The Friends Lake Inn, which has held Wine Spectator's Grand Award since 1997, was sold this summer by Greg and Sharon Taylor, who had owned the Chestertown, N.Y., property for 20 years.
The buyers were John and Trudy Phillips, who had owned the Sandwich Lodge on Massachusetts' Cape Cod, but sold it last year. They do not plan to change the inn's wine program, which comprises about 2,450 selections and a total inventory of 22,000 bottles. The wine list's strengths include California, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhône and Germany.
"When we purchased the inn, we purchased the wine cellar," said John Phillips, who did not wish to disclose the price. "We've been monitoring what's going on in the cellar. We've been increasing our inventory over the last six weeks," filling in holes in vertical selections of California Zinfandels, bolstering the Pinot Noirs from the Pacific Northwest, and adding more selections from South America.
The Phillips, who have retained all of the Friends Lake employees, had wanted to acquire an inn for some time. "We had looked at a bunch of properties over the last five years and never really found one that did everything for us," John said. "Then, about two years ago, we were on our way to Lake Placid and -- we had been reading a lot about Friends Lake Inn -- decided to stop in and see what was going. We loved the place, and started talking to the Taylors, and it took us two years to convince them that they should think about selling the property."
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