Owera top staffers resign suddenly; loud weddings, complaints continue

— Owera Vineyards, which has been embroiled in recent weeks in a dispute with neighbors and the town over excessive light and sound pollution that many claim negatively affects the neighbors’ quality of life, is now looking for new production and events sales managers.

Top Owera staffers Ben Reilly, who started as the director of operations but was changed to production manager two months ago, and Kristi Fondario, who started as director of sales but was changed to event sales employee, both resigned their positions in the days between Aug. 19 and 27.

Reilly had no comment about the reason for his resignation from Owera. “I would like to say that moving my family here three years ago was one of the best decisions we ever made and I’d like to thank the community for their support,” he said.

Fondario could not be reached for comment.

A call to Owera by the Cazenovia Republican to confirm the status of Reilly and Fondario was put on hold and not picked back up; a second call was picked up and immediately disconnected. After going to the winery tasting room, the Republican was told by Heidi Wimmer, an Owera tasting room employee, that Reilly and Fondario both left to “pursue other career paths” and the winery is now looking to fill their former positions.

As of press time, both employees’ profiles and contact information remained on the Owera website and their voicemail boxes were still in operation.

Whether the resignations had anything to do with the winery’s current issues with neighbors and the town of Cazenovia over noise complaints, were simply changes in career paths or were the result of differing managerial opinions is unclear.

A review of Owera’s value as a wedding location posted on weddingwire.com would suggest that the resignations may be related to an alleged disrespectful management style by the owners. The review, which is undated and does not give the writer’s name, states:

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