Walter S. Taylor (1931––2001), a home-grown hero of Finger Lakes viticulture, pioneered the movement toward independent estate wine production in upstate New York. Although his family name was a prominent one in the wine industry of the 1960s, Walter's disputes with family business practices led him to set up his own winery, Bully Hill vineyards, by 1970. There, he committed himself to using hybrid-variety, locally grown grapes to produce bona fide New York State wine. His was the first independent winery to be established after Prohibition, and he advocated for legislation which allowed other farmers to bottle and sell their own vintages. Walter trumpeted an irreverent approach to the old winemaking establishment, particularly after his family's business brought legal action against him for using the Taylor name on his own bottle labels. To protest the oppression of the Taylor company corporation, Walter staged parades, promoted his own renegade image and that of Guilt Free (his pet goat), and insisted that wine must be produced with care and drunk with cheer. Walter's own artwork decorates Bully Hill bottles, and the winery shares his full-bodied spirit with thousands of visitors to this day.

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