Editorial: The impact of kindness in a small community

07/02/2014 8:00 AM |
In October 1999, Alex and Louisa Hargrave greeted Marco and Ann Marie Borghese upon the sale of their vineyard with this heartfelt greeting. The message remains poignant today. (Credit: Judy Ahrens, file)

In October 1999, Alex and Louisa Hargrave greeted Marco and Ann Marie Borghese upon the sale of their vineyard with this heartfelt greeting. The message remains poignant today. (Credit: Judy Ahrens, file)

Several years back we sent a young reporter to Castello di Borghese Vineyard & Winery to interview owners Marco and Ann Marie Borghese for a profile.

When she returned, she couldn’t stop talking about how nice they were.

“Marco is the sweetest, nicest man I’ve ever met,” she said.

Those words have been repeated many times this week as members of the East End community mourned both Marco, who was killed Monday in an automobile accident on Route 25A in Wading River, and Ann Marie, who died a week earlier following a battle with cancer.

In their 15 years on the North Fork, the Borgheses made an impression not just on the wine industry — which they did by annually producing a fantastic vintage — but also on the greater Southold community.

And we can count many times over the years when they were particularly gracious to members of our staff.

Former Long Island Wine Press editor Jane Starwood recalled this week the Borgheses inviting her into their home for a dinner while she was writing her book “Long Island Wine Country: Award-Winning Vineyards of the North Fork and the Hamptons.” They opened themselves up to photos and interviews as they cooked a meal for Jane and her husband. It wasn’t the typical phone interview or email exchange most writers are accustomed to. It was the Borghese treatment: welcoming, with open arms.

Suffolk Times publishers Andrew and Sarah Olsen recalled an act of kindness from the Borgheses upon the birth of their first child. Sarah had interviewed the couple while she was pregnant. After their son, Tyler, was born that March, Ann Marie came unannounced to the Olsens’ house with a plastic step-stool purchased at a local hardware store and a basket full of home gifts for the baby. It was a surprisingly touching gesture given the fact that their only interaction had been in connection with that one interview. There are so many of these great stories to be told about this wonderful couple by so many people in this town.

These are just a few of our own. Ciao, Marco. Ciao, Ann Marie.