Tag Archives: Winery

Wild Brute Winery in Arkport-Going Rogue off the Trails

Wild Brute Winery
Wild Brute Winery

This summer, I was a part of the Wine Blogger Conference –this year located in the Finger Lakes region, or my back yard. I felt like I needed to go because it was so close to home…however, I unexpectedly ran into some incredible local winemakers that were doing things their own way. I made a point of it to explore this back yard of mine in earnest! Arkport, NY just kept coming up, over and over. There are incredibly interesting things happening off the lakes, about an hour away from Corning, NY.  I took the ride, and it was totally worth it.

The Lineup at Wild Brute
The Lineup at Wild Brute

The French were the first to use the term ‘Gagariste’ in terms of winemaking–these were the mavericks, making wines off the grid and outside of a very regulated system. Although they were not in the system, the French had to agree that the small batch, artisanal products coming from these tiny producers were interesting, and sometimes ground breaking. Justin Recktenwald and his startup, Wild Brute Winery in Arkport, NY, fit the definition of garagiste winemaking perfectly–right here in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate NY. Justin has the pedigree -Graduated Cornell Viticulture program, worked and learned under Dr. Constantine Frank sparkling masters, and has travelled extensively to learn, and apply the knowledge at home.

Justin, me, Kyleigh, Wendy, and Mark--the Wild Brute Crew
Justin, me, Kyleigh, Wendy, and Mark–the Wild Brute Crew

Wild Brute Winery (follow the link for their website) is a family affair. Justin Recktenwald is the owner and winemaker, along with a crew of many-fiancé Kyleigh, mom Wendy, dad Mark, and brother Cody all have a hand in the production process. This family knows farming, and Arkport, and Justin’s knowledge and winemaking skill has turned family farm property into a wine bar and production facility. Currently, aside from publicized weekend events and music shows, the Arkport tasting room is by appointment (although during the nicer weather there is an outside open tasting bar.)

Wine pairing with chocolates
Wine pairing with chocolates

I was invited up to do a tasting, and I really can’t say enough about the feeling I left with. I brought my husband, and we were met by Justin, his family, and a beautiful spread of artisanal chocolate bonbons from Angelica’s Sweet Shop-about fifteen minutes away! I was already a fan of Wild Brute’s 2013 Unfiltered Cabernet Franc…but this time, we got to sample the entire lot…and it was quite a showing of what’s happening beyond the wine trails on the lake shores!



*Wild Brute 2014 Chardonnay–Bright acidity and a balanced oak finish, vanilla, caramel, green apple, smooth mouthfeel. Grab it if you see it!

*Wild Brute 2013 Unfiltered Cabernet Franc–Dark plum color, red fruit, figs, warm oak, light warm acidity. One of my favorite Cabs in the FLX…seriously. It’s special because it’s so different from anything else.

*Wild Brute 2013 Unfiltered Single Barrel Reserve–Super Limited, dark jammy red fruit, a bit younger bite of acidity. Gorgeous dark plum color, lasting finish. Oak adds a warm rounded depth without overpowering the fruit.

*Wild Brute 2013 Off-Dry Riesling–Bright nose, floral, pear, peach, honey, green apple. Light acidity is balanced with hint of sweetness and a lasting honey finish

*Barrel tastings of WB Hard Apple Cider (YUM), wild ferment, heirloom apples.

If you see a bottle of Wild Brute, grab it. If you’re headed through Horse Heads/Corning and want a bottle, they have a limited stock in the general area. This coming spring, I forsee LOTS of events starting up through the he summer at the Wild Brute wine bar–here’s their FaceBook Wild Brute Business Page–Wild Brute Winery on FaceBook–go give them a Like, and know what events are coming up…music, wine, and local flavor, Finger Lakes style…off the lakes! Make an afternoon drive that you won’t regret! #goingrogue

Wild Brute Wines
Wild Brute Wines

Harvest in the Finger Lakes 2015

Fall in the FLX
Fall in the FLX

I’ve been off the grid! Gentle readers, sometimes business takes it all out of you for a bit, and quite frankly being business owners was rough for a patch. I’m happy to report things are currently fantastic at our tattoo shop, and I’ve been able to once again turn my attentions towards the fields and this year’s harvest bounty.

