CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. -- A Yorktown resident is hoping to turn his unused 28-acre parcel of land in New Castle into a winery.
Steve Sabba met with the New Castle Town Board at a work session Tuesday night, trying to obtain a special permit to run a winery on his property at 35 Quaker Ridge Road in New Castle. The property has an Ossining mailing address.
"We want to be Westchester's only family owned and operated winery," Sabba said. "This property is perfect for it."
Sabba would run with the winery with his friend, John Vuolo, a South Salem resident and wine expert. The winery would not be open to the public, Sabba said.
"John's been bottling wine of his own, but he only has a couple of acres in South Salem," Vuolo said. "He brought the idea idea to me and I thought it was great."
Running his own winery fits into Sabba's old soul mentality. He likes having a property that's calm and idyllic, and bemoans how fast paced today's world is.
"This is a perfect spot along Glendale Road, you could see the vines growing," Sabba said. "We want to bottle the wine and sell it to local restaurants and supermarkets like Decicco's."
Sabba said he is not looking to become a multimillionaire off of his winery, but it is more of a passion.
"Once we get the approvals, we'll go in and start cultivating," Sabba said.
Once they get the necessary approvals from the town, it will take about three to five years for the vines to be ready. In the meantime, Sabba expects to farm vegetables and herbs.
"We're trying to figure out how far we want to take this," Sabba said. "We don't want to make this a big enterprise. This is two guys doing a project. The town board seemed very receptive."
Though Sabba is a teetotaler, he said he understands the importance of wine in society.
"Wine is something that I don't consider to be an evil alcohol," Sabba said. "It's not hard liquor or beer. Wine is not trashy alcohol, you don't go out and get hammered. It's a classic kind of alcohol. Fine wine is something you have at an elegant dinner."
Sabba attended wine school in the mid-80s when he ran A Country Place, a restaurant in Somers with a high-end wine list. He learned that chardonnay is a grape and that Bordeaux is a region in France, while learning from sommeliers who can identify wines from blind taste tests.
He hopes his winery becomes a jewel of New Castle and makes people proud to live in town.
"This will make people say they are happy to live in New Castle," Sabba said.