A Journey of Wine and Memories
Over three decades ago, Cindy and I had the pleasure of visiting Bully Hill Vineyards in Hammondsport, New York. Back then, wine tasting was a relaxed, free affair. Our most cherished memory from that visit was the generous Walter S. Blank (Taylor), who poured us ample samples of his exquisite wines. If you’re familiar with the Taylor story, you’d understand the “Blanked” reference.
Fast forward to July 2022, and Bully Hill Vineyards has transformed remarkably. The complex now boasts not only the traditional tour and tasting but also a gift shop filled with branded merchandise and their signature wines. They’ve also introduced a restaurant, perfect for pairing your chosen wines with a delightful meal.
The revamped tasting room is a sight to behold, spacious and welcoming, offering breathtaking views of Keuka Lake. For a mere $8, visitors can savor 5 pre-selected wines and take home a complimentary souvenir wine glass. If you’re looking for more variety, there’s a bar in the adjoining gift shop where you can choose your wine for $2 per sample. While I don’t claim to be a wine connoisseur, the wines I tasted that day were exceptional.
During our recent visit, we had the unexpected pleasure of meeting Stephen Taylor, Walter’s son. He was overseeing the wine tasting that day. I recounted our delightful encounter with his father, which had left an indelible mark on us. The next morning, as I was starting my day, I ran into Stephen again, who was out walking his dog. I took the opportunity to express my gratitude for Bully Hill’s association with Harvest Host. He mentioned they had joined the program just a month ago, making us some of the first “pioneers.”
Our camping spot was in the lower parking area of Bully Hill, sharing the same panoramic view of Keuka Lake as the tasting room. We had the company of just one other camper, and the owners were nowhere in sight. The convenience of an on-site port-a-potty was a welcome addition, even though we were self-sufficient.
For those visiting Hammondsport, there’s no shortage of activities:
- Dive into the Finger Lakes Wine Country and explore local wineries and picturesque vineyards.
- Experience the beauty of Keuka Lake State Park with its hiking trails, boating, fishing, and picnicking spots.
- Delve into aviation history at the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum.
- Enjoy shopping and dining in downtown Hammondsport, boasting unique shops, eateries, and art galleries.
- Play golf at the Hammondsport Golf Course, offering stunning views of Keuka Lake.
- Engage in community events at the Hammondsport Central School District Athletic Field.
In essence, Bully Hill Vineyards offers a blend of rich history, exquisite wines, and stunning vistas. It’s a must-visit for anyone looking to create lasting memories.
For more insights, consider these resources:
- Bully Hill Vineyards Official Website: Explore Bully Hill’s wines, tours, tastings, and events.
- Walter S. Taylor History: Dive into the legacy of Walter S. Taylor, the visionary behind Bully Hill Vineyards.
- Harvest Hosts Website: Learn about unique overnight experiences for RV travelers at various wineries.
- Keuka Lake Wine Trail: Uncover the beauty and offerings of the Keuka Lake region.
- Finger Lakes Wine Region Overview: Your comprehensive guide to the Finger Lakes Wine Region.
In conclusion, Bully Hill Vineyards is a blend of great wine, wonderful people, and captivating scenery. It gets our wholehearted recommendation – 4 thumbs up!