Hidden away on the John E. Roosevelt's historical Meadow Croft Estate lies Loughlin Vineyard; one of Long Island's best kept secrets.
How It All Began
On July 31st, 1925, Bernard (or as we all call him, Barney) was born on John Ellis Roosevelt Estate in Sayville, NY to Michael and Mary Loughlin. He had three older siblings, Peggy, Anna and John who all lived on the Roosevelt Estate. Mary and Michael were caretakers to the John Roosevelt’s summer home and oversaw the property when they were away. At the age of 18, Barney was drafted to serve in WWII and left Sayville for Waco, Texas to attend basic training. After six weeks, he was shipped on a boat to Northern Africa with the 36th Infantry Division. The years Barney spend in Europe were a defining time for him. He campaigned through Italy, France, and Germany, and was was lucky enough to make it home. In 1945, Barney returned to Sayville and became the caretaker for the Roosevelt Estate. He married Christine Benderoth in 1946 and moved a few blocks away from the estate. They welcomed three beautiful daughters, Mary Ellen, Elizabeth and Patricia.
1946 - Present
Barney cared for the Roosevelt Estate for many years. In the mid-1950’s, Jean Roosevelt sold Barney 15 acres of land at the back end of the estate. Becoming a printer after the war, he built a linotype shop on the property before moving his shop to Railroad Avenue in Sayville. In the 1970’s, the Roosevelt house began to fall to ruin. Knowing how important and historically significant the land was, Barney approached the county to help restore it. Suffolk County purchased the land from the Roosevelt’s and made it an official county park.
The summer estate of John Ellis Roosevelt and his family, Meadow Croft is comprised of a 19th century farmhouse and a magnificent 1891 addition designed by Isaac H. Green, Jr. of Sayville. Additional structures are a carriage house, an auto house, a caretaker's cottage, and a swimming pool. The care and restoration is shared by the Bayport-Blue Point Heritage Association which first envisioned its potential as a museum in 1984.
The house is open for tours from May through October starting at 2PM.
While he toured Europe during WWII, Barney thought all the vineyards were like “a little piece of heaven” and wanted to bring that back to Sayville. Although Barney did not drink wine and preferred Johnny Walker and Irish Whiskey, people told him he could not grow grapes on the South Shore of Long Island. Being a stubborn Irishman, he set out to prove them wrong. On the rainy Memorial Day Weekend of 1984, Barney, Christine and their daughters planted grape vines on five acres of property. After a few years of selling the grapes to vineyards out east, Barney decided to produce his own wine. With the help of friends at Le Reve Winery, Loughlin Vineyard began production of their first vintage of Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
The original tasting room was a picnic table in front of the vines. As time went on, the tasting room grew from an open shack to a cabin nestled in the woods. You can join us in the tasting room every Saturday and Sunday, all year round. There is nothing more relaxing than a Sunday afternoon cozied up by the wood fire place at Loughlin Vineyard.
After producing wine at Le Reve and Peconic Bay, the Loughlin family built their own winery in the late 2000’s.
THE LEGACY LIVES ON
2019 is the 35th anniversary of Loughlin Vineyard. We are so proud and grateful of the Loughlin Vineyard community, the memories we have made, the friends we have gained and all the support we have received. Although Barney passed away in 2016 at the ripe age of 91, his legacy lives on. His daughters Beth, Patricia and Mary Ellen maintain the vineyard and winery. You can find Barney’s granddaughter, Brittany, serving wine in the tasting room every Saturday and Sunday. Barney and Christine’s daughters, son-in-laws, four grandchildren and two great grand children hope to continue their legacy for years to come. Cheers! We hope to see you at Loughlin Vineyard soon.