Sannino Vineyard begins construction on Cutchogue tasting room

The new Cutchogue winery and tasting room is now under construction. (Credit: Krysten Massa)

Sannino Vineyard raised the timbers for its new eco-friendly winery and tasting room in Cutchogue Tuesday. Glasses clinked and the barbecue sizzled as friends, family and wine industry leaders gathered at the 8.9-acre property off Route 48 and Alvah’s Lane to watch the 6,000-square-foot winery operation take shape.

“To our friends and family, who have been waiting very many months, thank you for joining us,” said owner Anthony Sannino with his wife and co-owner, Lisa, by his side. “Thank you for taking part in something that is super exciting to us. Salud!”

The old-fashioned barn-raising marks the start of construction, the majority of which is expected to be complete by the holidays, ahead of the grand opening, which is slated for spring 2019. For the Sanninos, who already operate a bed-and-breakfast and a vineyard on the property, it also heralds the start of being able to sell, bottle, store and produce wines at one location. 

They currently have a 1,500-square-foot tasting room in Peconic, which opened in 2009, that isn’t quite large enough to facilitate the entire operation, forcing the Sanninos to truck the bottles back and forth from storage to the tasting room. The new two-story tasting barn also has space for a wine education room and a winemaking facility that allows the winery to gradually increase production.

“We can easily produce 10,000 cases [in Cutchogue]; we are currently making about 2,000,” he said. “We will take it slow … We want our new home to have the same warmth and generous spirit that’s always been at the heart of our winery.”

The process of building the new winery began three years ago. It received town approval in 2017, making it one of two new tasting rooms looking to open in Southold Town since Kontokosta Winery opened in 2013. The other is Sparkling Pointe Vineyards in Southold, which recently received the green light from the Greenport Village Planning Board to open an outpost on First Street. An opening date has not yet been set.

“It is very exciting to see a new winery in town,” said Steve Bate, acting director of the Long Island Wine Council, who attended Tuesday’s barn-raising. “We’re proud of the Sanninos for making it through the process.”

Anthony Sannino serves Steve Bate, acting director of the Long Island Wine Council, a glass to market to occasion. (Credit: Krysten Massa)

The new facility is among some of the most energy-efficient wineries built in the Northeast, according to Mr. Sannino. New Energy Works in Farmington, N.Y., fabricated the timbers using environmentally responsible practices. After months crafting the framing, the company’s crew helped put the structure in place this week.

The timbers are only one element of the eco-conscious design. The building also features insulated concrete forms for the foundation walls and main floor decking, and structural insulated panels for the walls and the roof.

Mr. Sannino, a building contractor for 30 years whose two-person crew is guiding the construction, explained that these materials allow for maximum efficiency in cooling and heating that goes hand-in-hand with their philosophy of sustainability.

“It is the way we do everything,” he said. “It has always been the way we have farmed, and it makes sense the building and the winemaking process are also sustainable.”

Ms. Sannino, who manages the winery’s business affairs, added the new facility would enhance the guest experience and be a destination for wine education. 

“It is designed to be a North Fork experience,” she said. “It was built with the intent to maximize customer service — people can take a wine class and stay at the bed-and-breakfast.” 

Expect a rustic-meets-modern feel when the tasting room opens next year. Concrete floors and a bar will be balanced with plenty of natural wood accents for a cozy but contemporary ambiance. There will also be large windows and a deck area overlooking the vineyard and the bed-and-breakfast, which is also the Sanninos’ personal homestead. 

The Peconic tasting room will continue to operate during the construction of the new facility and slowly phase out after it opens.

“We are so excited to share this,” Ms. Sannino said. “It seems surreal to see something that we’ve been dreaming about for years come to life.” 

cmurray@timesreview.com