Birds eating the crops isn’t the only problem facing St. James-based Whisper Vineyards as they are still awaiting the New York State license to operate the winery and sell the wine they've been producing for years.
“As of right now we’re still unlicensed. The tax and trade bureau has submitted the application for approval to the state and that’s all I know," said Steve Gallagher, owner of the vineyard and .
Gallagher said the federal government has approved the plans for the winery and he is still awaiting on the approval from the state. , Patch reported that Councilman Ed Wehrheim said Gallagher’s plans are “all cleared” with the town requirements.
The application for the license, according to Gallagher, was submitted to the state five years ago.
A 19,000 square foot, energy-efficient winery, tasting room and seasonal café on the south side of Edgewood Avenue is what's planned for Whisper Vineyards, according to a .
With the wait, wine connoisseurs are missing out on a number of wines produced by Gallagher, along with his wife Laura and sister-in-law Barbara Perrotta. The family owned business has the ability to make and bottle the wine, but cannot label or put it up for sale.
Gallagher said the wine from 2007 is “holding up great” and that 2010 was also a great year for the crops, but added, “A great year would be if we could sell it.”
Even though they still lack a license and have wine bottled and waiting to be sold, Gallagher and the staff at the 18-acre vineyard aren't slowing down as they are still picking from the crops, most recently to make a new sparkling wine. When that wine and the others will be able to be sold though is still up in the air.
For Gallagher, the wait for the license has been exhausting.
“I was under the impression that we would have had the license after two years. It’s five years later,” he said. “It’s getting to be a sad story to have to wait this whole time.”