The Red Hook wine war rages on!
Triciann and Jeff Botta received unanimous approval from the
State Liquor Authority on Wednesday to open their specialty wine shop on Van Brunt Street — but seconds after the approval was handed down, rival shop owners Ron and Mary Kyle, owners of the nearby Dry Dock, stormed into the hearing and convinced the commissioners to reopen the case due to stunning last-minute evidence.
The evidence? A promotional Web page set up by the Bottas that suggested that their wine shop might allow customers to enjoy a glass of wine in the courtyard of their swank new store between Wolcott and Dikeman streets.
The Bottas had been instructed at a previous hearing to remove such a suggestion, so, presented with shocking evidence that the couple had not done so, Chairman Dennis Rosen reopened the case and ordered them to return on March 31.
“It’s very frustrating,” said Triciann Botta after the stunning turnaround. “[The Kyles] just want to stop us from getting our license on whatever technicality they can. It’s very petty.”
Mary Kyle would not comment about the last-minute intervention, saying simply, “I only wish them the best of luck.”
Evidence suggests the contrary. The Kyles initially contested the Bottas’ liquor license application on the grounds that there are already two wine vendors in the neighborhood — their own Dry Dock and Al’s, the “bulletproof” liquor store at the corner of Sullivan Street.
When that failed, the Kyles brought up the issue of the erroneous Web site, which swayed the liquor authority’s commissioners, despite the disclaimer on the Bottas’ site that says, “State Laws dictate what we are allowed to do and [we] may change our mind on certain designs and ideas based on that.”
Triciann Botta said that she had begun building a new Web site, and thought that the one in question had been removed entirely by her web developer. The site is now shut down.
The new development is the latest chapter in a bitter, month-long saga that has riveted Red Hook with sordid tales of an existing wine store challenging a newcomer, a hint of jealousy over the fact that the Bottas’ store, Botta di Vino, was built by the Discovery Channel and that most classic of backdrops: a neighborhood in transition.
For now, Al’s has not gotten involved in this showdown, but such vino venom is certainly not beneath its owners.
Indeed, when the Kyles first applied for their liquor license for Dry Dock last November, Felix Garcia, whose mother owns Al’s, contested the application.
In Red Hook, wine is thicker than blood.