By Annette Hinkle
Back in 1988, Christian Wölffer founded Sagpond Vineyards on 55 acres of former potato fields just north of Montauk Highway in Sagaponack.
The operation grew quickly in the years that followed with the addition of riding stables and a grand 12,000-square-foot Tuscan-inspired winery which was built in the late 1990s. The name changed too — to Wölffer Estate Vineyard.
Then in December of 2008, Christian Wölffer was killed at the age of 70 in a tragic swimming accident off the coast of Brazil
Since his death, the staff at Wölffer Estate Vineyard, including general manager and executive vice president John Nida and winemaker/technical director Roman Roth, have kept the facility operating smoothly. As a result, the vineyard’s visibility has grown as evidenced by the popularity of its weekly Twilight Thursday and Candlelight Friday jazz nights at the winery and, in summer, Sunset Friday at the nearby Wölffer Wine Stand on Montauk Highway.
But in recent years, without an actively owner at the helm, it wasn’t possible for the management team at Wölffer to move forward by building on Christian Wölffer’s vision.
Then last week, it was announced that two of Christian Wölffer’s children, daughter Joey Wölffer and son Mark Wölffer, have purchased the vineyard from their father’s estate. In buying their sibling’s interest in the property, now 71-acres, the sister and brother team have completed the transfer of ownership of the estate within the family.
As the new owners, that means Joey and Marc Wölffer are now in a position to expand on their father’s vision.
“This year marks our 25th anniversary, an amazing milestone when you consider that our family vineyards were planted over humble potato fields,” said Joey. “It took my father years of hard work, creativity and vision to build a winery here, and we look forward to working with our team to realize his dream of making world-class wines.
“We are continuing our father’s legacy but also realizing our own dream,” added Joey. “We want to expand the brand regionally, locally and internationally while maintaining the high quality wines produced by the vineyard. I’m most interested in adding more cultural venues at the estate and we hope that art influence will help with retail sales.”
“Now more than ever we are looking forward to introducing more people to what my father built and to share our high quality wines as we continue our family heritage in the wine industry,” said Marc.