Bunkerhill Vineyard and Winery


Over spring break, I had the opportunity to visit a mom and pop vineyard/winery in Parrish, Florida. Larry and Lenora Woodham both run Bunkerhill Vineyard and Winery. This establishment has been open for over 20 years. The Woodham’s are the sole owners and built their land from the ground up. This couple was very humble, gracious, uncensored, and happy to inform us on how the establishment runs, and everything we need to know about the wine industry. The Woodham’s opened up our eyes to sustainability in the beverage and hospitality industry.


The Steel Wine Cave

Firstly upon arrival Mr.Woodham brought us into the retail wine cave. In this cave were bottles ready for sale, and a tasting area. Mr.Woodham first broke down the wine laws to us that he had posted freely on the wall for customers to see. All of their wine is grown, produced, vinted and, bottled on the establishment. They gave us a keynote when reading wine labels, to look for those words (In the United States). Not only do they produce grape wine, but they produce wine from local fruits and vegetables. Only    3% of their fruits are outsourced. Due to them making wine from whole fresh fruit, they put natural on all of their wine bottles except for grape wines, which it is illegal. Also on their wine label includes the vintage year and various titles of local animals.

Tinted bottles of Rose Wine named after a wildlife species, the Country Cat.

Though at Bunkerhill they do various fruit wines, they do specialize in their grape wine. The only grape variety that they use is the Muscadine grape also known as vitis rotundifolia. According to Crfg, the muscadine grape is native to southeastern United States.These grapes naturally have a thicker skin that can handle this AVA’s naturally maritime climate. In Florida they are surrounded by many lakes which moderates the heat. Florida does get some rain but when it is not enough, they use drip irrigation, with the help of solar panels according to their site. The Woodham’s informed us that harvest for them is in early august. In the specific time that we visited, the vines were just waking up from dormancy. We asked the Woodham’s about pests and how they control it. All of their practices are organic and they are also sustainable. They mentioned their main pests are racoons, whom with their hands can damage the trained vines. Therefore thy capture them unharmfully, and release them into wildlife.

The Woodham’s vinify their wines in a carboy glass inert vessel. This is done because eventually steel releases chemicals into wine and, oak barrels are very porous and unsustainable in their opinion. I inquired about the temperature of the wine cave. Mr.Whoodam said that they do not refrigerate their wine cave because they prefer their wine to be at the temperatures of the Earth. The wine case was made out of steel. The interior is made from storm damaged trees that keeps the cave from getting too warm. Only when completely necessary they use refrigeration, just to keep the wines from being too warm. As far as their sparkling wine, they prefer to do it the traditional method. According to the Society of Wine Educators, the traditonal method originated in France and is the most pricey way to sparkle wine. As usual they make their base wine in a carboy, then for the second fermentation, they do it in 750 mL bottles (which are 100% recycled from returning customers), and riddle the bottle, disgorge it, and reserve it for at least a year. Their base wines are also reserved for minimum one year in a carboy. After taking a tour of the Wine Cave, we went back to the tasting room/ retail shop and got to analyze some wines. We also had the chance to wax bottles. I didn’t get to taste but Massiah did. She tasted a sparkling red, and white. Also she got to taste a blueberry and mango wine. Ms.Lenora Woodham assisted with the wine tasting and was very knowledgeable. She even paired some of their homemade jam to pair with one of their dry wines.

Overall the experience was amazing and i’m very thankful to the Woodhams for being very informative and open.

Myself, in the process of waxing a wine bottle.

The vines here are just waking up from dormancy.

Works Cited


Bunker Hill Vineyard and Winery, retrieved from http://www.bunkerhillvineyard.com/Home.php

Muscadine Grape, retrieved from https://www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/muscadinegrape.html

Society of Wine Educators, Certified Specialist of Wine Study Guide. 2018, Print.

Thirst Wine Merchants, Park Slope


On the quiet strip of Greene Avenue in Park Slope, Brooklyn, I took a step into a hole in the wall wine shop. Now don’t be mistaken, Thirst Wine Merchants is a humble wine retail store but, it doesn’t at all lackluster. Thankfully the manager at Thirst, Noah, was enthusiastic and supportive of my learning experience. Noah let me roam around and was open to many questions. As I explored the store I recognized that Thirst Wine has some weaknesses but mostly positive attributes.

Initially when you walk in, it was clear you had to study wine to understand the order in which wines were displayed yet, it was still slightly confusing for me. I noticed I was looking for some PDO’s and DOCG’s to recognize where certain wines were derived from yet I couldn’t find any. After a while of roaming I finally asked Noah in what order was the retail shop organized. The shop is organized by country so from France to the New World, and from the New World  to Portugal and New Zealand. Most of Thirst’s Wines were designated from France. French wine occupied almost half of the store. That can be a disadvantage if you came in looking for a wider variety you wouldn’t get that here. However after speaking with Noah, he told  me that the ethics of Thirst is to source sustainably and organically. Being that viticulture and vineyard maintenance is expensive, many vineyards don’t practice organic growth. Organic practices can be expensive on their own, as well as risking product loss from harmful pests. This is the reason why this particular wine shop’s selection is precise. Not many vineyards fit their qualifications. This is an attribute to wine culture because it supports sustainability and small wine businesses. Also as a result of supporting small businesses, most of the European wines aren’t under PDO or PGI at this retail shop. However, with an educated manager like Noah, it thankfully became easier to understand. I was amazed by Noah knowing the in’s and out’s of the shop so I asked him how did he learn about wine culture and he introduced me to the WWOOF program (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms). Prior to working at Thirst, Noah was a loyal customer there. Being inspired by their organic wines, he decided to study them himself  through this program. Luckily Noah was placed in a Vineyard in Italy and worked alongside amazing farmers who were generous in helping him understand viticulture more thoroughly. Now as manager at Thirst, he continues to pay it forward in organic culture.

This is a Sparkling White Wine from The Czech Republic. Pet Nat, the producer, used Malvasia grapes from the region of Moravia.








This is a Pinot Noir from New Zealand in the region of Martinborough. I did not know much about New Zealand nor it’s regions. This red wine comes from the producer Cambridge Road Vineyard and goes for 44$












This is a Muscat sparkling wine from Australia. I thought it was interesting because it had a lot of sediment at the bottom. The Manager informed me that some fine filtration practices aren’t organic so sustainable wineries leave that step out. It adds additional texture to the wine.

Thirst Wine didn’t have many signs or shelf talkers so I decided to choose a wine that was meant to catch the eye. This German wein from Rheingau is a Pradiskat wine. It’s level is Spatlese. This bottle goes for up to 50$ on the market and is a hard find.