Southold winery in danger of closing

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A popular North Fork vineyard is fighting to stay open after the town's zoning board ruled the winery to be in violation of an acreage requirement.

Michael Croteaux, the owner of Croteaux, tells News 12 that the town of Southold requires that wineries and their casing rooms have 10 acres of connected land.

Croteaux's vineyard, however, is split by South Harbor Road, with 9.371 acres on one side of the road and 4.65 acres on the other.

"What's interesting is that there aren't any acreage requirements from the state or the federal [government,]" he said. "This is something the Southold town made."

Croteau applied for a variance since he has a total of 14 acres, but the town Zoning Board of Appeals denied his request saying, "Grant of the variance will produce an undesirable change in the character of the neighborhood and a detriment to nearby properties."

Croteau says his winery, which produces rose exclusively, is small and doesn't allow large parties or events. 

"We limit the group size to eight here," he says. "We don't do weddings. We don't do events here."

For the time being, the Town of Southold is allowing the Croteaux Winery to operate and may look at changing its code. In a statement to News 12 about the zoning board ruling, Town Supervisor Scott Russel says, "The decisions do not reflect the policies or goals of the town." 

Croteau says he hopes the town changes its code not only for him, but so other wineries or farms won't be limited in the future. 

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