04/15/14 8:00am
04/15/2014 8:00 AM
Bryan Villanti is opening up Vines N' Vittles on Front Street in Greenport. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch photo)

Bryan Villanti is opening up Vines N’ Vittles on Front Street in Greenport. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch photo)

A new eatery will be opening up shop in coming weeks in the space that formerly held Pagano’s Little Italian Place.

Bryan Villante will be launching Vino N’ Vittles at 110 Front St., offering local wines and full menu ranging from scallops to shrimp scampi to burgers.

Read more about it on northforker.com

03/16/14 3:57pm
03/16/2014 3:57 PM

SoutholdPD Car - 500

Police said a Cutchogue man was caught stealing wine recently from a vineyard he lives close to.

According to Southold police, 40-year-old Arnoldo Lorenzo-Lopez was charged with petty larceny, a misdemeanor, last Thursday after he was caught taking two gallons of wine from a storage container on the site of Pugliese Vineyards.

The incident occurred about 10 p.m., according to cops. Police chief Martin Flatley said that operators at the vineyard believed the man had been stealing wine from the facility.

Mr. Lorenzo-Lopez lives on Bridge Lane in Cutchogue, the chief said, not far from the Main Road vineyard. Mr. Flatley said Mr. Lorenzo-Lopez was impaired by alcohol when police spoke to him.

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.

[email protected]

10/03/13 8:28am
10/03/2013 8:28 AM

CYNDI MURRAY PHOTO | Farm stands like Barb’s Veggies in Peconic will soon be able to sell local wines.

Wine lovers will soon be able to pick up a bottle of local vino at their nearest farm stand.

Continuing his push to promote New York State vineyards Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed new legislation permitting the sale of wine at roadside farm markets.

“These new laws will build on our continuing efforts to promote New York’s wine industry across the state and beyond, boosting tourism, local economies and job growth,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement.

Mr. Cuomo signed bills last Friday allowing farm stands to sell local wines and creating several new wine trails in upstate New York. They go into effect March 31, 2014.

On the North Fork, which already boasts an established wine trail, the farm markets law allows for sale of wine that is manufactured and produced by up to two licensed farm wineries, special wineries or micro-wineries located within 20 miles of the roadside farm stands, according to the law.

While in 2009 the mere mention of allowing wine sales at supermarkets had liquor store owners furious and scared for their livelihoods, the new law is not drawing the same amount of criticism.

Jim Silver, general manager of Empire State Cellars in Riverhead, said he doesn’t think allowing farm stands to sell local wine would have a negative impact on his business.

“The seasonality of farm stands is so limited that I don’t think it will have an impact,” he said, adding that farm stands are restricted to carrying only two brands of wine and that climate control might cause a storage issue for farmers. “Do I think it’s a good a idea? Yes. Do I think it’s a great idea? No.”

Although the town and the Long Island Wine Council have a long history of disagreeing on wine-related issues, the law is a measure both groups are behind.

“I think it’s a good idea,” Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell said. “It’s good not just for wineries, but farmers and the people selling produce.”

Steve Bate, the Wine Council executive director, agreed.

“I think it provides a terrific new opportunity for wineries and farm stands to work together to promote the sale of local products,” he said. “This is just the latest example that Governor Cuomo really understands and appreciates the importance of agriculture and agritourism to our state’s economy.”

Mr. Cuomo has spearheaded several initiatives to bolster the wine industry.

In July 2012, the governor signed legislation designed to support New York’s breweries and wineries, as well as increase demand for locally grown farm products and expand industry-related economic development and tourism.

The Empire state is home to nearly 500 wineries, breweries, distilleries and cider mills that account for more than $22 billion in annual total economic impact in the state and support tens of thousands of jobs statewide, the governor’s office said.

The state ranks third in the nation in wine and grape production, has the second-most distilleries and three of the top-producing 20 brewers in the nation, Mr. Cuomo said.

The 2013-14 state budget introduced several new initiatives to help improve the marketing of New York State-produced products, including a total of $7 million for Market New York and Taste NY to support a multifaceted regional marketing plan that will promote regional tourism and New York-produced goods and products.

[email protected]

09/29/13 9:51am
KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | The Massoud family at the 30th anniversary celebration of Paumanok Vineyards Saturday night.

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | The Massoud family at the 30th anniversary celebration of Paumanok Vineyards Saturday night.

Paumanok Vineyards celebrated its 30th anniversary Saturday night with a gala party to thank local chefs for their years of support. The Massoud family, owners of the Aquebogue vineyard, will donate all proceeds from the event to Peconic Bay Medical Center.


