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Rochester Chamber Top 100: Diversified product line powers expansion

Three Brothers Wineries and Estates operates three wineries, a microbrewery and a coffeehouse on the site of a 35-acre farm near Seneca Lake in the Ontario County town of Geneva.

Owners David and Luanne Mansfield like to tout it as the place that has “something for everyone,” and to keep pace with that motto they are continually building on their product line.

The company recently invested $3 million to grow its brewery operations. Through the expansion, Three Brothers is slated to debut Red Apple Bombshell Hard Cider this month to be sold in cans on the shelves of Wegmans Food Markets Inc.

“Most wineries specialize in a certain kind of wine,” President David Mansfield said. “Then people usually pick up one bottle when they visit. I thought, ‘How can we get them to buy a case?’ That became the genesis of Three Brothers, to build a place where you could bring your brother-in-law with mom and dad and they would all find what they like.”

Using his background as the owner of the Canandaigua company he sold in 2004, Corsair Display Systems LLC, Mansfield set out to build more than a winery with tasting rooms and gift shops. He and Luanne founded Three Brothers in 2007.

He designed a different theme for each of the three wineries and brewery to create an experience for visitors. He called on the talents he used at Corsair Display, where he built food carts and kiosks for clients such as the New York Yankees and Legoland.

“That is the whole Three Brothers concept,” said Mansfield, noting there are three brothers in his family, but that is not the reason for the company name. “It’s about having three different experiences while you are here.”

Stony Lonesome Wine Cellars offers traditional viniferous wines and a view of the lake. The Passion Feet Vineyards and Wine Barn is dedicated to “hopeless romantics” and serves wine slushies. The Bagg Dare Wine Co. is accented by a pond and has a bayou-themed tasting room.

“We design a lot of what we’re doing based on data, and we learned only 25 percent of people are wine drinkers,” Mansfield said. “So that led to the birth of our brewery in 2008.”

The War Horse Brewing Co. serves not only craft ales, lagers and beers, but also hard ciders and house-made sodas.

“Having a diversified portfolio draws people in. That’s why malls work,” Mansfield said.

When Three Brothers opened a wine shop at Eastview Mall in 2014, it was the first winery in the state to make such a move, he said.

Mansfield credits his team with making the company the success that it is. Three Brothers continues to see double-digit percentage growth each year. Revenue grew 14 percent in 2014 and 17.5 percent in 2015, and he projects 17 percent for 2016.

The company grew from 14 full-time and 93 part-time employees in 2014 to 20 full-time and 98 part-time workers in 2015 to 25 full time and 107 part time today.

Justin Paolicelli, winemaker and cider maker, joined the company in 2008. His wife, Erica, is the general manager and partner.

He is a graduate of SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, where he studied plant physiology and pathology. He enjoys how Three Brothers makes inroads into uncharted territory.

“We were one of the original wineries here to switch over to screw caps,” Paolicelli said. “It keeps the oxygen out so the wine lasts much longer once it’s opened. It makes sense.” 

Another new area for Three Brothers is Iron Heart Coffee Co. Cold Brew Coffee, which is set to hit store shelves in January, selling for roughly $14 for a four pack of cans.

“We do coffee tastings just like wine tastings,” Paolicelli said. “With the cold brew there are no bitter black coffee notes. We’ve got to get it out there so people can try it.”

Mansfield said finding new things to try is part of what keeps new people coming in. He sees great potential with the coffee and the cider and continued growth of wine and craft beer.

“The Finger Lakes beverage industry is growing,” Mansfield said. “There’s no ceiling yet.”

The Rochester Chamber Top 100 program is presented by the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and KPMG LLP. Launched in 1987, it recognizes the fastest-growing private companies in Greater Rochester. The 2017 Rochester Top 100 event is slated to be held Nov. 2. For more information, go to greaterrochesterchamber.com.

Three Brothers Wineries and Estates
Three wineries, microbrewery/cidery, coffeehouse
Year Founded: 2007
Top executive: David Mansfield, president
Current employment: 25 full time, 107 part time
2016 ranking: 92
Headquarters: Geneva, Ontario County
Website: www.3brotherswinery.com

12/9/2016 (c) 2016 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.

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