Whisper Vineyards Waiting on Liquor License

Permits have been cleared with town for some time.

Plans for a winery at continue to be on hold in lieu of a liquor license, according to owner Steve Gallagher.

Gallagher said he has “basically been given a gag order” while the matter is in the hands of the state liquor authority, but said any progress made will be updated on the Borella Farm Stand’s Facebook page.

Plans to convert an old barn on the grounds of the vineyards, one of the few large areas of farmland still operating in Smithtown, have been in place since receiving approval from the town in 2009.

Councilman Ed Wehrheim confirmed that Gallagher’s plans are “all cleared” with the town requirements.

Without proper licensing, Whisper Vineyards is allowed to produce wine but not to label and sell it. Bottles sit waiting to be sold, having been aging for several years.

A winery in Smithtown would be one of the most westerly wineries on Long Island, which is known for the dozens clustered on the North Fork. 

Bill Miller February 01, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Sounds like a great idea in theory, but don't think the area would support it financially. Plus I am sure the wine is going to be very expensive and with the WINE GUY down the block and given the economy today, most people will opt for the discounted bottle. I heard it was going to sell for $25.00 min per bottle. I was at the farm stand awhile ago and Steve was there complaining to the customers how furious he was with the town for not helping him out. I think he finally sees how difficult it is to get anything passed, even if it does sound like a great idea to alot of people. Also, the winery would be on 2 lane road, can you imagine the traffic jam if this went through?
George February 01, 2012 at 04:04 PM
I hope they can afford to price the wine based on the market and not on the fact it was "made" in Smithtown. I would not pay a dime more than any other wine of similar type and quality!
Phil February 01, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Comments like the one above are extremely frustrating. One day I read about people upset about another national gym chain opening in town and the next day there is a story about a REAL local business trying to do something unique in our community but people are unwilling to support it because it might be priced a few dollars more than a big box store. I find it hard to believe that the people who are purchasing wine (and living in Smithtown) can't afford to pay a few extra dollars to support a local merchant. If we are going to look at every purchase we make down to the penny and place no value on supporting a local merchant then maybe we can lobby for the land to be sold so they can put a Walmart on that land. You can't beat Walmart prices... Finally, last time I checked traffic in Smithtown and everywhere on Long Island is bad to begin with why does that always become the fall back excuse for anything that gets built?
gerri February 01, 2012 at 04:23 PM
It is really amazing how long this process has taken. We are not talking about a major distillery. We are talking about Smithtown residents who are doing something to benefit the Town! They could easily sell off their land and we could have more developments. How about that traffic? The Vineyard will be a point of interest for the Town. Maybe we could attract some visitors to our Town. Port Jefferson is doing well with tourists. Couldn't Smithtown use the economic boost? It just seems that when big corporations want something it happens...Regular citizens get jerked around . As for $25 a bottle wine look what is going on at the new Scotto establishment Insignia,they are charging $89.00 for a Steak! It is nice to see the Vineyard as the grapes mature. I'd rather that any day than another Real Estate sign!
Tom Gross February 01, 2012 at 04:58 PM
I understand both sides of the story here, yes, if your looking for the best bang for your buck, this would not be a place to buy your wine. But, if your looking to support a local merchant, and enjoy a bottle of wine vinted in your own back yard (so to say), I have no problem with an occasional $25 bottle. And "Whisper Vinyards" is a great name for this vinyard, we all know who Whisper is, right...
Rich Black February 01, 2012 at 05:28 PM
The people of St. James, more than any other area I've known, have a very enlightened approach as to how and where they spend their money at the retail level. There's a philosophy which comes out of a community of staunchly independent business owners, which is also handed down to younger generations. Some highlights: A. Keep money in town...pay a few dollars more at a local business, and maybe... The favor will be returned by that business owner patronizing YOUR business....or, the business you're patronizing will be healthy enough to create jobs in the community... sometimes for your own friends and family. B. Quality of life over quantity of widgets *Wait... you mean I can hang out at a quaint winery in St. James for a whole day with my significant other without the time and expense of going out East? So, the wine is $25 a bottle... I'm still waaay ahead for the day! And after, for dinner, we can hit one of the great local restaurants.* C. Money coming into the town from outside sources is a GOOD thing! Provided something doesn't completely muck up things for the townsfolk, outside money coming into St. James is GOOD. Yes, there might be some extra traffic on certain roads once the winery opens, but think about how much $$$ that might bring into local businesses. Traffic? We can figure something out. : )
