Real Estate

Surrey Lane farm, orchard and vineyard hits the market for $4.1 million

On the picturesque North Fork, it’s not out of the ordinary for a real estate listing to conjure daydreams of quitting the rat race and moving to the country to start a farm.

In the newest listing offered by North Fork Real Estate, consider the hard part already sorted.

Comprising 45 acres, the Surrey Lane Vineyard Orchard Farm property at 46975 Route 25 in Southold is listed for $4.1 million.

“It’s absolutely beautiful,” said listing agent Gina Leslie of NOFO Real Estate. “It’s meticulously kept and a total labor of love for the whole family,” she added.

Owners David and Liz Shanks purchased the property — once Ackerly Pond Vineyard, owned by the late wine pioneer Ray Blum — in December 2011 and opened their farm stand by Memorial Day in 2012. 

Mr. Shanks, a former Penguin Group CEO, once told the Suffolk Times that all he ever wanted was a 2-acre plot where he could grow “a few grapes, apple trees, vegetables and flowers.”

Instead, he sought advice from local expert viticulturist Steve Mudd and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County and ultimately ended up with a nearly 44-acre farm that includes 25 acres of merlot, cabernet franc, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and pinot blanc grapes, three acres of apples, more than 200 peach and nectarine trees plus a sprawling garden filled with raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and a variety of vegetables.

The family could not be reached for comment this week, but Ms. Leslie said the Shankses plan to retire. “[Mr. Shanks] has loved to farm the land. He was very happy with what he sold and produced,” she said.

For the last decade, the family has opened their farm stand along Main Road, offering everything from bountiful berries to heirloom tomatoes and a wide variety of apples including Macoun, Dandee Red, Honeycrisp, Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious and Red Delicious. A portion of their harvest was also allocated to local food banks.

While a portion of their grape harvest was traditionally sold to Wölffer Estate Winery in Sagaponack, the Shankses eventually began producing their own wine varieties including sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot gris, pinot blanc, cabernet franc and merlot at the farm stand.

In 2016, a roughly 3,600-square-foot building for wine tasting, production and storage was proposed before Southold Town. The owners later took legal action against the town Planning Board, arguing that a request for a traffic analysis was “arbitrary and capricious” and “an abuse of discretion.”

While the application was never formally withdrawn, plans for the winery never materialized.

Ms. Leslie said the property has endless opportunities for a “gentleman’s” (or gentlewoman’s) farm, livestock, homesteading and other agricultural endeavors. While the main 43.7-acre parcel is protected, a 1.84-acre plot with frontage along Main Road has its development rights intact.

In addition to the land, the sale includes all farming equipment and a 90-by-40-foot Morton storage building with refrigeration. A 600-gallon well capable of irrigating the entire farm was also recently outfitted with a new motor and well engine, Ms. Leslie said.

Ms. Leslie said last week that since the property was listed earlier this fall, it has generated interest, though no offers have been accepted. “We’ve had quite a few people interested,” she said. “People already in the business.”

If the farm isn’t sold come spring, Ms. Leslie said the Shankses have “all intentions of opening this season to farm as usual.”