Sandy Signaled End for Struggling North Fork Winery, Exec Says

The owners of the Cutchogue business decided not to reopen the tasting room this season.

Photo Credit: James Silver.
Photo Credit: James Silver.
Sandy's wrath was the last straw for one North Fork winery on the precipice.

According to James Silver, general manager of the Peconic Bay Winery in Cutchogue, Sandy, last year, dealt the winery its last crippling blow.

Silver said Sandy ripped off a canopy that would have spent $75,000 to replace, as well as roofs, and kept the business closed for 11 days with a live downed power line right outside by a public bus stop.

It wasn't easy to say good-bye to the dream, Silver said. "I wanted to keep going."

But the Lowerres made the decision not to re-open the tasting room in Cutchogue. And so, this year, Silver laid off 21 employees, many of whom lived and worked in Southold, including himself. "The vineyard was definitely a family," he said.

Peconic Bay winery announced recently that it was offering its last wine under the label. 

In total, at one point, Peconic Bay Winery employed 45, all with health insurance and benefits, he said.

For months, speculation has been swirling about whether the vineyards were up for sale.

On Friday, Silver said, "No, we’ve not been sold.  And right now we’re still not for sale. In fact, the vineyards are going to be run by Russell (Hearn) for another year into 2014. One of our parcels in Peconic is for sale, though, for $2.65 million at Brown Harris Stevens."

Silver said it would take two to three years to sell the property even if a buyer stepped forward immediately.

Silver announced this week that he is leaving the North Fork and heading to Sonoma to pursue his dream and passion for wine.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »