Brotherhood Winery

Useful Information

Location: 100 Brotherhood Plaza Drive, Washingtonville, Orange County.
Open: JAN to MAR Fri, Sat, Sun 11-17.
APR to DEC Sun-Fri 11-17, Sat 11-18.
Fee: Adults USD 10.
Classification: SubterraneaCellar
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours:  
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Robert Bedford (2014): The Story of Brotherhood, America's Oldest Winery, Flint Mine Press (24. Juni 2014), ISBN-10: 0982520859, ISBN-13: 978-0982520857. amazon
Address: Brotherhood Winery, P.O. Box 190, Washingtonville, NY 10992, Tel:+1-845-496-3661. E-mail:
Reservations: Juan Sanchez, Tel:+1-845-496-3661-12. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1810 French Huguenot emigre Jean Jaques purchases land and plants grapes.
1837 purchases another plot in Washingtonville to plant another vineyard and build the Mansion.
1839 winery founded and first cellars dug.
189? sold to Jesse and Edward Emerson, New York City wine merchants.
1921 begin of prohibition, purchased by Louis Farrell who sold wine for religious ceremonies throughout prohibition.
1933 end of prohibition, first winery and cellar tours.
1987 purchased by a partnership of businessmen.
1999 disastrous fire.
2005 restored by a partnership of three winemaking families from Chile, Baeza, Castro, and Chadwick



Brotherhood Winery is the oldest winery in the U.S.A., established in 1839. It is located in the Hudson River Valley, 70 km north of the city New York. The vast system of wine cellars below was excavated by hand in the late 19th century. The crested vaults of the cellar contain more than 200 oak casks containing some of the oldest vintages in the U.S.A..

As always with winery tours, the visit to the cellar is intended to make you thirsty, and the free wine is intended to make you buy wine. While the winery looks like a factory from the road, once inside you see the historic buildings of the shop, restaurant, and mansion. The tasting takes place in a renovated stone building from the early days. The Grand Salon, an early 19th century stone building with exposed wooden beams, is used for receptions. The antique wrought iron chandeliers are hanging from the towering ceiling and the wooden floors are hand crafted. It is also called the Grand Monarque Hall and is big enough for elegant weddings, private parties, and corporate banquets.

The winery was founded by a French Huguenot emigre named Jean Jaques. His family operated it for almost sixty years. They sold it at the turn of the century to Jesse and Edward Emerson, New York City wine merchants. The Emersons were Finger Lakes vinters and used the high quality wine to improve a blend of wine from an organization called The Brotherhood of New Life. This experiment in utopian communal living in the Hudson Valley was namesake to the winery. But they sold it with the begin of the american prohibition in 1921. The new owner Louis Farrell sold wine for religious ceremonies throughout prohibition. As far as we know there were never more priests in the area than between 1921 and 1933.

Louis Farrell and his wife were also the first who understood that it was necessary to make guided tours for day trippers from New York. This way they became known and sold more wine. They started conducting cellar tours and wine tasting after the prohibition.

The newest era of the winery started in 1987 when they sold the winery to a partnership of businessmen. One of them was Cesar Baeza, a master blender, wine educator, winery consultant, and prominent winemaker from Chile. After the devastating fire in 1999 he formed a new partnership with two winemaking families from Chile to renovate and modernize the winery.