Long Island's most historic vineyard is up for sale. The owners of Castello di Borghese put their North Fork winery and vineyards on the market last week, asking $9.2 million for the 85-acre property. Several parties have already expressed interest, according to the sellers.
Before Marco and Ann Marie Borghese bought the Cutchogue estate in 1999, it was Hargrave Vineyards, the birthplace of Long Island winemaking. In 1973, after consulting with a local farmer who was growing vinifera grapes to sell at a farm stand, Alex and Louisa Hargrave planted the vineyard and established the North Fork's first winery, leading many others to follow in their footsteps. Upon their divorce, they sold the winery and vineyards to the Borgheses for $4 million.
After nearly seven years in the wine business, Marco, an Italian prince, and Ann Marie, a native Philadelphian, decided it was time to sell. Neither their son nor their daughter are interested in carrying on the business. "We're getting to the age where we have to think about the long term," said Marco. He insists they're not in a rush to sell, and he's not averse to remaining involved in the winery in some capacity. Winemaker Stan Schumacher did resign two weeks ago, however, as rumors swirled of an impending sale, Borghese added.
During the Borgheses' tenure, the winery, which makes Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, was known for its work in promoting Long Island wine, as well as for its small café and for the numerous classical music concerts it hosted. "Marco made an enormous contribution to the Long Island Wine Council during the years he served as president," said David Page, co-owner of nearby Shinn Estate Vineyards. "And Ann Marie's efforts to bring art and music to the eyes and ears of North Fork residents and visitors has been inspirational."
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