Stefan Soloviev, the farm and real-estate investor who has bought and upgraded iconic Long Island farms including the former Davis Peach Farm and former Pindar Vineyard property, is in the process of closing on the Peconic Bay Winery in Cutchogue.
Soloviev declined to discuss a price but said Friday the deal is expected to close within a week.
The deal would add over 50 acres to the hundreds of acres he has been acquiring across the region, mainly on the North Fork but also on the South Fork. It would bring Soloviev farms with grape vines to over 250 acres, with Peconic Bay’s tasting room the family’s first.
Peconic Bay has been owned since 1999 by Manhattan investment consultant Paul Lowerre and his wife, Ursula. They confirmed the pending sale on Friday. "We expect the sale to close soon," Paul Lowerre said.
He called the couple's two decades at Peconic Bay "an amazing and rewarding experience."
"We’ve enjoyed working with some of the best talent in the industry," Paul Lowerre said. "It’s a bitter sweet moment. But we’re happy it’s going into the hands of people who are interested in preserving its agriculture and the nature and beauty of the land."
Soloviev said his aim is to improve the quality and productivity of the farms from experience he’s garnered as one of the nation’s largest farmland owners through his Crossroads Ag. operation in Kansas and Colorado.
“The farms on Long Island will run no differently than the rest of my company,” he said, using “farming techniques and knowledge” from the Plains operations.
Around 27 acres of Peconic Bay Winery is planted with vines. Another 20 acres are not. Soloviev said he’s determining which crop he’ll plant on those unplanted acres. His ex-wife, Stacey Soloviev, will run the vineyard operation.
Peconic Bay Winery will be the Soloviev’s first vineyard with a winery and tasting room. Stacey Soloviev in an interview said she plans to re-open the facility and make it a center of their wine operations.
“The property is so beautiful,” she said. “We’re part of the community now. I’m moving here” to the North Fork in coming weeks. “We love farm land and just keeping things the way they’ve been.”
Soloviev’s company also recently acquired Santa’s Christmas Tree Farm in Cutchogue, a popular spot with locals and visitors to the North Fork. The plan is to make it “a first-class place” for the community, Stefan Soloviev said. It’s being run by Stacey Soloviev.
The company is working to have a range of new and traditional Christmas-themed activities for the
Christmas tree store, including a new sleigh pulled by a tractor and a train. A reindeer named Deery will remain, along with other farm animals for a new petting zoo.
“We want to keep it and bring it back to life,” she said. “It will be ready for this year with a lot of work.” The company has been investing in peach farming at the former Davis Peach Farm in Wading River and at a South Fork farm. “It’s an investment and a commitment we’re making to make it a better peach farm and better for Long Island,” Stefan Soloviev said.
He’s the son of Sheldon Solow, a billionaire real estate developer at Solo Building Co. in Manhattan which the father and son also run. Soloviev, who has a home in East Hampton, has previously indicated he plans to build a small number of homes on some of the more than 1,000 acres Crossroads Ag. (Atlantic Region) has acquired on Eastern Long Island, but the majority—80 percent—will be farmland, he told Suffolk Times in 2017.
On Friday, Stefan Soloviev said properties with grape vines planted will largely remain intact. “We won’t be ripping up any grape farm land,” he said. “I’m going to be making money on farming, as I do out west.”