Widgets Magazine

Innkeeper Lisa Sannino on Her B&B, the Family Vineyard & Tasting Room, and the Cutchogue Holiday House Tour

Q: You have a vineyard, tasting room and bed & breakfast. What came first? A: We bought our vineyard in 2006, but it was a mature vineyard, planted in 1989. The vineyard had been owned by Harold Watts the owner of Tern Haven Cellars winery in Greenport. We began the Bed & Breakfast in 2009 and starting running the tasting room in 2010.

Q: How did you get into the vineyard/winery business?

A: “Hobbies gone Wild.” Anthony started making wine 22 years ago as a home winemaker. He shortly began volunteering at local wineries seeking hands on experience and taking courses online through UC Davis and also studied to be a wine judge through a program given by The American Wine society. His strong passion to make great wines and my support to bring the passion to a professional level led us to purchasing our first vineyard property.

Q: How’d you find the one you bought?

A:  Anthony would buy used equipment from wineries to support his forever growing hobby when he met Harold Watts. Mr. Watts was at retirement age and ready to step away from the wine industry and eagerly showed us his unique private vineyard he would eventually sell us. The agreement I had with my husband was if he can build our home on the vineyard I would make the move and eventually open the B&B.

Sannino Bella Vita Vineyard & B&B

Q: Really? Was a B&B always a dream of yours?

A: When I traveled I always stayed in B&Bs, I loved the experience. I knew I wanted to have my own someday.   I was working for Chemical Bank—now JPMorgan—in their HR department, and also studying for my MBA. During a meeting, in 1994 I was asked:  “Where do you see yourself within the corporation in the future?” I said, actually “someday I see myself on a farm hosting my own B&B”. Shortly after that comment my supervisor gave me a book on starting and operating a B&B. which I still have today.

Q: Did the reality of being an Innkeeper match up to the dream?

A: Absolutely, I love providing a unique experience for my guests and I love being the concierge for the North Fork Wine region. I love where I live and what I do; this makes it easier for me to share with my guests.   I also like cooking and  baking while using  my own eggs from our hens in the backyard, herbs from  my garden and locally grown in season produce from local farm stands.

Q: Is there anything about your B&B that sets it apart? All B&Bs are unique in their own ways—what is yours?

A:  The B&B is designed so that guests can enjoy their own private entrance leading them to a separate wing of the house. Breakfast is served to guests in the morning on a tray to be enjoyed on their own private balcony overlooking the vineyard. This intimate experience is rarely offered in a B&B.


Q: Are the B&B and Vineyard linked in any way?

A: Our B&B guests are also our VIP guests at our winery; they receive a complementary private tour, tasting, charcuterie platter and discounts when visiting the winery.

Q: What’s the tasting room experience like?

A: It’s a rustic historic barn that has a casual setting. Tastings have an educational component; our flights are designed to allow for comparative tastings of the various varieties, wine making styles and flavor profiles.

We provide educational vineyard and winery tours and once a month offer VIP classes.  Our classes offer various personal experiences related to growing wine grapes and any phase of winemaking. We have a wine club, where we teach people to make their own wine, as well as, a wine shipment club, allowing people to receive our wines at their home 4 times per year.

Q: What wines do you produce? And how many bottles a year?

A: We have Petit Verdot, Cabernet sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Franc as well as Rosé of Merlot, Chardonnay, and Riesling.  We have a seasonal spice wine which is only available October through January.

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We produce approximately 2000 cases per year. We farm 23 acres of vineyards, which are all currently certified Sustainable through Long Island Sustainable Wine Growers.  We distribute our wines locally to a few restaurants and liquor stores with the majority of our wines selling through our tasting room and wine club.

Q: You’re participating in a tour or something, the first weekend in December, right? What’s that about?

A: It’s our 3rd Annual Holiday house tour; it’s all about Cutchogue. Three Cutchogue B&Bs are each paired up with a winery, restaurant and a locally owned business, as well as live music.  There will be samples and goods available for purchase. There are six stops in all, including 8 Hands Farm, Castello di Borghese Winery and the Cutchogue New Suffolk Historical Society tree lighting festivities. It’s a great day out—a holiday gathering to start the season.

The reason we do this tour is to support the Cutchogue New Suffolk Historical Society—they receive a portion of the proceeds. This event is open to the public, and we have paired up with transportation for an additional fee.  Tickets available at sanninovineyard.com.  Call 631-735-9024 for more information.

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Q: How did you get to the North Fork? What do you appreciate most about living here?

A:   I love everything about living in Cutchogue especially the sense of community. It’s an awesome place to raise children.  The beaches are beautiful, as well as great farm stands and vineyards.