Updated April 26.
The Entenmann family of baked goods fame has sold its North Fork of Long Island property, Big E Farm, to a family-run Mexican wine company for $15 million. The sale, finalized April 20, includes Martha Clara Vineyards, which includes a tasting room, event space, 113 acres of vines and the Martha Clara brand. The purchase price was the second-highest in North Fork history, behind only a $19.5 million waterfront property sale in 2008, according to Corcoran Group, the real-estate company behind the deal.
This is the first venture outside of Mexico for Rivero-González, the wine producer based in Parras de la Fuente, Mexico, that purchased the estate. The new ownership is still deciding on the name of the new acquisition.
"We are going to make a conscious decision whether we should keep the Martha Clara name or we should try and do something that connects a little more to the Rivero-González brand," María Rivero, CEO of both Rivero-González and now Martha Clara, told Wine Spectator.
Founded in 1998 by Rivero's father, mining executive José Antonio Rivero Larrea, Rivero-González is perhaps best known for producing a white wine made with 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon—a rarity not just in Mexico, but in the world. It also produces a traditional Cabernet, as well as a Syrah and a Bordeaux blend.
Rivero plans to merge her Mexico team with some of the existing staff at Martha Clara. Juan Micieli-Martinez, Martha Clara's general manager and winemaker, will stay on as a consultant. "Fortunately, there is a great team in place here at Martha Clara that are willing to work with the new ownership and that are excited," Rivero said. "And we come with an experienced team from Mexico that's also going to help in this new venture."
As for the future of Martha Clara Vineyards, Rivero says she is in the process of developing an overarching plan. At the top of her list is building an on-site winery. (Martha Clara currently makes its wine at contract winemaking facility Premium Wine Group; Rivero says she plans to continue that partnership until an on-site winery is built.) She also hopes to build more luxury homes and a bed-and-breakfast on the land.
"The property is amazing; it is full of potential," she said. "Mr. Entenmann certainly had a lot of love for it."
When the Entenmann family sold its baked-goods company in 1978, executive Robert Entenmann purchased a potato farm on the North Fork with plans to turn it into a thoroughbred horse ranch. In 1995, he planted 18 acres of Vitis vinifera vines, and steadily increased the acreage over the next four years. He named the vineyard after his mother, Entenmann family matriarch Martha Clara.
In addition to the vineyards and pastures, the property includes nine barns, a gallery, an event space, a tasting room, a culinary education center, three cottages and a five-bedroom mansion, complete with a professional chef's kitchen, a commercial baking room and a wine cellar.
The estate went on the market in 2014, listed at $25 million. "[Robert] was very involved, and he wanted to be closer to his kids and just sort of move on," said Sheri Winter Clarry, the Corcoran Group real-estate agent who brokered the deal. In 2016, Entenmann died at age 88, leaving care of the wine business to his daughter and co-owner, Jacqueline.
"He was a visionary," Clarry said. "It's going into the hands of a family that really embraces [that] and will take it to the next level."
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