By John Vogan and Kristen Tomkowid
Scott Bronstein tasted his first wine at the age of 13 during his uncle’s wedding in Sonoma, Calif. At that moment, with his senses piqued among the gorgeous vineyards, his passion for the wine industry began.
Bronstein, now 25, officially opened Barnstormer Winery in Rock Stream, NY with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on October 4. The operation has been a year in the making and first opened its doors in September.
The Finger Lakes region is home to over 200 wineries, and that is a challenge Barnstormer faces. However, Bronstein hopes his organic and homegrown approach to winemaking will attract people, especially younger consumers, to his winery.
Kyle Knapton, tasting room manager at Barnstormer, specifically highlights one of Barnstormer’s specialty wines: Ecstasy, a semi-sparkling sweet red blend that pairs well with desserts.
“I’ve described it to younger people as Twizzler-flavored Pop Rocks,” said Knapton. “It’s a candy wine. I definitely recommend it for parties or making a really nice sparkling Sangria out of.”
A historical inspiration fused with a more youthful atmosphere is one way he says will set them apart from competitors.
The 1800’s barn used to be home to the Arcadian Estate Winery. Since it closed and had a rundown appearance, Bronstein decided to give the place a much-needed facelift.
Bronstein’s mother came up with the new name for the winery. Barnstormers were entertainment pilots from the early 20th century. Some were daredevilish stunt pilots, while others would sell plane rides on their flights across the county.
Since their opening, around 200-250 people come in on Saturdays to partake in tastings and buy wine.
This past weekend marked the busiest time for wineries in the Finger Lakes region with products from the previous harvest season ready for tasting, said Knapton.
“We want to be fun and laid back, but we also want to make good wine,” said Knapton. “We don’t want to be bad wine that’s just a fun place to come. We want to do all those things, which is ambitious, but so far so good.”
Barnstormer offers twelve wines in their tasting room; a sampling of five wines costs $3.