By Lenn Thompson, Long Island Editor and Editor-in-Chief
A couple news items that hit our virtual news desk over the last couple of days:
When Bob Palmer, who founded Palmer Vineyards in 1983, passed away over the winter, many wondered if his family would take over and keep one of the oldest vineyards on the North Fork of Long Island running. They have so far, but it sounds as if they are ready to move on. The winery (and a separate vineyard) are now on the market and being sold in two parcels.
The first property, on 61 acres in Aquebogue, includes the winery, the tasting room, and the restored 18th century farmhouse. It is being offered for $6.9 million. Their vineyard in Cutchogue, planted with pinot blanc, chardonnay, merlot, sauvignon blanc and cabernet sauvignon is being sold for $3.9 million.
The Palmer Vineyards brand is not included in the sale, but can be negotiated separately.
In a Newsday story, Palmer's daughter and the winery's business manager, Kathly Le Morzellec called the decision to sell a "practical" one rather than an emotional one, saying that it would be too expensive and too much work to replace both his enthusiasm and his marketing expertise.
Suzanne Hahn of the Brown Harris Stevens Cutchogue office is the exclusive listing agent. The vineyard and winery was founded by Bob Palmer in 1983. Palmer Vineyards produces up to 16,000 cases of wine each year. For more information, contact Suzanne Hahn of Brown Harris Stevens at (631) 477-8001.
Le Morzellec also says in the Newsday piece that there has been a lot of interest in both properties. But, Sherwood House Vineyard and Castello di Borghese have been for sale for some time. These sales don't happen quickly -- especially in a down economy.
In other news, Ben Feder, owner and winemaker at Clinton Vineyards passed away last Thursday.
Ben, former graphic artist and book designer came to the Hudson Valley in 1969 and purchased a rundown 100-acre dairy farm. Ben sought advice from fellow winemaker Herman Wiemer who made wine for Walter S. Taylor at the Bully Hill Vineyard and then went off to make his own prize winning riesling in the Finger Lakes. Hermann's advice to Ben was to grow seyval blanc, a French-American hybrid grape that does well in the harsh climate of the Northeast.
Ben’s first vintage was in 1977, the year after Gov. Hugh L. Carey put through a farm winery bill permitting small wineries to sell direct to customers, retailers and restaurants.
The tasting room remains open, but I don't have any further information on the future of the winery and property at this time.