Marco Borghese, a prominent figure in the Long Island wine industry, was killed Monday in a two-vehicle crash in Wading River, according to Town of Riverhead police. They said he was driving on Route 25A, lost control of his 2013 Jeep Cherokee on a curve and hit an oncoming International Harvester truck head-on. The truck driver and a passenger were not injured.
The death of Borghese, 70, came just days after his wife and business partner, Ann Marie Borghese, 56, died after a long battle with cancer. Police say they are continuing to investigate the crash. Wading River Fire Department Chief Kevin McQueeney said it took more than a dozen firefighters to extricate Borghese from the fatal wreck.
The Borgheses owned Castello di Borghese Vineyard & Winery, which originally was named Hargrave Vineyards -- the first vineyard on the North Fork, which they purchased and renamed in 1999. Borghese, a native of Italy's Tuscany region and a former president of the Long Island Wine Council, managed the vineyard and was the winemaker. Borghese himself was a graduate of the University of Rome and at one time owned and operated an export-import business. His wife, a graduate of the University of Delaware, was the assistant winemaker and had operated her own jewelry salon, according to their official biography. They were the parents of three children.
The Borgheses first trip to the North Fork was on Thanksgiving 1998. Despite some family members operating a vineyard in Italy, and himself growing up on a farm. Borghese said he had no personal experience with wineries or vineyards.
“We came here to taste, not to shop for a vineyard,” Borghese said in a 2012 interview with the Long Island Wine Press, noting that although he was a wine enthusiast he had no experience with vineyards or wineries. “I had to learn on the job,” he said.
Castello di Borghese Vineyard & Winery is located on Route 48 (Sound Avenue) and Alvah's Lane in Cutchogue, with an additional tasting room at 740 Main Road in Aquebogue. No details about funeral arrangements have been released.