In a new a creative use of liquor licensing, three North Fork wineries have opened a tasting room on the grounds of the Portly Grape restaurant in Greenport called winebar.
Tastings of the full line of wines from Comtesse Thèrése, Bouké and Scarola Vineyards are available from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., tasting room hours as defined by the state liquor authority for those holding farm winery licenses. The Portly Grape, however, is a restaurant, so the tasting room can sell wine by the glass as late into the evening as it wants, which in this case is 10 p.m.
So, in addition to tastings of the three featured producers, winebar can sell wines by the glass and bottle from any producer, as well as food. Thus, wines from other East End producers are available for sale, and a full menu by Portly Grape chef Mark Sorrentino, is available all day. Under current law, farm wineries cannot sell food like a restaurant. Nor can it sell wine from other producers without additional licensing and agreements.
This works as the Portly Grape has the space to do it. Winebar is in an air-conditioned and heated tent in the backyard, surrounded by trees and a lawn perfect of lounging on quilts laid out by managers Mark Anderson and Andrew Mestler, who used to work at the Bedell Cellars tasting room in Cutchogue.
Comtesse Thèrése, Bouké and Scarola were rendered homeless after Theresa Dilworth, owner of Comtesse Thèrése, sold her joint tasting room on Peconic Lane in Peconic. The building was taken over by Anthony Nappa, who installed the Winemakers Studio.