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Wine industry awards honor Arbor Hill’s John Brahm III, others

The late John Brahm III, founder of Arbor Hill Grapery and Winery in South Bristol, Ontario County, was honored at the Unity Awards Banquet Wednesday on the opening day of a wine industry conference in Henrietta.

Brahm, who also founded Brew And Brats, died as the result of an accident at his home in 2019, just a few days after he attended last year’s BEV NY conference. His family accepted on his behalf the Jim Trezise Lifetime Award recognizing his contributions to the industry.  The NY Wine and Grape Foundation, which presents the Unity Awards, announced that it was renaming its annual grower award for Brahm.

John H. Brahm III
John H. Brahm III

In presenting the lifetime award, Trezise said Brahm was a creative man who always had new ideas. “He had more lightbulbs in his mind than GE ever created,” he said. Brahm also was a friend, mentor and supporter to many in the Finger Lakes wine industry, Trezise said, recalling how Brahm had helped him overcome some hostile attitudes when he first arrived in the area in 1982 as director of the then-brand-new NY Wine & Grape Foundation. After working in that job for many years, Trezise moved to a national wine organization.

“We all carry a piece of him in our hearts and souls,” Trezise said.

The NYWGF also presented 10 other awards, with six of them going to businesses, people or organizations represented in the Finger Lakes region, the state’s largest wine region.

The local winners were:

  • Peter Bell, winemaker at Fox Run Vineyards on the west side of Seneca Lake, won the Jim Finkle Industry Award, which recognizes outstanding wine industry achievements not covered by other awards.
  • Boundary Breaks Vineyard, on the eastern side of Seneca Lake, won the Winery Award.
  • Hans Walter-Peterson, head of the Finger Lakes grape program for Cornell Cooperative Extension, won the Researcher Award.
  • Hunt Country Vineyards, on the western side of Keuka Lake, won the Sustainability Award.
  • Karen Aumick, of Empire Merchants North, which has facilities in Gates and the Long Island-New York City area, won the Ron Reals Distributor Award.
  • Brown Hound Downtown, a restaurant inside the Memorial Art Galley that features an all-New York wine list, won the Restaurant Award.

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