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August 21, 2007


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I knew Walter round 1972-73 and we was really a party animal. He was also a passionate advocate for his family's legacy and for the wines of the Finger Lakes terroir, whether they were hybrids or vinifera. He was extremely proud of the art on his labels...and he was a grand drinking companion. A wonderful, passionate, slightly melancholy big teddy bear of a guy. He would have approved of the merriment at his winery but only if it was accompanied by a commensurate appreciation for what it takes to bring forth such wine. A hell of a lot of work.

HE was a party animal. I am not the world's best proofreader at the best of times and not after a bottle of wine.

Here's a last glass for Walter.

Great to hear from a Walter fan. I grew up in Corning and one still hears stories about Walter Taylor from various folks who knew him or had the opportunity to party down with him. The whole Coca-Cola debacle really allowed him to shine in an anti-corporate, fun-loving role that is fun to recollect!

Walter Taylor did not make wine from vinifera or native varieties -- it was all hybrids when he was in charge. His first winemaker, Hermann Wiemer, hated hybrids and the wine they made, but could not persuade Walter to so much as even let him make a test batch.

As Walter's management role faded in Bully Hill after his accident, the company started using other grapes to expand the volume and variety of its production.

John, thanks for adding the historical perspective on how the production at Bully Hill has expanded to include a huge variety of grapes. Most of my information has come from recent personal experience and any research I could pull together from random sources that speak about the winery in print or online.

I know that Wiemer started off at Bully Hill, and I've always wondered how a man who is dedicated to vinifera started out at a Finger Lakes winery that has seemingly never offered vinifera as an exclusive focus.

The role of hybrids in the recent history of the Finger Lakes and their various propopents and detractors is something I'd like to know more about. I can see how individuals may have been tempted by the winter-hardiness of hybrids, although many of these grapes really don't hit the palate as well as most vinifera!

I wasn't around to witness most of these developments, so please correct me at will!

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