Corks Pop as Whisper Vineyards Opens in Smithtown

St. James Winery's tasting room is now open and serving up samples.

Whisper Vineyards is located at 485 Edgewood Avenue in St. James. (Patch file photo)
Whisper Vineyards is located at 485 Edgewood Avenue in St. James. (Patch file photo)
After years of waiting, a St. James winery is uncorking bottles of wine as its new tasting room. 

Whisper Vineyards is open and serving up samples of its own homemade, handcrafted wines in its St. James tasting room. Residents can stop by the refurbished Borella farm stand on Edgewood Avenue to try samples of various wines. 

Whisper Vineyards, owned by Barbara Perrotta, Steve and Laura Gallagher, has created a line of its own vintages made by Long Island winemaker Eric Fry. They will also be selling bottles of the wine, alongside beer, cheese and gourmet chocolates. 

Whisper Vineyards is open located at 485 Edgewood Ave. in St. James. The winery's tasting room will be open from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. most days, through Christmas. 

Smithtown Building Director John Bongimo has questioned whether the owners had all the necessary permits to run a tasting room and has referred the case to Town Attorney John Zollo, according to Newsday

In a separate project from the refurbished farm stand, Whisper Vineyards has applied to the Town of Smithtown for  a special event permit that would allow the vineyard to host weddings and other outdoor event has been the center of local controversy

“For more than a year now, during the summer time, we’ve been putting up with the popping sound of a cannon once every minute,” said Jeannette Scully, of Smithtown, at the public hearing in April. “We’ve given up enough for Borella Farm, we don’t need more music or noise coming from that property.” 

Others raised concerns about noise levels and the possibility of drunken drivers on local roadways. 

In response to these concerns, the St. James winery has created a website titled, "Setting the Record Straight on Expansion of Whisper Vineyards." On the site, Whisper Vineyards promises it will comply with the town's noise ordinances that require outdoor music to be 65 - 70 decibels or below and that most events will "not have anywhere close to" 360 guests technically possible under town ordinances. 

Have you sampled wines in Whisper Vineyard's tasting room or do you stand opposed to it? Tell us in the comments below. 
P. J. Miller December 03, 2013 at 09:08 AM
Looks very nice - does this mean the farmstand is gone?
Ron Weiss December 04, 2013 at 09:18 AM
The Farm Stand is not a "winery" and is not part of the land parcel that Whisper Orchards is trying to have the Town approve as a "winery" by building a 19,000 sq ft party/ catering hall. Therefore, it's right to operate their tasting area as a kind of pub without a permit/license is doubtful. There needs to be an open town hearing on the matter and the town should be represented by an attorney which is representing the best interests of the town.
Captain December 04, 2013 at 09:36 AM
Is the farmstand still a farmstand? Has the primary use of the property now changed from selling produce to now selling their wine? Has the primary use of the property been changed? Sure seems like it. Ahhh... wine and christmas trees! Are those trees grown in vermont?
P. J. Miller December 08, 2013 at 12:48 AM
I am sure the TOWN is watching them. If they try to open anything that they are not licensed for- trust me, they will be shut down by code enforcement. Nothing goes unnoticed in the town of Smithtown. I do agree with the others, that this should not be close to a school. If they were a bar they would be closed by now. Just a matter of time. If it were in another part of our town it would be a welcomed idea, but where they are is not the best place to be.
Ron Weiss December 08, 2013 at 08:16 AM
P.J., I like your trust in the "Town". But the Towns government does not act on these matters unless there is a complaint filed with the Building Department. Here, there was no advanced permit or other request put into the Town by the Farm. They just built the tasting room and opened it, as if it was no one else's concern. The Town's attorney is now "reviewing" the matter. However, if you know the track record of Mr. Zollo at the Town Attorney's office, you may not be so trustful. Also please do not trust the disingenuous spin of the Owners in their recent website "Setting the Record Straight" which seeks to deny inconvenient facts about their plans to build a massive party/wedding facility by calling them "myths". The application filed by the owners in March 2013, speaks for itself as to their plans. Let them post their own application on their website since it contradicts many of the points they had made. Also, a simple observation of the area would make it plain that they are way too close to a school and dense residential area. Trust in the Town has almost resulted in the proposed Winery destroying our neighborhood. We should trust in ourselves and make sure this doesn't happen.
P. J. Miller December 08, 2013 at 09:05 AM
If enough people go to the town board meetings, and contact the councilmembers a lot can be done. If no one does anything, but just writes on THE PATCH, then nothing will be done. Contact the board members, the building dept, etc and file the complaints.Wonder how the NYS Dept of Education would react if they knew a winery was opened next to a school.We need to contact our elected officials NOW
Ron Weiss December 08, 2013 at 09:31 AM
That's the spirit that we need to protect our homes, or neighborhood and our Town!
Captain December 12, 2013 at 11:09 AM
Hey PJ, i think all the town board members know quite a few of the neighbors of the farm by name now. In case you dont know, the tasting room was opened by the farmer without any permits from the town. He just hired contractors and did what he wanted. Go down to the planning dept and ask for a copy of the special event permit application from the farmstand. Read it and imagine that all within a few hundred feet of your home. How many more accidents will there be in front of the tasting room and have there been any DWIs given out yet? It is next to a school.
Lori December 27, 2013 at 02:36 PM
Stopped in to support a local business. Was very disappointed in both the staff (very pretentious bordering rude) and the wine (not very good at all; maybe they need time to develop a decent product?). After reading that they didn't go through proper channels to get approval for their tasting room, I wouldn't go back even if the wine were good.


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