Martha Clara winery, estate for sale for $25 million
A sweeping North Fork property owned by a scion of the Entenmann's baking clan hit the market Friday, with a $25 million price tag.
At more than 200 acres, the Riverhead estate, which includes the award-winning Martha Clara Vineyards, is the largest expanse of land listed on the East End, Sheri Clarry of the Corcoran Group in Southold, the broker handling the sale, said Friday.
Its owner, Robert Entenmann, grandson of bakery founder William Entenmann, bought a portion of it in 1980 and has raised thoroughbred horses there, Clarry said. Previously a potato farm, the property includes a 10,000-square-foot, five-bedroom home and a heated pool.
Entenmann, who is in his 80s, is moving to Florida to spend more time with his two children, Clarry said. "It would be his ideal" for the vineyard to continue operating, she said, "but he realizes people will have their own vision for the property."
Martha Clara joins two other prominent vineyards that have sought buyers in recent years -- Palmer Vineyards in Aquebogue and Castello di Borghese in Cutchogue, said Steven Bate, executive director of the Long Island Wine Council in Riverhead.
The 60-acre Palmer property is listed for $5.375 million, according to the website of Sotheby's International Realty. The 85-acre Castello property, whose owners Marco and Ann Marie Borghese died recently, was listed for sale in 2006 at $9.2 million.
The Martha Clara estate produces an award-winning Riesling, among other fine wines, and it attracts many visitors, Bate said.
"It's certainly a beautiful property, and it's very well located," Bate said.
The land could be broken up or it could attract the attention of developers, since it has not been protected as farmland, he said.
"As the South Fork continues to get more and more expensive and people have discovered the North Fork and the rural charms that are here, they [buyers] are starting to look here for second homes and vacation homes," Bate said. "It's why we're working very hard to keep the farmland preserved and to add to the stock of protected farmland."
The property is made up of six parcels, and there is no record of its development rights having been sold, according to the Riverhead assessor's office. Clarry said it retains all its development rights.
The vineyard is named for Robert Entenmann's mother, who died in 1996 at the age of 89. The family sold the bakery in 1978 to pharmaceutical giant Warner-Lambert for $233 million. The bakery has since changed hands several times and now is owned by Bimbo Bakeries USA. The company's Bay Shore plant is closing this summer.