Peconic Bay Vineyards has reopened the Cutchogue tasting room, with ambitious plans for a wine-themed expansion, including a boutique hotel and restaurant in coming years, an official told Newsday.
What to Know
- Peconic Bay Vineyards, owned by the Soloviev Group, has opened its tasting room.
- The company, among the nation’s largest landholders, bought the operation in 2019.
- Plans to expand include a wine-themed hotel and restaurant.
- A new wine-making facility is also planned, and a farmstand will open Memorial Day.
- The company has more than 300 acres to grow grapes, of which 123 acres are planted with vines.
The operation has a new brand — it was formerly known as Peconic Bay Winery — and a menu featuring many of its popular wines, made by the same wine maker who helped elevate the winery through the 2000s. The wines are made from grapes grown at the more than 123 acres of planted vineyard that Peconic Bay Vineyards owner Soloviev Group operates across the North Fork.
But the grander plan includes making the Peconic Bay property that has nine acres zoned commercial as a venue for boutique-type hospitality, including a hotel that will include spas and a restaurant — all themed around wine, said Stacey Soloviev, who operates the wine and hospitality side of the business. "I’ve started the design phase now," she said, with plans to have all in operation in around three years.
Tasting room, outdoor seating area upgraded
Soloviev said the formal grand opening for Peconic Bay Vineyards, bought by the Soloviev farm and real estate company in 2019, will be on May 15. The operation soft-opened two weekends ago.
The tasting room and interior bar have been refinished and the outdoor seating area upgraded, she said, while the wine cellar and shelves are stacked with wines that have continued to be produced since the Solovievs took over.
The approximately 2,000 cases produced from last season’s grapes (mostly white wine varietals) are expected to be expanded to between 3,500 and 4,000 cases this year, said wine maker Greg Gove, who ran Peconic Bay's wine making from 1999 through 2013, but has kept a hand in maintaining the property ever since. Peconic Bay had been dormant for several years before the Solovievs bought it. The Solovievs own more than 300 acres across the North Fork. The company also owns Davis Peach Farm in Wading River, and recently planted some 4,000 new trees there, Gove said.
Plans for 2021 and the future
The company plans to plant 24 acres of new vines next year, he said, and build a new winemaking facility. Gove was able to assemble all the equipment needed for the 2020 vintage as the grapes were still on the vine — the former owners had sold all the old equipment years ago.
"All the new equipment can be upscaled so I can grow" into the new facility, Gove said. "I used to make 10,000 cases a year at the facility. That's about the max I can do here now."
Stacey Soloviev, he said, wants to make customer education central to the wine operations, and he's planning classes for wine lovers as the marketing and sales expand.
Memorial Day opening for farm stand
The plan to reopen the tasting room will be followed by a Memorial Day opening of a farm stand owned by the Solovievs adjacent to the winery, which has its own license to sell food and beverages, and local specialties such as honey. The farm stand also has an outdoor fireplace, and will offer refreshments such as beer and sangria, and food such as oysters, she said. It’s a walk from the winery and operates separately, avoiding potential conflicts with Southold and state limitations on the sale of food and other items in state-licensed wineries.
Peconic Bay will continue to specialize in rieslings, oak- and steel-fermented chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, malbec, merlot and petit verdot wines, among others, she said.
While expanding the winery operation, Stacey Soloviev is also overseeing the renovation of the Chequit Hotel on Shelter Island, bought by the Solovievs in 2019, with plans to open the main building by late summer. A second annex building is opening sooner, with a planned renovation for that in the winter, she said.
Business reorganizes after founder's death
The Soloviev family business reorganized this month under a new holding company, the Soloviev Group, following the death of its founder, Sheldon Solow, in November. Stefan Soloviev, his son, is now chairman, and the company is organized around four divisions, according to a report in Real Estate Weekly. The new divisions are: realty and development, hospitality, transportation and railroad, and agriculture and ranching, according to the weekly, which noted the company is the 31st largest landowner in the United States.
Newsday in 2019 reported the Soloviev’s purchase of then-Peconic Bay Winery and its 50-plus acres from the Paul and Ursula Lowerre for an undisclosed sum.
The Solovievs are also the owners of the popular Santa’s Christmas Tree Farm in Cutchogue.