10/18/13 4:30pm
10/18/2013 4:30 PM

KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO | Peconic Bay Winery is for sale, months after its tasting room closed.

Two months after closing up shop, Peconic Bay Winery announced Friday it’s bottling its final wine for sale to the public.

The final release ­— black labeled Lowerre Family Estate — is a 2010 vintage red blend of the winery’s vineyards on Oregon Road in Mattituck, as well as the original old vines on Main Road in Cutchogue that surround the tasting room itself.

“Early in 2009 we sat down to blend a ‘tete-de-cuvée’ or a grand reserve style,” general manager Jim Silver said in a press release.  “We named that blend after the family that owns the winery and dressed it in a beautiful black label and heavy glass.”

It is a bittersweet moment for Paul Lowerre, owner and president of Lav-Cor Agricultural, Inc., the parent company of Empire State Cellar and Peconic Bay Winery. He said in a release the decision to stop production was based on economics.

“We still farm over 52 acres of premium grapes in Cutchogue and in Mattituck, so I’m not going to say we’re finished producing wine – but we’re most likely finished making wine for ourselves,” he said in the release.

In January, Peconic Bay Winery closed its tasting room to the public and transferred operations to the Empire State Cellars store at Tanger Outlets in Riverhead.

At the time, Mr. Silver was adamant that the winery, founded in 1979, had no plans to close its Cutchogue location altogether.

But six months later, in August, the winery, tasting room and 25 acres of planted vineyards on Main Road was put on the market.

Mr. Lowerre, who bought the winery in 1999, said the 30 acres of vines on Oregon Road are not for sale.

Russell Hearn, chief operating officer at Premium Wine Group in Mattituck, will oversee vineyard maintenance and acquire the 2013 grapes, Mr. Silver said.

The final wine is a blend of 60 percent Merlot, 30 percent Malbec and 10 percent Cabernet Franc, according to a release.

The wine was aged for more than 18 months in older French barrels, mostly two to four years old. A total of 400 cases were produced.

The wine will be sold at Empire State Cellars, retailing for $49 per bottle. Three-bottle wooden cases are also available for $159. A limited number of 375-milliliter bottles will sell for $29, magnum bottles for $109 and double-magnums for $249.

The wine will be available for tasting at Empire State Cellars through Thanksgiving.

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01/14/13 3:00pm
01/14/2013 3:00 PM

GIANNA VOLPE FILE PHOTO | Peconic Bay Winery will now do all its non-member tastings at Empire State Cellars at the Tanger Outlet Center.

Peconic Bay Winery will be closing its Cutchogue tasting room to the general public, but the location will continue to be the site of special events and where the company’s wine will be fermented, bottled and stored, according to general manager Jim Silver.

Mr. Silver said Empire State Cellars at Tanger Outlets in Riverhead — where the company currently sells almost 800 New York wines and some liquor — will soon feature an exclusive space for Peconic Bay Winery products and will also serve as the winery’s retail and tasting room headquarters. Peconic Bay Winery owns the outlet, which it opened about a year ago.

The Cutchogue property will still serve as the location for the Peconic Bay Winery wine club and other private events, as well as food and music festivals.

“A lot of people don’t know what to make of this and some think we are closing,” Mr. Silver said. “We are absolutely not closing our tasting room. We are just changing it and re-purposing the [Cutchogue] property. The biggest crowds came out for the special events and we’re going to keep doing them.”

In a press release, Mr. Silver said the Riverhead tasting room “can accommodate dozens of interested wine tasters each day and the hours of operation are much longer than they are at the winery. We’ll reach a lot more people this way.”

He said though the company laments no longer offering open mic and other frequent events for local musicians, the sound of music will not be leaving the property for good.

Two festivals are already planned with event production company Starfish Junction which puts on such events as the North Fork Craft Beer, BBQ & Wine Festival at Martha Clara Vineyards and the Pour the Core hard cider festival held at Peconic Bay Winery in October.

“We’re planning another cider festival for Oct. 5 and I have a meeting in two weeks for a wine-related festival,” Mr. Silver said, adding that the Cutchogue Lions car show will also soon be held at the Cutchogue location.

Mr. Silver said he is currently talking with limo and other private driving companies to make Tanger a stop on the North Fork wine trail.

“On the way out after a day of touring the area, who wouldn’t feel like a little shopping,” Mr. Silver said. “Guys can come have a beer at the bar and girls can check out some of the shops. It’s going to be a fun place.”

Mr. Silver said the North Fork region accommodates about two million people annually, a number he said is growing all the time.

“Our piece of that is 40 to 50,000 and that’s a lot. I think with this move, there will be more traffic to go around to the other local vineyards and will bring loyal Peconic Bay wine drinkers to Tanger,” he said.  “It’s going to be a bit more quiet around here in Cutchogue, but we’re going to keep ourselves just as busy and I don’t think it will end up having too much of an impact.”

Mr. Silver said North Forkers who truly love the Cutchogue location should join the wine club.

“Wine club members come in all the time to pick up their shipments and hundreds of them will show up,” he said. “We’re going to have eight wine club weekends in Cutchogue, so wine club members can have the place all to themselves.”

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