Several hundred guests gathered under a festive white tent at the edge of the vineyard and were treated to tastings from some of Long Island’s most celebrated chefs, including many from the North Fork.


Master of Ceremonies Doug Geed, anchorman for News 12 and host of The East End, spoke of his affection for the North Fork and for the Massoud family, whom he has known for over 25 years.

Peconic Bay Medical Center president and CEO Andrew Mitchell gave a short and sometimes funny history of the Massoud family’s journey and of winemaking on Long Island.

Suffolk County legislator Al Krupski presented the Massouds with a proclamation and brought the entire family up to the stage to receive it.


09/09/13 10:11am
09/09/2013 10:11 AM


To the Editor:

Last week, when we brought home our weekly Suffolk Times, my wife and I retired to our deck in the early evening, cocktails in hand, to tackle Louisa Hargrave’s quiz column “Test your wine knowledge.”

We thought this would be good, clean, end-of-summer fun, dusted with a patina of enlightenment. Although my wife and I have sampled local wines for more than a decade (and my wife has worked, off and on, in the wine industry), we could no more succeed at Ms. Hargrave’s quiz than we could put together a nuclear cyclotron using only an Ikea instruction manual as a guide. In fact, we only got one of the 20 questions right — and that was by guessing.

It would seem to me that a “quiz” should be fun, accessible, and inviting as a way to enjoy the subject matter; in this case, wine. Ms. Hargrave’s questions were pitched somewhere near a fi nal exam for an M.S. degree in oenology and viticulture at one of our fi ner institutions, like Cornell University. I also question whether anyone looked at her exam — sorry, quiz — from an editorial capacity and might have gently suggested that it be ratcheted down a notch or two to something approaching the mortal plain.

I am a professor at NYU, specializing in drama and musical theater (indeed, I have a weekly radio program about theater music on WPPB, 88.3FM), but I wouldn’t dream of giving my students — or listeners — such an abstruse and recondite series of questions on Broadway show tunes. But, inspired by the wine quiz — for those of you who missed it — here are three bibulous questions from the world of musical theater, pitched at Ms. Hargrave’s level of inquisition:

1. This beloved 1956 musical is set in a vineyard in the Napa Valley: how many LP disks comprised the original cast recording?

2. The 1933 musical “Champagne Sec” was based on “Die Fledermaus”: who played the female lead?

3. “Come taste the wine/Come hear the band,” goes a lyric from the title number of this 1966 musical. What color was the leading lady’s hair during the out-of-town tryout, and what was it when the show opened? (Alas, Peg Murray is not allowed to compete for Question 3 — extra points if you know why!)

Good luck!

Laurence Maslon, Southold

09/05/13 12:00pm
09/05/2013 12:00 PM

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | There were plenty of wines available at the Harvest East End celebration Aug. 24 at McCall Wines in Cutchogue.

The fourth annual celebration of Long Island Wine Country, known as Harvest East End, raised close to $50,000 for its beneficiaries: East End Hospice, Group for the East End and the Peconic Land Trust, as well as the Long Island Farm Bureau Promotion & Education Foundation, according to a press release.

The event, organized by the Long Island Wine Council with support from Merliance, celebrated wine country’s 40th anniversary and brought more than 1,300 people to McCall Vineyard & Ranch in Cutchogue Aug. 24.

It was the first time the event was held on the North Fork. Governor Andrew Cuomo attended the event and presented McCall Wines owner Russ McCall with a plaque for a “Winery of the Year” award, which he won at the 2013 New York Wine & Food Classic.


Senator Ken LaValle and Assemblyman Fred Thiele also made an appearance.

Officials premiered a 30-second commercial promoting wine production in New York State. The spot is expected to run this fall throughout the region.

This year’s event surpassed last years fundraising total by close to $4,000, according to the release.

“There is a reason why so many of Long Island’s wines earn premium scores by our reviewers,” said Adam Strum, Editor & Publisher of Wine Enthusiast Magazine, which helped sponsor the event. “The wines of this region are distinct and delicious, elegant and eminently food-friendly. Long Island definitely is a wine region to watch.”

[email protected]

05/05/13 6:00pm
05/05/2013 6:00 PM

RACHEL YOUNG PHOTO | Winemaker Anthony Nappa with dogs Beckett and Smooch in the Raphael winery storeroom.

Growing up in the outskirts of Boston, Anthony Nappa couldn’t have imagined that his life would one day revolve around grapes and oak barrels.

“I didn’t find wine,” Mr. Nappa said from his new office at Raphael vineyards and winery in Peconic, where he became winemaker in late January. “It sort of found me.”

