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Merle Visits The Brotherhood Winery, And Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame

Brotherhood Winery, in Washingtonville, has certainly changed over the years. Although I was first there in 1967 it goes way back to 1839. It's actually America's oldest winery way before California and then owned by a European guy by the name of John Jaques. Prohibition was not a problem because they were producing sacramental wines. Family business until 1987 when Cesar Baeza converted Brotherhood into a premier winery in the Hudson Valley. Cesar, who was from Chile, joined with some Chilean wine makers and now imports the wines to add to his own. Pinto Noir, Riesling and Chardonnay grapes.

Having a limited amount of time to spend there, I went right for the tasting. Unusual one was the dry Riesling as most are sweet and yes, they do have the sweet version. Specialty wines were pretty interesting. A few honey wines such as one made in an Ethiopian tradition, a May wine with strawberry juice and woodruff, and a red wine with ginseng root.

To add to the whole winery experience is a new restaurant called Vinum Cafe, which will open some time in April. Upscale French cuisine, tapas bar, and terrace area for groups.

It's off! To the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Goshen. Can't believe there's no admission charge. You get to see the history of harness racing first with a walk through of "stables". There are a few movies. One is on the history of harness racing and the other is one on motion pictures that feature harness racing. Remember Lucy trying to haul a horse up the stairs before Ricky sees it? There are a whole bunch of hands on things to explore. You can judge a race or even call the race via a script. After you record it, the race plays back with your voice. How about taking your picture while you sit on a the cab? Another movie! This one is a simulator. Wind will blow while you sit in your seat and experience what it's like to be in a race...and it's in 3-D no less. Watch out for those horse shoes begin flung towards you!

As for the Hall of Fame portion, not only is there a long history of participants but also the hall of famers are displayed with a small statue of themselves. Oh yeah. There are two walls of Curier and Ives prints as harness racing was important to them. You can get posters in the gift shop. The whole thing is great for both kids and adults. But that's not all! The track is right outside. Harness racing during June on Saturdays. Otherwise you can watch some "practicing" as they work out.

 By Merle Exit

Getting There:

To join a wine tour and the collection of wines available at the Brotherhood Winery go to

To learn more about the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame visit

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