Cutchogue winery Vineyard 48's liquor license revoked
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The state has revoked the liquor license for Vineyard 48, a popular North Fork winery that neighbors and officials from the Town of Southold said threw raucous parties amid the vines.
The State Liquor Authority issued the decision Tuesday after a hearing in Manhattan. Peter Sullivan, a New York City attorney representing the Cutchogue winery, vowed to appeal the decision to State Supreme Court. "It is our understanding that the basis of the decision is not sustainable under the law," Sullivan said.
Neighbors applauded the revocation.
"I'm definitely happy," said Bill Shipman, whose house is across the road from Vineyard 48. "They deserve what they got."
Neighbors and officials from Southold Town had alleged that the winery had an excess of loud music, intoxicated patrons wandering into surrounding neighborhoods, and noisy "DJ Dance Parties," the liquor authority reported.
One neighbor, in a police report, said they couldn't let their children go outside because the announcer kept goading partygoers with expletive-laced commands to get up and dance.
In another case, police cited patrons from Massapequa for engaging in sexual activity, according to the police report.
The liquor authority ruled against Vineyard 48 on six of eight charges brought against the establishment.
The winery "has been continually operating as a night club including DJ and a dance party type atmosphere," according to the revocation order. Southold police have responded to "voluminous complaints of loud noise and profanities being broadcasted via amplified public address system" and "highly intoxicated persons leaving the establishment."
Sullivan said his client -- licensed as Joseph Paul Winery Inc. -- was unfairly targeted. He said Vineyard 48's business model is not so different from other wineries on the East End, which have moved beyond the sip, swish and spit era.
"All of the wineries provide music, dancing and various forms of entertainment as part of the evolution of agritourism in New York," he said. "The days of a couple of senior citizens with their pinkies up listening to Brahms at a wine tasting have been over for years."
Ron Goerler, president of the Long Island Wine Council, said vineyards have "evolved." But this is the first revocation of a winery's license that he can recall. "Their business model is not what everybody else is doing," said Goerler, a winemaker who owns Jamesport Wines.Vineyard 48 is not part of the Long Island Wine Council, which represents about 50 East End vineyards.
"It's a sad day to see this happen," Goerler said. "But I understand why it happened."