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Vineyard 48 fined $160,000 by Southold Town

One year after losing their liquor license, the owners of Vineyard 48 were hit with $160,000 in fines, Southold Town officials announced Monday.

In a press release, Supervisor Scott Russell said 32 convictions were secured against the owners, John Paul Winery, Inc. in court last month.

The controversial Cutchogue winery had been the source of complaints from neighbors for years. Incidents reported by neighbors and Southold police include loud music, public urination and cases of couples having sex in plain sight.

Southold Town issued numerous violations to the owners during the summer of 2017, town officials said. A bench trial on all charges was held Sept. 17, 2018, and four days later, Southold Town Justice Brian Hughes found the defendants guilty on all charges.

The owners face a $5,000 fine for each charge, totalling $160,000.

“We pursued the maximum fines because the operators repeatedly thumbed their noses at our community and the Court agreed,” said Southold Town Attorney Bill Duffy in a press release.

Town officials said in a statement that the way the business was run led to “serious disruptions” in the community and the “erosion of the quality of life” for nearby homeowners.

“They abused the people of Southold and now they have to pay the price,” Mr. Russell said.

Vineyard 48 closed for good last October, after the SLA ordered an emergency suspension of the license. The suspension came after after an altercation involving “400 disorderly, heavily intoxicated patrons,” broke out at their the tasting room. Six Southold police officers responded and ordered the vineyard to close that afternoon due to an overwhelming crowd size.

The vineyard had been the source of legal issues and frustrations dating back at least five years.

The State Liquor Authority revoked the vineyard’s license in 2013, but the decision was later overruled by a state Supreme Court judge. In 2016, the vineyard was slapped with $10,000 in SLA fines due to continuing complaints from locals, but reopened three weeks later.

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