Little Compton vineyard wants full BV license

General manager said offering spirits would help vineyard, founded in 1975, remain competitive and attract new guests

By Ted Hayes
Posted 3/25/22

Carolyn's Sakonnet Vineyard owners want the right to sell distilled spirits on their property, and the Little Compton Town Council members voted Thursday evening to seek legal input from the town's …

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Little Compton vineyard wants full BV license

General manager said offering spirits would help vineyard, founded in 1975, remain competitive and attract new guests

Posted

Carolyn's Sakonnet Vineyard owners want the right to sell distilled spirits on their property, and the Little Compton Town Council members voted Thursday evening to seek legal input from the town's substitute solicitor before making any decision.

The vineyard, which holds a victualing license from the town and is approved by the state to sell wine, wants to expand alcoholic offerings in its restaurant space in the main building, and outside when weather permits, but has no plans to offer spirits in its wine tasting areas. Specifically, the vineyard seeks a full BV Retail Beverage license.

"If we have learned anything during two years of the 'Covid experience,' it is to be flexible, pivot and think outside the box in order to survive as a business," Cynthia Rocha, the vineyard's general manager, wrote in a letter to the council. "We see an opportunity to utilize an expanded menu, to introduce Sakonnet Vineyard to those who would not normally visit."

Though some councilors said they would welcome a new dining experience in Little Compton, they said there are numerous questions before they take action as the town's board of license commissioners. Among them, is a zoning variance required as the vineyard sits in a residential zone? And would the license set a precedent that would allow other farmers and agriculturists to go the same route?

Town solicitor Richard S. Humphrey recused himself from discussion and instead, councilors will ask substitute solicitor Girard Galvin to look into the legal questions and report back.

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