Saturday, April 26, 2014

Sustainable Saturday - They Didn't Get His Goat

Today, in the Triple Cities of upstate New York, it was time for Earth Day celebrations.  At a local liquor store (whose history is a little controversial, including whether the store can truly be called "local"), they were having tastings of various organic wines from several countries, along with organic cheeses, crackers and almonds to go with the wine.

There were also tastings from a New York State winery, one with a fascinating history.

Anything with a chicken on the label is worth trying, I say!
The story of Bully Hill Vineyards is the story of Walter Taylor, a man who said his birthright and name had been taken from him - but they would never get "his goat".  As a result, some of his wine labels (many of his labels used his own artwork, and his artwork is still used today) featured goats.   (you can find a lot of those labels in an Internet search).

Since he wasn't able, due to legal reasons, to even use his last name on his wine, there would be a "blank" where Taylor's last name would have gone.

Walter (blank) would have been proud to have been called a gadfly.

Today, at the tasting, the sales hook was simple:  Bully Hill was sampling boxed wines, made from native grapes. At one time, boxed wines had a stigma of lack of quality.  That is disappearing in some circles, although there are still questions about whether the plastic liners have BPA. 

But, that little box has as much wine as three 750 ml bottles, and costs a lot less to ship.

I am not a wine connoisseur so don't come to me for advice on whether a wine is good.  I grew up on sweet wine (very sweet wine, if the truth be known), and I still savor (well, drink) sweet wine.

 Many grapes grown in New York State are hybrids.  But these wines are made from native Niagara and Concord grapes.  (the above wine is a concord wine). The wines are sweet.  Bully Hill is not the smallest winery in New York State - far from it, but that also means that people as far away from New York as Indiana and Iowa can sample this wine made from native grapes.

Sweet and good, I think. I enjoyed each of the above wines. (Bully Hill, incidentally, also bottles wine - it isn't just sold in boxes.)

My spouse and I may have met Walter Taylor in 1988, when visiting Bully Hill.  Nowadays, years after Taylor's death (he passed in 2001) I can't be sure, after all these years, but I wondered, because the man I met at the tasting counter was loud, outspoken and, to use a cliche, "larger than life".  We never will know.

My readers who are interested in independent men and women would have loved Walter Taylor.

If you are interested in wines made from native American grapes, you may want to give this wine a try.

Do you have a local "character"?


  1. We don't have stuff like that here. Interesting box covers

  2. Oh, cool! I got you again :) LOL from the Facebook group:

    Well, hello!

  3. Why couldn't he put his name on his wine? Not a drinker but still enjoyed your writing as usual.

  4. As always this was a brilliantly written post Alana. I love the wine boxes!


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