Croteaux Vineyards reopens its Southold tasting room

The Croteaux Vineyards tasting room is now fully open for business in Southold. (Credit: David Benthal)

Hip, hip rosé! The long-awaited awaited re-opening of Croteaux Vineyards’ Southold tasting room is official.

More than a year after a zoning decision forced its closure, the popular South Harbor Road tasting room is once again open seven days a week.

It’s also under new ownership.

Two years after purchasing Shinn Estate Vineyards in Mattituck, New Jersey financier Randy Frankel teamed up with Kristen and Daniel Pennessi, owners of The Menhaden hotel in Greenport, to purchase Croteaux earlier this year.

Frankel, a former managing director at Goldman Sachs whose business interests include a minority stake in the Tampa Bay Rays baseball franchise and part-ownership of Windham Mountain Ski Resort in upstate New York, is keeping Croteaux founder Michael Croteau on as a consultant, and he plans to keep the operation running exactly as it did before it was shutdown by Southold Town last year.

The popular winery serves only rosé. (Credit: David Benthal)

The permitting issue and resulting litigation that prevented the tasting room from opening is now resolved, allowing for business as usual, Frankel said. Southold Town’s Zoning Board of Appeals is expected approve a resolution Thursday accepting a settlement the town has reached with the winery’s new owners.

“Croteaux has always had a great atmosphere and we’re happy to be keeping it alive,” he said. “There wasn’t anything to change, so we just want to keep it as a place where everyone can visit and have a great experience.”

Frankel and his wife, Barbara, purchased Shinn Estate in April 2017 and have since made upgrades to the Mattituck tasting room and on-site bed and breakfast, though there are no plans to renovate the Croteaux Vineyards tasting room. The Southold tasting barn’s outdoor lounge is a favorite among wine lovers for its bright, intimate setting with cozy seating areas covered by vibrant orange umbrellas and the pebbled courtyard garden surrounded by historic barns.

Founded in 2003, Croteaux is the nation’s only winery that exclusively produces rosé made from estate-grown merlot, cabernet franc and sauvignon blanc grapes. The winery currently has nine rosé wines and Frankel said the intent is to continue to produce rosé exclusively.

Former owner Michael Croteau is now a consultant for the business. (Credit: David Benthal)

Dry and easy-drinking, the pink wines have been known to sell out quickly.

While the tasting room was closed, Croteaux operated out of its “Rosé on Run” truck and at pop ups at both The Menhaden and Shinn Estate Vineyards prior to the sale.

“I have always enjoyed Croteaux wine,” Frankel said. “The rosé-only concept is very cool and compliments Shinn wines, which are primarily whites and reds.”

Croteaux Vineyards, located at1450 South Harbor Road in Southold, is open daily from noon to 6:30 p.m. The tasting room will remain open through the holidays, Frankel said.