town Board withdrew a measure that aimed to further define requirements for wineries. At a Dec. 5 public hearing, people involved in agriculture and wine production filled Town Hall to speak out against the measure. Most were concerned the requirements would be limiting for new businesses.

In other developments, the New York State Liquor Authority revoked Vineyard 48’s liquor license in October and the controversial Cutchogue winery later closed.

Two vineyards filed notices of claim with Southold Town in 2017. Croteaux Vineyards filed to challenge a Zoning Board of Appeals decision that denied a variance to approve its existing tasting room. Surrey Lane filed a notice of claim against the Planning Board, looking to rescind a requirement that it conduct a traffic safety analysis. The notice also included claims that open meetings laws had been violated.

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Photo: File photo.