Peconic Bay Winery (now Peconic Bay Vineyards), which derives its name from the eponymous body of water by which it is located, was established in 1979 by Ray Blum, making it one of the oldest wineries in Long Island. Next owned by Paul and Ursula Lowerre, who live and work in New York City, the winery closed its doors in October of 2013, because, according to Paul, as quoted in the North Fork Patch of October 28, “Our decision to stop production at Peconic Bay Winery was based on simple economics. . . . I’m not going to say we’re finished producing wine – but we’re most likely finished making wine for ourselves.”
In fact, in 2017 an attempt was made to use the winery tasting room to sell a variety of wine, beer, and spirits from producers in New York State, somewhat along the lines of Empire State Cellar, albeit on a small scale. The experiment lasted about a year, but in the end it was shut down. However, in October 2019, Peconic Bay Winery was sold to Stefan Soloviev, a real estate investor who owns other agricultural properties in Long Island. His former wife, Stacey Soloviev, will run the estate once it reopens in late Spring or early Summer. It is probable that the vineyards will be tended by Bill Ackerman, who looks after the vineyards of other wineries on the North Fork. More details about this story are to be found in this Newsday article: Soloviev buys Peconic Bay Winery
When it was in full operation under the ownership of Paul and Ursula Lowerre, the day-to-day running of the winery was by a very capable team that included Jim Silver, the General Manager, Greg Gove, the winemaker (who now makes wine under his own label, Race Wines), Zander Hargrave, the assistant winemaker (and now winemaker at Pellegrini), and Charlie Hargrave, Peconic Bay’s vineyard manager (now retired).
The varieties grown at the vineyards included Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Chardonnay, which produced some of their best wines. For example, on the parcel called Sandy Hill the grapes are more subject to drought than elsewhere in the vineyard. Its terroir, however, also grows grapes with sugars that are higher and more concentrated, ultimately resulting in the best Chardonnay grapes of the property.
Until the purchase of Peconic Bay by Stefan Soloviev, the Oregon Road vineyard parcels had been taken over by Premium Wine Acquisitions, and under the supervision of Russell Hearn was being managed by Bill Ackerman, of North Fork Viticultural Services. Now, however, Peconic Bay is open for business again as Peconic Bay Vineyards and Stacey Soloviev is now the owner and manager. Greg Gove, the former winemaker, is back and working as both oenologist and also vineyard manager. They intend to plant new varieties, such as Pinot Blanc and Grenache and expand the vineyard.
Already, Greg has produced Viognier, Riesling, and Chardonnay, which are available to taste and purchase in the tasting room. We have a great deal to look forward to with this renewed operation.
Updated 28 October 2014, 10 November 2019, 16 October 2021.
Updates to Wines of Long Island, 3rd ed., since it was published.
The book was published on August 19, 2019; since then, significant changes have taken place in the wineries of Long Island. This, of course, is no surprise. I knew that my book would be out-of-date the day it was published. But I’m not planning to write yet another edition. I haven’t even sold all the copies that I had printed so am still out of pocket. However, it’s now possible to update a book online, so I urge all the purchasers of my book to read this and even download it for reference when using the book.
First, the really good news: not a single winery in Long Island went out of business due to the Covid outbreak. In fact, the wineries thrived in 2020, partly because people couldn’t travel abroad, so locals and people from the City made their way to Long Island Wine Country.
Indeed, the Long Island Wine Council has changed its name to Long Island Wine Country, and as of May 2021 has 30 members, up from 24 at the time of publication.
Recently, three wineries have changed their names. Most notably, Shinn Estate, which was sold by Barbara Shinn and her husband, David Page in 2017, is now Rose Hill, according to an article in the Northforker by Grant Parpan (April 15, 2021). The owners, Randy and Barbara Frankel, felt that enough time had passed and they wanted a name that resonated for them. Rose Hill is a neighborhood in Manhattan where they first lived, and though the terrain of the vineyard is flat as a pancake, they chose the name Rose Hill for apparently sentimental reasons.
The second winery to change its name is Laurel Lake, which changed hands this winter when it was sold by the Chilean consortium that had owned it. The new owner, Dan Abrams of ABC News, also chose a personal name of great sentimental meaning, taking the names of his two young children, Everett and Emily, and deriving from them the logo EV&EM. For now, Juan Sepúlveda continues as the winemaker. While Rose Hill is now an official and registered name, EV&EM will not be official until this summer. Sentimental names are not unusual, by the way. Consider Channing Daughters, named in honor of the late Walter Channing’s two daughters when that winery was established, or Martha Clara, named for the mother of Robert Entemann, who purchased the property 1978, initially as a horse farm, but eventually it became a 100-acre vineyard, which was recently bought by a Mexican winemaking family, Ribero-González, which renamed it RGNY.
