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Bully Hill Vineyards
Long History in Finger Lakes Wine
Bully Hill Vineyard is the second largest winery in the Finger Lakes Region, not to mention one of the most eclectic, embodying Walter Taylor's philosophy of "wine with laughter." With wine tasting, guided tours, restaurant, gift shops and museums, more than 200,000 visitors learn each year how making Bully Hill's quality wine can be fun, as they experience the unique approach to winemaking while tasting the wines and viewing Walter Taylor's fascinating labeled artwork.
Be prepared to participate and laugh at Bully Hill. Plan an hour for a very informative tour through the winery and the most fun wine tasting experience in the Finger Lakes. Make sure to plan extra time to explore the museum, art gallery and extensive gift shops. May - October the Bully Hill restaurant serves lunch daily from the indoor dining room or on the deck overlooking the vineyards and Keuka Lake.
Water S. Taylor and Greyton H. Taylor started Bully Hill Farms in 1958, but the family had been in the winemaking business since 1883, Walter being the fourth generation. As the first small estate winery on Keuka Lake since Prohibition, Bully Hill became the cornerstone for the growth of many wineries.
Moving the Vineyard and Expansion
From 1883-1919, the Taylor Wine Company was expanding rapidly, buying grapes from a number of local vineyardists. Its original site did not allow for a consistent water and electrical power supply needed to make a successful winery, so the Taylor family moved the Finger Lakes winery to a new site two miles outside the Village of Hammondsport in 1919. In 1928, Lloyd Sprague bought the original winery site atop Bully Hill.
Greyton Taylor purchased the vineyards back in 1958, and worked with Walter to convert from Native American Grapes to French-American hybrids. Slowly, a winery came to fruition, and in 1970, Bully Hill Vineyards, Inc. was officially established.
Belief in New York Grapes
Walter Taylor was the assistant vice president of Pleasant Valley Wine Company until 1970, when he left after speaking out against the large New York State wineries for using as much as 25 percent of California juice in New York wines. Taylor believed in producing pure wine, without adding foreign ingredients. Taylor didn't ameliorate (add water to) his wine and his slogan became "Wine Without Water". He was very against blending with California juice, speaking out against tank car wine. Taylor felt so strongly he placed a railroad car outside the vineyard to illustrate his point, which remains there today.
Fight Against Coca-Cola
In 1977, Taylor Wine Company, with its parent company, Coca-Cola, filed a suit against Walter S. Taylor to prevent him from using the Taylor name on his wine labels. Bully Hill labels were then found in retail stores with his last name blackened out. Walter S. Taylor won this case against Taylor Wine Co. "They have my name and heritage but they didn't get my goat!"
Walter Taylor made many quality wines, but was also a talented artist. His labels are so creative that many people collect them today. Upon your visit to Bully Hill, you may enjoy Finger Lakes wine tastings called Mother Ship Over Paris Champagne Rouge, or Love My Goat Red.