The owner of Castello di Borghese Vineyard and Winery is putting the entire 84-plus acre Cutchogue property on the selling block, switching course from a prior partial sale, with an all-in price of $6.5 million.
The sale includes the tasting room and a total of 84.39 acres, including 24 acres of some of the first vines planted on Long Island by the Hargrave family. Previously, the tasting room and an 18-acre parcel were to be kept by Giovanni Borghese, son of the founders, Marco and Ann Marie Borghese, who died in 2014. Giovanni Borghese, in an interview Tuesday, explained that he felt the property’s historic value necessitated an all-in sale.
"I discovered it needed to be an all-or-nothing sale," he said.
The combined sale also includes the former 1680s-era Borghese household with a pool, winemaking facilities and detached barns dating to the 1800s.
In January, Borghese decided to offer for sale just over 60 acres of farmland, the home, winery and the barns, for $3.69 million. He had planned to own and operate the Route 48 tasting room and 18 acres of mostly planted vines. In March, Borghese said, he had a change of heart and took the property off the market.
Keeping history intact
More recently, Borghese said, he decided that the only proper way to sell the farm was in its entirety, including parcels on about 14.6 acres, which retain development rights, including 4.7 acres of the tasting room.
"I think it’s important to the farm’s historic significance — it being the first vineyard on Long Island — that this is the way it should be taken to its 50th year" in 2023, Borghese said, of selling the property as a whole. He said he did a lot of soul-searching to come to the conclusion.
"My heart was always trying to exhaust every option and explore every opportunity to keep things going and be able to carry this business forward, and it was previously thought that selling half the farm to move forward with a smaller version of Castello di Borghese was the way to go," he said. "But I just started to feel that you shouldn’t break up the first vineyard on Long Island."
Selling the entire farm now is a decision he can make on his own. He had previously bought out his sister and brother, and owned 51%. Then, in December, he bought out the 49% owned by his parents’ former partners.
More than grape growing
Borghese said the property is suitable for more than grape growing, if a new owner wants to diversify.
Listing agent Joseph DiVello at Century 21/Albertson Reality in Southold, said interest in the property since January has been brisk.
"There's never been a higher demand for farmland on the North Fork than right now, and there aren't many viable farms left on the North Fork," he said. "We've had a lot of interest, a lot of interest in partnerships, but ultimately it was decided that it would be best to keep the farm together."
About his own future, Borghese said he remains open. He’s been an aggressive marketer of the family’s wines, in some cases making deliveries to customers throughout the Northeast and California, and documenting his travels on social media.
"I think it’s too soon to know what exactly my next move would be, but I’m optimistic in remaining an ambassador to the North Fork wine region," he said. "I’ll always speak well about the North Fork wine region and the people, whether I’m involved personally or not. It will be something I’ll be rooting on from the sidelines."