“Home for the Holidays” takes on new meaning at Cedar House on Sound Bed and Breakfast in Mattituck, owned by Frank and Donna Scarola and cousins David and Donna Perrin. Its not just home to their family and their boutique winery, its can be home for your family, too.
Right now, their great room displays a hand-built nativity scene that David Perrin begins constructing months before. It features miniature vignettes that reflect the holiday spirit. There’s a glassblower, a baker, a fisherman and vineyards, as well as a lovingly crafted crèche. Five spacious bedrooms and expansive views make it a cozy place for a winter getaway, a unique opportunity to relax and sample the family’s wine and hospitality.
With the strong Italian tradition of the family masseria (farmstead) informing his dreams, Scarola built a career designing and implementing software for financial institutions such as JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley, but longed to return to the land.
“My parents were farmers,” Scarola says. “The stories resonated…I thought ‘let me create this ideal lifestyle here’. It started with the wine.” Although Scarola learned to make wine when he was a child, the story of the winery officially begins about 10 years ago, when he met Roman Roth of Wölffer Estate Vineyard at an event.
“He had been voted best winemaker out here and I approached him as a stranger and asked about producing my wine.” A wonderful collaboration ensued, and rather than downscaling his current profession, he forged a new lifestyle commuting from his home in Garden City and job in Manhattan to the Island while developing the Scarola label with grapes he purchased from other growers.
But dreams have a way of taking hold of the imagination and expanding and Scarola recognized an opportunity to more fully embrace his vision. “I came across this property one day—an old potato packing barn…there was no flooring, no plumbing…It was in disarray,” he says, “but it had potential…I was overwhelmed with its size…and what was here…” He started work on the conversion, but ran out of steam.
Enter David Perrin, whose wife, Donna is Frank’s cousin—not to be confused with “Tia” Donna, Frank’s wife. The Perrins lived in Florida and were removed from the “family scene” as Scarola puts it. Both were in the wine and hospitality business, traveled extensively and had a young daughter. As families do, another cousin suggested Scarola call Donna, that “they might be ready for a change.”
Perrin remembers the moment succinctly. He was in the car, driving. “It was October 2009 and my wife called and said ‘remember my cousin Frank…here’s the thing…’”
The Perrins knew nothing about the East End but were duly impressed. They came for Thanksgiving, traveled the North Fork, and went back to Florida to put their house up for sale. They were Long Island residents by March 2010 and finished construction of Cedar House B&B that summer.
Scarola believes that farming runs deep. “David’s parents were vegetable farmers in upstate New York. His dad has been with the NY State Farm bureau for many years. We both started with those roots, and came back to it.” Even Donna [Perrin], who grew up in Queens, has a background in agricultural. “Her dad turned the corner lot into a garden,” Scarola says.
The year 2011 was big for the cousins. They planted their vineyard Memorial Day Weekend and launched the website. “We have amended the soil and try to be as organic as possible: sustainable gardening,” Perrin says. “We live there. We are not going to contaminate the area our children play in.”
They currently sell their wine through the website and have poured at major East End events such as Taste of Two Forks and Harvest East End. Tastings are by appointment only in their rustic tasting room that overlooks the vineyard with3 the hand-hewn bar and harvest table.
“We are #1 out of 38 B&B’s on Trip Advisor,” grins Perrin. “We are a destination: a place to stay, a vineyard experience—agro-tourism on the East End. We want to create an environment where people look forward to coming to sit and enjoy.”
Scarola Vineyards is located at 4850 Sound Avenue, Mattituck. For more information, visit scarolavineyards.com or call 631-298-7676.