That’s not to say the path to viticulture hadn’t been at least partially cleared for the 35-year-old Mr. Nappa, who lives in Southold with his wife, chef Sarah Evans Nappa.

Plants had always been one of his primary interests, so after graduating from high school, Mr. Nappa studied botany at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, earning a degree in fruit and vegetable agriculture.

But it wasn’t until Mr. Nappa traveled to Italy, his father’s birthplace, that his interest in wine was piqued.

“I found out I have a decent palate, a really good sense of smell and an ability to do this,” he said of making wine.

Soon, Mr. Nappa was halfway around the world, in New Zealand — a cool-climate region famous for its dry white wines — where he studied winemaking at Lincoln University in Christchurch, earning degrees in viticulture and oenology.

“If you understand grape chemistry it translates to wine chemistry,” he said. “Some people only study wine but when you want to make better wine you have to start in the vineyard. If you take it back all the way to the grape chemistry, you have a better holistic understanding of the whole product.”

After graduation, Mr. Nappa moved to southern Italy, where he has dual citizenship, to make wine. He also worked as a winemaker in Massachusetts and California. In 2007, he moved to Long Island, where Long Island Sound, Peconic Bay and the Atlantic Ocean help regulate the temperature and create a unique winemaking experience.

“Long Island is one of the most positive and interesting regions on the East Coast,” he said. “I think we can make wines that rival any of the high-end wines in California and Europe.”

Mr. Nappa’s first major professional foray into the wine industry was also in 2007, when he and his wife produced 200 cases of Long Island Pinot Noir, creating Anthony Nappa Wines.

That same year, he became the winemaker at Shinn Estate Vineyards in Mattituck. He left there in 2011 to concentrate on Anthony Nappa Wines, which currently sells nine varieties as well as a hard apple cider at its Peconic shop, the Winemakers Studio.

“Anthony is a talented winemaker,” said David Page, co-owner of Shinn Estate Vineyards and Farmhouse. “I wish him nothing but the best.”

As much as Mr. Nappa enjoyed his solo venture — “I was just working for myself, making wine,” he said — he missed the stability an established winery often provides.

“It’s nice to have a home base,” Mr. Nappa said. “You have some consistency and better control.”

Enter Raphael, an estate-owned vineyard and winery that opened in 2001. Last December, Raphael’s owners, Joseph Vergari and Julie Petrocelli-Vergari, approached Mr. Nappa about taking over the winemaking position, which had become vacant.

“We courted him for a bit,” Ms. Vergari said. She and Mr. Vergari had chatted with Mr. Nappa at various industry events and sensed he’d be a great addition to the winery.

“He gets it,” she said. “He gets what we’re trying to do. The way he makes wine and the way we make wine is very similar.”

The timing seemed serendipitous. Just before starting his new position, Mr. Nappa had finished bottling wines at his own shop, allowing him to focus on blending and bottling Raphael’s whites. Next up? Fine tuning the reds and seeing where the rest of the year takes him.

“We’re turning toward reds and figuring out the summer,” Mr. Nappa said. “Things happen slowly in the winery. Things are always in motion but it’s a slow, steady pace.”

For the laid-back Mr. Nappa, who often brings his two dogs, Beckett and Smooch, with him to the vineyard, it’s a pace that suits him just fine.

“I enjoy the creative side of winemaking,” he said. “We’re not changing the world here; it’s just wine — but we do make something that people enjoy, and that’s rewarding.”

r[email protected]

02/23/13 12:00pm
02/23/2013 12:00 PM

COURTESY PHOTO | Aquebogue’s own acclaimed trumpet player Alex Siplagin will perform at Winterfest this weekend.

The 2013 edition of the Winterfest Jazz on the Vine series continues at local wineries this weekend. Tickets to the concert events are $20.

Check out the complete schedule below:


Ahmad Ali
Harbes Family Vineyard
3 p.m.
Jazz on the Half Shell
Macari Vineyards & Winery
3 p.m.
Danny Kean & Friends
Pellegrini Vineyards
3 p.m.
Steve Adelson Stick-Tet
Castello di Borghese
4:30 p.m.
Alex Sipiagin
4:30 p.m.
Mike Freeman ZonaVibe
Wolffer Estate
6 p.m.
Live at the Indigo
Hotel Indigo
7 p.m.
Paula Atherton
Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard
2:30 p.m.
Josyane Monaco
Diliberto Winery
2:30 p.m.
Iris Ornig
Palmer Vineyards
2:30 p.m.
Eliana Marcia & Banda Azul
4 p.m.
Don Miller’s String Theory
Lieb Cellars
4 p.m.
The Rare Groove Band
Bedell Cellars
4 p.m.