It’s finally October first, which means lots of the grapes have already been harvested and pressed around the Finger Lakes, and one of the busiest times of year is here! Tasting rooms will be extremely lively on beautiful fall weekends, so if you’re visiting, be civil and expect crowds of other tasters. The good news is, the views are heading towards incredible – enjoy, and don’t be in a rush. The Finger Lakes are all about taking a breath and enjoying some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Pick some apples, peep the fall leaves, hike a waterfall, taste some locally made wines, ciders, beers, spirits…chocolates….cheese…

Beauties in the sunlight
Beauties in the sunlight

Harvest 2015 is in full swing, with lots of grape picking, pressing, and cellar happenings currently in the works, area wide. My Instagram feed is currently full of grapes being pressed, yeasts going in and fermentation starting, and lots of rain gear the last twenty four hours! It’s been dry and warm the last two weeks, so many growers got their grapes in before rains started in earnest. Our local weather called for over three inches of rain into today, with more over the weekend. Hopefully it dries out so that everyone gets their remaining crops in!

It’s also fun to see the apple farmers harvesting for their upcoming vintages of hard ciders. The movement is growing nationwide,  and the Finger Lakes area is at the center of high quality, heirloom farmed fruits, classically made, dry to off-dry, sometimes fermented in bottle, hard apple and pear ciders. This coming weekend (October 3rd and 4th) is the Apple Festival in Ithaca, with FLX Cider Week also kicking off. I’ll be attending some local happenings on that front, so stay tuned! October is going to be fun, and fall is the best time of year to be in this area, in my humble BoozyWife opinion…that’s why we tend to stay local until the snow flies again….

Enjoy the View! NY Fingerlakes Region- Seneca Lake

imageWe are we are often asked why we moved to the ‘country’ from NYC, almost eight years ago this month…..family, lifestyle, and views like this of Seneca Lake from the wine tasting bar at Lamoreaux Landing on Seneca Lake in the Fingerlakes Region of Upstate New York…those reasons are why we have made this place home.


BoozyLife on the Road in France!#twithaca #Pertuis #AIXProvence #Corsica #HolidayInk5

I love this view...and this man.
I love this view…and this man.
Holiday Ink 5
Holiday Ink 5

BoozyLife is on the road in Southern France! I have amazing pictures and video of the weekend we were invited to from Holiday Ink 5 as well as from some of our travels through Pertuis, AIX Provence, and now Corsica on the Mediterranean! Thank you to David de Pertuis, his wife Stéphanie, and his beautiful and gracious family for hosting us in such comfort and hospitality. Truly, we feel so blessed and can’t wait to see you all in NYC this fall!

Pertuis with friends!
Pertuis with friends!

My wifi availability is spotty at the moment, and the adventure has provided way more than I could squish into one post anyway….so there will be a few on this journey once we return to the States. Currently, we’re visiting friends at the studio Generation Tattoo in Ajaccio, Corsica–incredible local farmers markets, and a view of the port that will never leave me. Enjoy a few GoPro shots and keep your eyes open for more posts in the coming week! See you soon, Ithaca—

The goods
The goods

BoozyLife TV IS LIVE!

So, in case we haven’t met, I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I get frustrated REALLY easily, have a hands-on approach to learning that borders on aggressive, and I have a tendency to throw it all out and start over–rather than try and make it work. All bad things I’m trying to work on. Life lesson alert!

On the first day of 2015, me and the man took the GoPro out for its first shoot. We had a blast driving up the lake, and excitedly got home to edit the footage. Imported the video clips, started editing….and promptly crashed the Mac due to lack of memory. I will be buying an external hard drive SOON.

In the mean time, we loaded the video clips (now a much lower resolution) onto my iPad and I’ve been playing with app editors until the needed memory upgrade. It’s not perfect, but you get the idea where I’m headed…and if I can just get over getting frustrated, I’m sure that I will get a lot further ahead in this boozy life….cheers!



