Long Island’s newest winery is on schedule to open in May, according to its owner, Anthony Sannino, who has a special relationship with the architect and builder: himself.
On a recent blustery day, Sannino, who with his wife, Lisa, launched and owns Sannino Vineyard, was found in the cellar of his winery, which is being built on Sound Avenue in Cutchogue, donning a tool belt and discussing steel rebar with friend Ron Goerler, owner of Jamesport Vineyards, located a town away.
Sannino knows every inch of the new winery’s design because he was trained as an architect and planned it himself. He’s also a builder, and can tell you in exacting detail facts like the thickness of the building's concrete foundation, the square footage of each new room and the rating on the insulation.
The vineyard is a big move for the Sanninos, who arrived on the Long Island wine scene in 2009 with an innovative approach that let wine lovers make their own vintage from local grapes stored in his cellar.
In the intervening years, Sannino Vineyard has operated a wine barn on the property of Ackerly Pond Vineyard in Peconic, an operation started by Long Island wine pioneer Ray Blum, who has since died. The move into the Sanninos' own winery, just a stone’s throw from the family home and a bed-and-breakfast operated on the Cutchogue property, was a giant step — and not one easily advanced in Southold.
"It's time to either grow up or get out," said Sannino, who also serves as his vineyard's manager and winemaker, though a daughter will take on a greater winemaking role. "It's a big step."
The new winery will feature a large production area in the cellar, capable of producing 10,000 cases of wine a year, a giant step from the current 2,000, Sannino said. It has 3,600 square feet of production and storage space in the basement, and another 1,200 square feet for production on the main floor, which will also have a retail area, tasting room and a large front room for his 120-member wine club. There’s also a second-floor office.
The winery is permitted to hold 12 special events per year.
Sannino will still get his grapes from 10 acres leased from Ackerly Pond and another 8-acre farm in the region. “We grow more than we need” as it is, he said.