Gerry Barnhart, winemaker at Victory View Vineyard, enjoys wine. That is why when customers ask why he got into the business, he replies, “I’ve enjoyed drinking wine for a long time.”
After retiring from NYS Department of Environment Conservation as Director of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources, Gerry Barnhart wanted to keep busy on his farm in Easton. So, in 2008, with the help of his family, he planted cold-hardy grapevines in an alfalfa field. In 2010 he crafted a small batch of marquette which received local acclaims. So, he planted more vines, crafted more wine and opened a tasting room in August 2013.
Since then Gerry’s wine, especially his dry reds, have even earned international acclaim. His maréchal foch earned a double gold medal in the 2016 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition – one of only two double gold medals awarded for a New York red wine. In 2015 his first vintage of Independence Marquette Reserve won a double gold and best red wine in the 2015 Hudson Valley Wine & Spirits Competition.
Gerry’s background – a Cornell graduate and fisheries biologist – has helped him navigate the scant knowledge about growing French-American vines in our region. He benefited from the help of Cornell Cooperative Extension agents and the work of the Northern Grape Project. He is a charter member of Adirondack Craft Beverage Trail and the Upper Hudson Valley Wine & Grape Association. He is active in the wine trail as past president and now acting treasurer. Gerry serves on the New York Wine & Grape Foundation’s board.
Gerry will explain to customers that “he has never made wine from a grape he didn’t grow.” That is why he has become the ‘go-to guy’ if you have questions about growing grapes and making wine in our region. And, because he enjoys wine.