My Last Tattoo for 2014: BoozyLife

Ready for round 2
Ready for round 2 and shading

Well, it seems appropriate that my last tattoo sitting this year will be with my husband, in our shop, and will complete the fancy lettering above my knees–BoozyLife. Why appropriate? Lefty traveled to Europe, Korea, and Japan this year, almost exclusively known for his fancy lettering. Now, I will finally have some of it on me to show off! Plus, I’m pretty invested in my new career path of beverage aficionado, so why not? Beverage aficionado, tattooed lady, dog mom. Sweet!

(L-R) Client, Norm, Big Sleeps, Lefty Bastard, Tin-Tin, and Boog Star, Paris 2014
(L-R) Client, Norm, Big Sleeps, Lefty Bastard, Tin-Tin, and Boog Star, Paris 2014

I’ve met some interesting wine writers and professionals that are intrigued by tattoos, and wino tattoo artists that want to tour wineries and distilleries. I’m looking forward to bringing my two favorite things together for another round. Stay tuned, there should be a YouTube channel coming soon…there will be things you need to SEE, not just read about. Trust me, kids.

So, what’s on for 2015? More Finger Lakes wine and spirit recognition, lots more travel, more tattoos….and who knows…who would buy a BoozyLife wine bag? I’m thinking it’s time to start a BoozyLife revolution 😉


#DrinkLocal #Wine Week–October 12, 2014 Kickoff #TasteCamp


Lucky Row 13 :)
Lucky Row 13 🙂

This past weekend, I went out of my normal local zone and a few hours away into the Hudson River Valley of New York. October 12th started Drink Local Wine Week, (DrinkLocalWine.com ) and a few hours downstate is still a local ride for yours truly! In honor of Drink Local Wine, I was lucky enough to participate in TasteCamp 2014 hosted by Lenn Thompson (of New York Cork Report) and Carlo DeVito (author of over two dozen books, and owner of Hudson-Chatham Winery). There will be tons more about this jam packed weekend I was a part of, but just this little jaunt made me rethink a few things. What is local? And, how far away are you willing to go to see what your state is really producing?


Recharge your soul.
Recharge your soul.

My drive was less than five hours south and east (still pretty local in my book), but it was eye-opening to say the least. I had lived in NYC (less than fifty miles away), and never really taken the time to adventure up. Don’t make that mistake if you’re in the city! I saw things at a new distillery that had me in absolute awe. Even if you’re not a BoozyLife wine nerd like me, you will find a spot to sit in nature, listening to birds while watching the leaves drop. Recharge your soul for a bit – the city drains your energy.

Colors of fall in the Finger Lakes-my favorite
Colors of fall in the Finger Lakes-my favorite

Lefty and I travel quite a bit, and it always surprises me that the locals sometimes don’t know about local wineries and distilleries in their own back yards. They often research them just to take ME for a visit, oddly enough, then end up really enjoying the time spent touring close to home. As a lifelong New Yorker, I’m almost ashamed of myself to say this was my first real trip to the Hudson Valley to sample local wines and spirits.

Be Still my heart
Be Still my heart

I had no idea how many incredible, young, up-and-comers were in the area, and I will most certainly be back soon. The area shares a passion for the process that I often see in young, new wine makers in the Finger Lakes.

Finger Lakes represent!
Finger Lakes represent!

The Hudson Valley area wineries often work with Cornell, as well as with Finger Lakes grape growers, to help with growing issues and cold weather concerns. There is a decent amount of overlap within our wine communities, which is how my now very Upstate self ended up on this tour. I took a few bottles from the Finger Lakes, my back yard, to share with the other writers and wine makers. A few favorites from Boundary Breaks, Goose Watch, and Keuka Spring went along and were a small addition to the amazing spread of BYOB bottles for our final dinner.

