Earlier this month, Patch reported the closing of Peconic Bay Winery’s tasting room in Cutchogue to daily walk-in customers in order to shift focus to the newer tasting room at Empire State Cellars at Tanger Mall in Riverhead. The Cutchogue location will be open for wine club members, private parties and music performances.
Commentary ranged from those who said they were shocked by the move to ruminations on how agritourism can help or hinder a particular winery. But most readers expressed disappointment, saying they would miss sitting and sipping on Peconic Bay’s particularly pretty back patio.
Here of a few of your thoughts on the move, feel free to keep the conversation going in the comment boxes below.
“I work at Hawk Haven Vineyard & Winery in south Jersey and agritourism has been very successful for wineries in this county. People visit for a wine tasting and love to tour the vineyards and see how everything is made. In the summer and fall we have weekly events with live music and food; these are some of our busiest months. We love the whole farm to table movement and host many wine pairing dinners where all the food is locally grown. I think it adds to the whole wine tasting experience to visit the place where the grapes in your wine are grown and buy directly from that place rather than a retail outlet. And what is better than relaxing on a patio overlooking the vineyard, a glass of wine in hand and some live music in the background?” — Lynsie Patterson,
“Of course, the economic and branding benefits of agritourism should be determined by each vineyard and their overall operation However, such operations must operate within Town codes with regards to allowed agricultural use, facility capacity, noise levels, food preparation, etc. Vineyard-based wine tasting and other events are a year-round tourist draw and do add to the overall economy of the North Fork, including providing additional seasonal and year-round jobs. However, multiple events and promotions within the small area of the North Fork do add to traffic safety, congestion and pollution woes, detracting from the appeal of the North Fork for tourists and residents alike.
In the end, the economic and environmental health of our area vineyards are important to the North Fork as they maintain agricultural lands as open, green spaces, important to the health of our land and water resources, as opposed to, say, tract home developments. There needs to be a balance of the needs of the vineyards to remain viable operations and the needs of the community to be the quiet, safe and rural place to live that we want.” — William Toedter,
“I can't believe they would close their main tasting room to open in Tanger. I go to Peconic Bay often with friends for a glass or 10. Now I guess I will be going to Corey Creek, Bedell, or Martha Clara. No way am I going to Tanger Mall for a glass of wine. Plus lets get shoppers drunk on wine so they can drive home.” — Amy,
“Kind of shocked about this...Hope it's not contagious! Peconic Bay is a pretty spot to sip some wine when it's not overly crowded. Sorry, wine tasting in the middle of an outlet mall doesn't do it for me.” — Linda Auriemma,
“You're in business to make a profit. Understood. In fact, I think this move is a good one for you. The increase of foot traffic alone will improve your visibility and widen your consumer base. But charging by the glass the existing customers who have already discovered the wonderful wines you produce? Come on. There are many other vineyards who still allow for the purchase of a bottle to be consumed on premises. Your first option should have been to broaden your customer base, not soak the loyal ones for more cash to improve your margins. BTW, from time to time I still pick up some of your wines but probably won't anymore. After all, you're not relying on my patronage to survive, are you? Business folks should never insult the public. We just might be customers with an honest opinion.” — Al 17,
“Go where the money is. The north fork is dead if you're looking to make a buck because the locals are so cheap, and the visitors aren't thrilled with the caliber of services (poor service, mediocre food, at best). Get some chain restaurants and watch a line out the door.” — Oliver,
“I did read the winery would be open to wine club members but apparently for special events only. What about spring, summer, and fall when we just want to stop by for a glass of wine, to relax and some music. What about bringing along family and friends. I guess you don't need my patronage either … I think many members are going to be as disappointed as we are. I am not in the wine business. But I really feel this is a mistake. We will miss Peconic Winery.” — Deborah Basso,