At Bully Hill Vineyard in Hammondsport, it's all about fun. The wines produced here are the kind you drink to enjoy, not the kind that sit on your wine rack collecting dust. With more than 40 different types of affordably priced wines, Bully Hill prides itself on selling at least one variety you'll love.
'We want you to leave finding a wine that you like, open it up and enjoy it with your friends – not brag or save it because it's fancy,' says Bully Hill's Sean King. 'Nothing against that, but we want people to like the wine for what it is.'
Sweet Walter Red, a sweet and smooth wine with an exceptional grape flavor, is one of the winery's best sellers, and their signature wine is Love My Goat Red. It falls in the middle between dry and sweet, and finishes creamy and smooth.
At Bully Hill, you have the option of two types of tastings: A cellar tasting or the custom tasting. At the cellar tasting, you get to try ten different wines and experience the Bully Hill Winery 'show.' Part comedy, part fun, and part entertaining, this is not your stuffy wine-sipping experience, and many people come back several times to see it all again.
While the cellar tasting is more focused on groups, the custom tasting is designed for one-on-one attention and discussions on the technicalities of wine production and techniques, with personalized recommendations for wines to try.
WHAT YOU'LL FIND
There's so much to explore and learn at this winery, you can't expect to do it all in an hour. There's the winery with its tasting room, a full service restaurant open for lunch, a gift shop, a wine museum and historical walking tours of the vineyard. The gift shop, winery and tasting room are open year-round, and the museum and tours are open seasonally. The Bully Hill Restaurant features local cuisine, including fresh salads and seafood, and with a smoker right on the premises, you know you won't want to miss out on the pulled pork.
A STORIED HISTORY
Maybe the most interesting piece of the winery is its controversial history. The Taylor family first bought the land for the winery back in the 1880s, but it wasn't until the founder's grandson, Walter, was fired from his position at the Pleasant Valley Wine Company for badmouthing the quality of their product that he struck out to start on his own. Walter's ensuing fights with corporate giants like Coca-Cola and the original Taylor Wine Company helped shape the future of the winery, including its focus around a steadfast goat. If you take a tour, you'll find out how the phrase 'They didn't get my goat ' echoed and inspired much of what you see today.