Our editorial staff arrived at Washingtonville, a compact village of some 6,000 dwellers at quarter past noon. The scorching sun could have treated our sedan better, but it decided not to — the day scored the record-breaking 100 degrees exercising no shame or mercy. The town looked humble and lazy, there were a few cars, heading north, struggling through the curvy gravel road. We followed. Cleverly concealed, the road opened into a spacious estate, buried in verdure.
In 1810, a French Huguenot emigre John Jacques moved to the village to build two wine cellars. Each ceiling was built thick with two feet of brick, dug 14 feet deep and stretched 72 feet in length. They were later referred to as the “Smith” vault and the “Center” vault. By 1837, Mr. Jaques needed more land, so he kept expanding, purchasing building after building. By 1839, he fermented his first wine vintage. Those cellars, the oldest and largest in America, are still in use today.
During Prohibition, Brotherhood remained creative by re-profiling into the production of church wine. It has been noted that the clergy population in the area grew substantially during this period.
How to get there
Brotherhood winery is located at 100 Brotherhood Plaza Dr, Washingtonville, NY (2-hour car ride from Manhattan)
Sunday to Friday 11 a.m.—5 p.m.
Saturday 11 a.m.—7 p.m.
Tours and tasting — $10
Monday—Friday 11:30, 1, 2, and 3:30 p.m.
Weekends as groups gather.
Wine & Beer Festival
Saturday, July 9, 1—5 p.m.
More about the event