After nearly a year-and-a-half of seeking a buyer for Long Island's first winery, Alex and Louisa Hargrave have sold Hargrave Vineyard. The two new owners, Marco and Ann Marie Borghese have formed a company called Castello di Borghese, which will operate Hargrave.
The deal was closed at about 5:45 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 22, during Wine's Spectator's biannual New York Wine Experience. The sale price was not disclosed, but the original asking price for the 84-acre property -- including 20 acres of vineyards, the winery and other buildings -- was about $3.3 million, and it's believed the Hargraves had recently raised that figure.
The Hargraves founded their vineyard in 1973 in Cutchogue, N.Y., on Long Island's North Fork, thereby launching the region's vinifera wine industry. The winery makes several different varietals, including Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot and Pinot Noir.
After working 27 growing seasons, the couple decided it was time to move on to other interests. Although they announced their decision to sell in spring 1998 and had several offers since then, the two were looking for the right buyers -- ones that shared their passion.
Alex Hargrave was jubiliant as he poured his 1997 Pinot Noir and Merlot during the Friday Grand Tasting at the Wine Experience. "[The Borgheses] have the same philosophical attitude toward wine that we do," he commented. "It starts with the belief that wine is meant for sheer pleasure. Behind that, there is the sheer conviction that the best wine is the one you do the least to. They also feel the way we do that it should be very personal."
He added, "I feel that they will carry on in the same spirit that Louisa and I have. I feel like it's the passing of a baton in a great relay, in a great bacchanalian triumph."
Though the Hargraves have officially handed over their winery as of today, they aren't bowing out of the wine business completely. They have agreed to stay on as consultants for the next two years. "First, I'm going to catch my breath," quipped Alex. Then, he said, he would pursue his work in historical linguistics.
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