Historic New York Winery Burns

Jan 10, 1999

On Thursday night, a fire destroyed portions of the oldest continuously operated winery in the United States. Brotherhood Winery, in Washingtonville in New York's Hudson Valley, was founded in 1839 and managed to survive Prohibition by producing sacramental wine for churches.

The fire, (which lasted more than seven hours), destroyed the winery's banquet hall and sales room, according to the Washingtonville Police Department. The factory, offices and other buildings on the property were unscathed.

The fire began last Thursday at about 8:40 p.m. Firefighters from all over New York's Orange County were called to the scene. The blaze was finally extinguished at about 4 a.m. on Friday. Orange County fire investigators were still on the scene late Friday afternoon, but the fire had not been labeled suspicious at that time.

The winery has changed ownership three times in its history, most recently in 1987. The current winemaster is Chilean native Cesar Baeza. Brotherhood produces 19 types of wines, including Chardonnay, Cabernet, Pinot Noir, Seyval Blanc, a late-harvest Riesling, sparkling wine and seasonal flavored wines.

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