This past Mother’s Day quickly turned into a headache for one upstate New York winery. Lowville’s Tug Hill Estate recorded almost $13,000 in lost revenue after a former employee booked multiple reservations under false aliases.
David R. Nisley Jr. allegedly created several reservations online, using anonymous identities to book fake spots during a bustling Mother’s Day weekend. As a result of the fabricated RSVPs, Tug Hill Estate — formerly called Tug Hill Vineyards — reported an estimated $13,000 in financial losses.
The harm was intentional and in retaliation for a friend’s dispute with the winery, according to police.
“Nisley, a former employee of Tug Hill Vineyards, admitted to investigators that he made the fake reservations because he was upset with his friend’s former employer and expressed remorse for his actions, stating he understood it was not a harmless prank,” a Sept. 20 press release from New York State Police states.
Nisley was charged with first-degree identity theft on Sept. 16, the release states. Hey was released on his own recognizance after being arraigned in Lewis County Court.
Tug Hill offers several visitor and tourist opportunities at its estate overlooking the Black River Valley. Hybrid grape vineyards accompany several acres of other fruit and flowers, with a spotlight on fruit picking in the autumn. A restaurant on the property serves the winery’s signature brunches and dinner parties, with an entertaining space available for weddings and other events.
Next steps for Nisley’s criminal trial and sentencing have not yet been released.