Hudson-Chatham Winery
Hudson-Chatham Winery

I am very fortunate to have had the introduction to another incredible local wine area, from one of it’s best winery owners! Carlo’s passion for his area translates easily, as does the pride he feels in the drink local movement. I can’t wait to go on another trip to NYC– there will be a few stops in the Valley, no mistake! Friends and tattooers all want to hear more about this amazing distillery we toured…it was really a special place. More soon, and in the mean time–what are you drinking local this week?

World’s LARGEST Virtual Riesling Tasting is TONIGHT!

FLX Wine on FB

Don’t forget –TONIGHT is the worlds largest virtual Riesling Tasting, to celebrate the release of the 2013 Riesling vintage of the Finger Lakes! Finger Lakes Riesling Hour is officially from 7-9pm on social media. Don’t miss out–all the instructions on how to join in below! See you there

FLX Winery (and Wienery) guide in Edible Manhattan

My Italian Sausage with mustard n all the fixins
My Italian Sausage with mustard n all the fixins

Our hearts go out to all in the Napa area that suffered damage last night. Winemakers have a tight bond with Mother Nature, even at her most cruel.

Edible Manhattan listed Ten Wineries to visit and drink at in the Finger Lakes (and also included our favorite Wienery as well!) what do you think of the places they chose? Who did they miss? And have you tried out FLX Wienery yet?!? If not, get your carnivorous ass OUT THERE! It seriously rocks…and they now have beer & wine to go with their gourmet in house made dogs, brats, and burgers…did I mention poutine? Yeah, they got it like that.

Canada, Coast to Coast, and back to Upstate NY with Lefty & Boogstar



The journey from Ithaca to Vancouver started at Good Point Tattoo in Oakville, as Canada trips often do. The menfolk took off from Toronto, and landed safely in Vancouver for a magical week of tattoos, artwork, nature, and wild energy. Plus, lots and lots of smoked salmon, seafood, and a ferry ride to Vancouver Island. (Follow the link for a flipagram Cory created Vancouver trip!). The reason the artists were all there was for the Vancouver Tattoo and Culture Show, and Eddie and Boog had a Lettering seminar to teach. The weekend featured talented artists in a beautiful setting, sure to recharge and energize.








My husband was really hard pressed to leave BC- he truly loves the area, and every trip he threatens to stay until forced to leave. He had other obligations coming up, and the Roc City Tattoo Expo forced him back on the plane home. He brought Boog with him for a quick stop in Ithaca before leaving in the morning for Rochester, so I had the chance to cook for a couple of world travelers. What did I feed them? Husband caught steelhead trout with browned butter, fiddleheads, wild rice, and berry shortcake finale. I served a few bottles of my favorite Rieslings from Silver Thread Vineyard and Forge Cellars, and was lucky enough to get a gift of a Riesling Ice Wine–thanks Jay!!!


After a good night’s sleep, we were off to Rochester for the Roc City Tattoo Expo 2014. I love conventions that are close enough to commute to! The weekend was fantastic as always, and I scored a pair of beautiful new Kali blood wood earrings that I’m over the moon for from Dorje Adornments. Seriously, feel like a rockstar in these….


The show was crazy busy, and our booth was a fun time the entire weekend. The artists were really enjoying the vibes…




Boog was gracious enough to take Lefty and I out to dinner in Rochester on Saturday night. We were recommended to try 2vine, a Rochester staple in farm to table dining. It was great to see the list of local farms sourced, including Lively Run Dairy. Having said that, I was VERY disappointed in the wine list, which had NO local wines whatsoever except for a Dr. Frank Brut (really?!? ). I settled on a sparkling cocktail of brut and Pom juice. As for our meal, we shared a selection of entrees; duck, lamb, mussels, salmon, crab cakes, and a few sides, one that came out of the kitchen in awkward timing (risotto was lovely, but was served as the dinner was almost over). All of the food was flavorful, and the mussels and salmon were favorites. Granted, kitchen issues were minor after 10pm on Saturday night, and things were winding down. It was a quiet evening that we all needed and enjoyed. Thank you Roc City, we’ll see you again next year!