KPLifer February 01, 2012 at 05:55 PM
They have Town approval. They are waiting for a liquor license from New York State. A winery in Smithtown is a win/win for all. It will attract visitors they may also visit local shops and eateries. Not everybody enjoys 2 buck chuck wines. Some of appreciate the local wines produces on Long Island.
stjamesBri February 01, 2012 at 07:21 PM
Support the local businesses. I agree with Rich, St. James has a small town feel to it. I know my young family enjoys staying local for most things, even if it costs a couple bucks more. I hope the state moves its butt and gets them the license sooner rather than later. I love driving by their vineyards and going to their Halloween festival. Much better to look st than more McMansions. Support local businesses and help keep the open space.
Bill Miller February 01, 2012 at 09:04 PM
As I said previously, it is a good idea, but don't think that it would survive based upon the economy today So many people are having problems paying their bills & buying food these days, & most of the time luxury items take a back seat.The food pantry is seeing more & more people than ever, & that's only in Smithtown. The town is not seeing the tax receipts from sales of homes because real estate sales are down.The little guy is feeling it. Look at all the vacant stores on Main Street! Mandees just filed Chapter 11. Waldbaums is closing the store in Commack. It's not about supporting a local merchant &paying extra for whatever they are selling,it is about survival. It's a whole different world and we should all respect the opinion of others that simply cannot afford expensive items and not be quick to criticize. As for the cheaper bottle of wines.... I have found many inexpensive wines that tasted much better than the more expensive ones out there. It has nothing to do with price when it comes to wine, if you do your research you will know that it has more to do with the grape, the region it came from and the year it was made. Don't let the price tag fool you that it "has to be better" because most of the times it is not. Traffic is always a concern, mainly because of emergency vehicles. Insignia will not be around for long, if Boulder Creek couldn't make it there at affordable rates what makes you think they will. Scotto Bros/Water Mill will use it for catering venues.
Tom Gross February 01, 2012 at 09:39 PM
This is my own personel opinion. I make my own wine, a few dozen bottles a year. I also buy very affordable wine, and I buy $90 a bottle wine for special occasions. Local wineries arent trying to sell affordable wines, they are offering regional vinted wine. Their market isnt really for for a table type of wine, it is for people to want to enjoy a non mass produced local wine. I will also enjoy my homemade wine with dinner, and my $90 bottle on Valentines Day with my wife. I will also kick back and enjoy sipping wine produced from locally grown grapes. I wish Whisper Vineyards good luck, and I hope they produce wine I will buy over and over again. All that being said, I am not disagreeing with anybodys opinion, it will be tough, and I dont plan on buying all of my wine from them, but I will give them a fair try on behalf of this great area.
Bill Miller February 02, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Then why do we have so many vacant stores on Main Street if business is booming! Maybe if we all supported the local stores none of them would have went out of business!!! It is sad to see Main Street becoming a ghost town. Nassau/Suffolk lumber went out and it is still an eyesore, the hero shop is closed, the shopping center where hardware store/Mandees will be another vacancy, Waldbaums went out and nothing has replaced that store. I could go on and on, but the fact remains, the economy is hitting everyone hard and the proof is in front of our eyes. A local restaurant next to the playhouse was set to open and then changed their minds. I wish them luck. It would be a good day trip for alot of seniors that live in assisted livings in the surrounding towns. Last year a friend told me that her mother went on the trip to Pindar and it was a really nice day and the place brought a box lunch for the seniors to eat. Of course no one bought any wine, but it was a day trip for them. It will no doubt be a weekend thing for many people, but how does a business survive on weekend only business??
Bill Miller February 04, 2012 at 01:42 AM
If it's affordable! 2buck chuck wines from desirable locations are really very good!
Matthew Mcbride October 15, 2012 at 09:21 PM
I think you have some great points!! Has the Vineyard opened yet?


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