Then, Sal Diliberto, now 75, decided that it was time to sell his eponymous winery and vineyard, given that none of his children was interested in continuing the business, and it was purchased in February 2021 by a young couple from Riverhead, Jacqui and Greg Goodale. They have renamed it Terra Vite Winery & Vineyard. They hired Kelly Koch, formerly of Macari, as their winemaker, which means that they’ll be making very good wine in the future. The tasting room and winery have been renovated and opened again for business on Memorial Day. diliberto-long-island-wine-country
Another name change since publication is that of Chronicle Wine at Peconic Cellar Door. This needs some explanation. Originally, Alie Shaper and Robin Epperson-McCarthy were independent winemakers. A few years ago they decided to offer their labels from a tasting room on Peconic Lane that they called Peconic Cellar Door. That is now Chronicle Wines at Peconic Cellar Door, but their individual labels remain. In the book Alie’s main brand, BOE, has its own entry, though she has other labels of her own, including Shindig, As If, and Haywater Cove. So too does Robin have her own entry under Saltbird Cellars. Today they would be written of as a single entry, which by no means would diminish their individual accomplishments. In fact, it’s a real and very successful partnership.
In December of 2020 Juan E. Micieli-Martinez, the former winemaker of Martha Clara Vineyards, and his sommelier wife Bridget Quinn Micieli-Martinez, proudly unveil Montauk Daisy Wines in collaboration with Theresa Dilworth and her husband Mineo Shimura of Comtesse Therese Vineyard. Collectively, the group shares 80 years of experience within the Long Island Wine industry. Juan and Bridget, after multiple years of making wine and running operations for many noteworthy producers including Pellegrini Vineyards, Shinn Estate Vineyards, Martha Clara Vineyards, Palmer Vineyards, Clovis Point, and Premium Wine Group, decided it was time they produce wine for themselves. So now there is a new winery, formed taking the fruit of the Comtesse Therese vineyard and Juan making the wines at PWG. This deserves a blog post of its own, which should be forthcoming this summer.
Most remarkable may be the resurrection of the Peconic Bay Winery, now Peconic Bay Vineyard, purchased by Stefan Soloviev, with Stacey Lynne (formerly Mrs. Stefan Soloviev) listed as the owner, and Ken Cereola is the General Manager. Happily, winemaker Greg Gove has returned to his old haunt to resume his work and continue producing excellent and distinctive wines. Furthermore, Evan Ducz, who was at Sparkling Pointe, is the tasting room manager, which means that the room will be very well-managed and run. The winery had been closed for eight years and the vines had been tended by other wineries, so they’re in very good shape. There are now 125 acres planted to grapevines. The winery and its tasting room officially opened in May. As the winery had been closed when the book was published, it was not included, but it will have a new blog post dedicated to it pending an interview with Stacey, which we hope we can do this coming June.
In the meantime, a few wineries are currently for sale: Osprey’s Dominion and Bedell are now on the market and Castello di Borghese is selling a parcel of acres along with the family house, but not the tasting room. Meanwhile, they continue producing wine as they always have.
If you haven’t yet bought my book, please do so here, and download this page to insert in it.
It has been brought to my attention by a few readers that there are some errors in the published book, which should come as a surprise to no one. The most egregious is an omitted section of paragraph that follows the end of page 15: “Others, however,” for on page 16 it should continue: ” . . . dispute this claim.”
This should be followed by a paragraph at the top of page 16: “Another consideration in choosing a site on Long Island is the ﬂocks of migratory birds that move across it. If the vineyard is surrounded by woods and shrubs—good roosting areas-—the risk of bird damage is increased. Especially troublesome has been the voracious starling. Charming in small numbers, these migratory birds become a dark menace reminiscent of Hitchcock’s The Birds as they sweep down in ﬂocks of thousands, just as the grapes are reaching their ripe perfection. They can devour or spoil acres in a matter of hours. Long Island vineyard owners have tried all kinds of weapons in this battle: propane cannons, four-wheel, all-terrain vehicles, miles of shiny Mylar tape, hawks, party balloons, and netting. Most vineyards concluded that the only solution was to put anti-bird netting over the entire vineyard during periods of bird migration, which occurs about the time that grapes begin ripening. It is a solution used by virtually all Long Island vineyards today.”
On page 64 a reference is made to Mark Gibbs, of Wine Advocate. Mark Squires, of Wine Advocate caught this embarrassing slip, because Gibbs is actually meant to be Squires. Don’t ask.
Croteaux Vineyards had been listed as a winery without a tasting room. It has since been purchased, as of August 2019, and the tasting garden was to reopen this Spring, but due to the virus, this has been postponed. However, Croteaux is again releasing its wines, which can be purchased online or by curbside pickup at the site. https://www.croteaux.com/home
Peconic Bay Winery was cited as defunct; it has now been purchased by Stefan Soloviev and was rumored to reopen this Spring or Summer. At this time (May 29, 2020), however, there is no further word on plans to reopen, perhaps due to the Coronavirus. However, while the Winery has a FaceBook page, it has no web page of its own. The FB page says that it is open, but I see no evidence of that. In any case, there are definitely plans to produce wine grapes in the vineyards they still own.