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Long Island Winery Buys Out Its Neighbor

Macari purchases Galluccio tasting room and 22 acres of vines for nearly $2.4 million

Mitch Frank
Posted: December 14, 2007

One of New York's more promising vineyards has been sold to one of its neighbors after languishing on the market for several years. Macari Vineyards & Winery of Long Island's North Fork purchased Galluccio Family Wineries' 41-acre property for $2.375 million earlier this week. By Friday, Joe Macari Jr. was cleaning out the Galluccio offices and making plans for the space.

Vince Galluccio bought the Cutchogue, N.Y., property and an adjoining 41 acres for $5.5 million in 2000, the highest sum paid for a Long Island winery at that time, and invested heavily, hiring Bordeaux enologist Michel Rolland as a consultant. The vineyards showed promise—the Galluccio Estate Cru Georges Allaire Chardonnay 2000 earned 90 points on Wine Spectator's 100 point scale.

But by 2003, Galluccio had put the estate up for sale, then pulled it off the market, only to put it back on offer in 2005 for an asking price of almost $9 million. He and his wife had decided to move to Italy to be closer to their daughter and her family. The property sat on the market until earlier this year, when Galluccio sold half of it to the Peconic Land Trust for $1.2 million. The Macaris made an offer for the remaining space a month ago.

"We got it at a very good price," said Macari Jr. The Macari winery, which has enjoyed success with Chardonnay and Bordeaux-style reds, sits just four miles away, but it's located on Route 48, a road less traveled by visitors to the area. Macari said the initial reason for the purchase was to have a tasting room on Route 25, the main thoroughfare for customers, where Galluccio's vineyards and tasting room sit. "The main objective was to get on this road and see what we could do."

But the family, including Macari's wife, Alexandra, and his father Joe Sr., plan to discuss the long-term potential for the Galluccio vineyards, which are planted with Bordeaux red varieties. "We want to make a vineyard-designated wine from here," said Macari Jr. "There are 22 acres of nice vines—tightly spaced and good clones."

The property's bargain price suggests that the big land sales of the late '90s, like Galluccio's initial purchase and New Line Cinema CEO Michael Lynne's purchase of Bedell Cellars, are long over. A few other wineries, such as the historic Castello di Borghese property, home to the North Fork's oldest vineyard, have been up for sale for some time. But some of the more established wineries, such as Paumanok, have been buying property, suggesting a consolidation in the local industry.

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