Lifestyle

Long Island Winery Plans to Relocate to the Texas Hill Country

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A beleaguered Long Island winery that has been unable to obtain the necessary zoning approvals to continue its tasting room operations has decided to pack up shop and head for the hills – the Texas Hill Country that is!

An Uphill Battle

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Photo: thenewyorkcorkreport.com

When the Southold Town Zoning Board of Appeals rejected a formal request to convert an existing structure on their property into a 400-square-foot wine-tasting area as well as construct a 3,600-square-foot winery building, Regan and Carey Meador, owners of Southold Farm + Cellar took 3 months to mull over their frustration with the process and decisions, then sent an email to customers identifying their plans to close the doors and move their operations to the Texas Hill Country.

Red Wine…or Red Tape?

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Photo: edibleeastend.com

In the email, dated June 7, the Meadors identified that, “Without being able to offset the costs of land and living through the ability to grow, make and sell our small batch wine from our farm, our ability to sustainably run our small business here has been diminished. Furthermore, this zoning decision, coupled with recently uncovered conflicting Town Code and State Liquor Authority regulations, means we are left with no viable options to continue here in Southold Town.”

Go Where You Can Grow

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Photo: fodors.com

After the March 17 denial by the appeals board, several visits to the Texas Hill Country led the Meadors to make the choice to relocate their business to what’s known as the second largest American Viticulture Area (AVA) in the United States and the fourth largest wine producing state in the country (behind California, New York and Washington respectively) – home state to Mr. Meador himself. The family’s farm and three-bedroom home have since been listed with Town and Country real estate for $1.9 million, and in a telephone interview with their local paper, The Suffolk Times, they identified that their move will most likely have to wait until after the sale.

Keeping it Bottled Up

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Photo: suffolktimes.timesreview.com

The appeal board’s decisions effectively crippled Southold Farm + Cellar’s ability to operate effectively – a business that launched in June 2014 after a successful Kickstarter campaign. The winery had gone on to develop a loyal following and frequently sold out on their popular wines, but the Meadors note that they will continue selling their current releases on the winery website (www.southoldfarmandcellar.com) as well as at Chef Hayden’s Farmers Market at the North Fork Table & Inn every Friday. They will also bottle and release their first vintage while they await the sale of their property.

When the Going Gets Tough, Head for The Hill Country!

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Photo: winedom.com

While the Texas Hill Country wine region presently hosts 46 wineries (noted on www.texaswinetrail.com) they are always open to a 47th, with flexible zoning that invites expansion of the industry. The Meadors will do their homework in advance of their move, which they welcome but noted in their email to customers, “As excited as we are about the next chapter, we are equally distraught over having to leave our home, our friends, and family here. You are all part of our story.”