PENN YAN — A Scriba native has recently launched a bold new varietal of wine based in the Finger Lakes region.
Bravery Wines was created by Corey Christman and launched on Veterans Day with a special message he says is dedicated to our communities’ unsung heroes.
“While the label is dedicated to the (emergency service) communities, our brand is dedicated to the many heroes out there, like moms, dads, and people who are courageous.” Christman said. “The label is for all of those who are heroes; the brand is for all of us.”
Christman retired in 2012 after a 20-year career in the United States Air Force, and his label is based at the Anthony Road Wine Company (ARWC) at Penn Yan. Since 2014, Christman has observed and joined in the harvest season to get experience.
The Anthony Road Wine Company is a family owned winery founded in 1990. It is owned by Ann and John Martini and managed by their family.
Shortly after retiring from the military, Christman started producing wine in small quantities in his basement.
“It is just this passion for taking this piece of fruit that hangs on a vine and being able to convert that, grow that, transition that to a product,” Christman said.
Pursuing this dream led him across the country and he started attending Washington State University, completing in 2014 a certificate in viticulture (the study of the cultivation of grapes) and enology (the study of the end product of those grapes). The 18-month hybrid program guides prospective vitners on how to navigate the wine and grape business.
After completing his formal education, Christman wanted to start as soon as possible, but knew he needed to get more practice in the field. Utilizing the New York State Wine and Grape Foundation, he reached out to winemakers in central New York for any opportunities.
Peter Bell, a winemaker at Fox Run Vineyards, was the first and only one to answer his calls.
“He had more than the average amount of experience and maturity for a person who came in out of the blue,” Bell said.
According to Bell, Christman was very determined to be in the industry and did not have romanticized ideas of what he was getting into.
Bell introduced Christman to the man who would go on to be his mentor for years to come: Peter Becraft, head winemaker at ARWC.
“I can teach someone how to make wine, but I can’t teach someone to have passion,” Becraft said.
Christman was eager to learn and get hands-on experience and since 2014, he has trekked to Anthony Road every harvesting season. It’s part of a journey that’s taken him a long way.
“I’ve probably driven 100,000 miles in the past seven years, and that's a conservative estimate,” Christman said.
Having the certificate in hand and almost a decade of hands-on practice, Christman thought it was time to take the next step and put his brand on the bottles.
“As my knowledge increased, I had this vision of having my own label, and we were able to bring that to fruition,” Christman said.
Bravery Wines has released four wines to coincide with their Veteran’s Day launch. The wines released with their launch were a 2017 cabernet franc, a 2019 riesling, a 2019 vignoles and a riesling, chardonnay, pinot gris white blend.
“As winemakers, we hope to create very balanced wines. Wines with nothing poking out, nothing causing problems on the pallet,” Christman said.
Christman said some of the proceeds would be donated to Yellow Ribbon Fund, a charity that focuses on aiding returning servicemen and women.
“When we first thought of this wine brand, it was a no-brainer that we were going to give back to a veteran entity,” he said.
Christman is thankful for all of the people that have helped him along his journey and can not wait to see the future for the Bravery Wines.
“I'm excited about what's to come and the biggest thing I am is appreciative. I'm appreciative of the opportunity, The Martini Family, and The Anthony Road Wine Company. These things could not happen without Anthony Road or the Martini Family.”
To look at the first selection of wines available from Bravery Wines, visit www.vinoshipper.com/shop/bravery_wines to see their selection, or stop by Anthony Road Wine Company for a taste.