WASHINGTONVILLE – It carries the distinction of the oldest winery in the United States. It further distinguishes itself as being one of the top three largest wineries in New York State. And now, it has earned yet another impressive honor: an official inductee into The New York State Historic Business Preservation Registry.
Overseen by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the Registry, born earlier this year, showcases businesses that have been operating at least 50 years; Brotherhood more than qualified with its 175 year tenure. Inclusion in the Registry further requires that those admitted businesses have a proven track record of contributing to their communities, something Brotherhood has diligently-loyally displayed over the years.
“It is such a beautiful day that we should all grab a glass of wine here and relax when we are done here,” Senator James Skoufis welcomed in guests last Tuesday on the Brotherhood grounds, where he officially presented Winery President, Hernan Donoso with the Registry Certificate. “We were allowed to nominate two businesses from our District, and Brotherhood was the first to come to mind, as it truly embodies what this Registry is about.” Senator Skoufis continued, “Its contributions to Washingtonville as well as Orange County history cannot be overstated, nor can how impressive their longevity has been- through a fire, Prohibition, World Wars, a Pandemic and much more; the commitment of the people here is second to none.”
Two of the dedicated leaders from that Brotherhood team were on hand Tuesday. President Donoso, along with Vice President, Philip Dunsmore, proudly shook hands with Skoufis, honored and humbled by the impressive accolade bestowed upon their business.
“Thank you. Thank you. Thank you to every member of the community,” said a smiling Donoso. “We have been here a long time, and are always working, trying to move forward, produce and improve; this is a very, very nice community to be a part of, and we are so lucky to have such a great relationship with them that we want to continue to maintain.”
That community connection is part of a long legacy as well as success of Brotherhood. The oldest winery in America, it all started out when local cobbler John Jaques released his first commercial vintage, made from grapes grown in the backyard of his Washingtonville business around 1824. By 1839, Jaques was a winemaker, labeling his initial products with the “Blooming Grove Winery” trademark, before transforming to The Brotherhood Winery. Going through various stages- including multiple challenges- in its evolution, Brotherhood has prevailed, poignantly contributing to its community’s history, while attracting a steady flow of visitors from all over the world.
“Local businesses are the backbone of communities, said Village of Wahingtonville Mayor, Joe Bucco. “We want people to be happy when they come here to Brotherhood; I am certainly so happy when I do.”
The Brotherhood Winery, a dynamic business, now features a restaurant, bar, outdoor seating area, gift shop, as well as history-laden tours and wine tasting options where wine bottles can also be purchased. Weddings, banquets and other events are also regularly held at its Grand Salon site year-round. To learn more about Brotherhood Winery and its many offerings, visit www.brotherhood-winery.com.