On Tuesday night, the commission approved a certificate of occupancy for a farm winery for Storybrook Farm, which would allow the farm to legally sell wine made from fruits grown on the property.
Though his primary occupation is maintaining his farmhouse and bed-and-breakfast, Storybrook Farm owner John Vogt told the commission that he and his wife and co-owner, Diane, had been approached about creating a farm winery.
“We’ve been producing apples and wondering what to do with the excess,” Vogt said. “The state approached us last January to go ahead and create a farm winery, which, under the new law, says, basically, we produce the fruit, ship it down to a winery.”
That outside winery would then make the wine out of the fruit supply, then ship it back to the original growers to sell.
“They crush it, ferment it, and sell it back to you, with all the taxes paid,” Vogt said. “We have to store it in one of our homes and sell it out of the other to our bed-and-breakfast guests.”
Though the commission could not directly authorize the establishment of Storybrook Farm as a farm winery, Town Attorney Jim Wheeler said they would authorize Town Administrator Bob Browning to inform the state that the farm could legally operate in that capacity.
“We’re asking that you vote to authorize the town administrator to write the letter to the state saying that they are legally operating,” Wheeler said.
Commissioner Marion Light then made that motion, which was approved unanimously.
After the meeting, Vogt said he was eager to start producing wine, even if only in small quantities.
“We look forward to it,” Vogt said. “But we’ll only be producing enough for 500 bottles, so it should be gone pretty quick. It will mainly be for our guests’ enjoyment.”
Vogt added, however, that the wine would be available for sale at his farm.