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L.I.'s Vineyard 48 Closes Tasting Room; Southold Officials Talk About Winery Restrictions

CUTCHOGUE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- The owners of a Long Island vineyard are shutting down their tasting room after losing their liquor license.

Police were constantly being called to Vineyard 48 in Cutchogue for drunken patrons and large crowds. And as CBS2's Jessica Moore reported, the Town of Southold is now considering limiting the size of other tasting rooms.

The parking lot was empty Wednesday at Vineyard 48, located on County Road 48. The New York State Liquor Authority pulled its wine tasting room license after numerous complaints last year from neighbors like Jill Murphy and her daughter – who live right next to the vineyard.

"Drunken brawls; people wandering through my daughter's property; buses and limos making illegal U-turns," Murphy said.

A limousine leaving Vineyard 48 was broadsided trying to make an illegal U-turn in July 2015. A memorial remains at the site for the four young women killed in the crash.

Southold police Chief Martin Flatley said his officers were at the vineyard every weekend for complaints of patrons urinating or having sex. Now, his officers will be watching very closely for what other vineyards do.

"The officers are mounting extra patrols and watching where limos are going," Flatley said. "Mostly, the vineyards are aware of the situation, so they've added their own security."

Meanwhile, Southold's town attorney said a new committee will consider a town-wide tasting room crackdown.

"We're going to look at limiting the size of the wineries and how many bottles of wine they're actually producing, and then limiting the number of special events they can hold on the site; limiting the size of the tasting rooms and how many people can be on-site," said Town Attorney Bill Duffy.

Town officials acknowledge that all along the roads, signs point drivers to the dozens of vineyard tasting rooms. The staff at Clovis Point Vineyards in Riverhead said they should not be judged by one bad apple – pointing out that they have strict rules for visitors.

"We don't allow limos or buses for that reason, and it allows for a more intimate experience," said Cindy Gorman of Clovis Point Vineyards.

Town leaders said they would welcome that, warning that they will no longer tolerate anymore bad behavior. The attorney for Vineyard 48 would not speak with CBS2 on record about the vineyard's problems.

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