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Founder's family decides to sell Palmer Vineyards

Robert Palmer founded Palmer Vineyards in Aquebogue. (August

Robert Palmer founded Palmer Vineyards in Aquebogue. (August 2001) Credit: Newsday, 2001 / J. Michael Dombroski

Less than a year after East End winemaker Robert Palmer died, his family has realized it's not able to pursue his vision of expanding and has decided to sell the business.

"We wanted to see the winery continue and move to the next level," said Palmer's daughter and business manager, Kathy Le Morzellec. "We're not right for that."

So as a result, Palmer Vineyards' properties are up for sale. The Aquebogue winery, on 61 acres with winemaking facilities, a tasting room and a restored 18th-century farmhouse, is for sale at $6.9 million. A vineyard in Cutchogue, with Pinot Blanc, chardonnay, merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and cabernet sauvignon grapevines, is available separately for $3.9 million.

It's not the first time the Cutchogue vineyard has been on the market. Palmer put it on the market for $5.95 million three years ago but ultimately went ahead with extensive replanting.

The brand itself can be negotiated separately.

Palmer, who died in January at age 74, started the winery in 1983, and Le Morzellec, 46, joined him 13 years ago.

"My dad and I always worked together as a team," she said. She eventually concluded that it would be too expensive and too much work to replace both his enthusiasm and his marketing expertise.

"It's not an emotional decision," she said. "It's a practical decision."

She said there's been some serious interest in both properties from local business people but no offers yet. All of the interest so far has been to continue operating the business as it is, "which has been what we hoped for," Le Morzellec said.

She said the family is in no rush to sell. They're willing to wait for the right buyer at the right price, she said.

Palmer produces up to 16,000 cases of wine a year. The winery, like others on the North Fork, is often used as a site for weddings and other private functions.

Robert Palmer was one of the pioneers on the North Fork in making the vineyard a destination, often hosting concerts, hay rides and other events at the winery.

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