Tag Archives: Stefan Soloviev

The Wines of Long Island, 3rd ed., Errata and corrections

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.

Viniculture in LI, Part III: Peconic Bay Winery to reopen

Peconic Bay Winery, 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.  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. How this evolves under the new ownership remains to be seen. A critical decision will also be the choice of a winemaker and a vineyard manager. Perhaps by May or June of 2020 all of this will be resolved and there will be more to the story.

Updated 28 October 2014 and 10 November 2019.