Tomorrow, Dec. 3 at 2:30 p.m., Carey and Regan Meador, owners of Southold Farm + Cellar, will go before the Southold Zoning Board of Appeals for what they — and a whole lot of wine lovers — hope will be the last time.
I’m a wine guy who has little interest in local codes or politics — and even less knowledge about them. I’m not going to pretend that I know the ins and outs of what the Meadors and their family have dealt with: being forced to close their tasting room, wondering if they’ll be able to stay open without that revenue stream, making their 2015 wines under a tent behind Lenz Winery’s tasting room because they haven’t been permitted to build their own winery facility, etc.
If Regan knew I was writing this column, he’d probably try to stop me. Make no mistake, he’s a savvy marketer and understands the power of the press, but he honestly just wants to farm his land, make wine from the grapes he grows, figure out how to sell it, raise his family on his farm and be part of the local farming community. But like many people, when I see something wrong I’m motivated to do something to make it right if I can.
I’m an interested observer, not an expert on the situation, but from where I sit, there are two primary hurdles the Meadors are facing: fear on the part of some anti-winery residents and how, for some reason, some town codes previously used to encourage agriculture aren’t being interpreted that way now.