Vinny Aliperti has tackled many roles in life winemaker, husband, father and Peace Corps volunteer among them.
In August 2007, he added “winery owner” to the list by purchasing Billsboro Winery in Geneva. The tasting room, located in a 19th-century post-and-beam barn, is now pouring seven wines and selling local artisan breads and cheeses.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, Aliperti has carried on as head winemaker and operations manager at Atwater Estate Vineyards in Hector, Schuyler County.
"The whole purpose of working with people is to see their success," Atwater owner Ted Marks says. "That's what people did for me when I was younger.
"All of us look up to him. He brings a young, advanced look
at winemaking.... Now that he's a winery owner, as well as a winemaker, he understands all that goes into doing this."
Aliperti sees no conflict.
“He (Marks) feels this is a win-win situation for him,” says Aliperti, who has worked at Atwater since 2000. “This Billsboro property can also benefit Atwater, in a cross-Seneca Lake reciprocity of business.
“We’re not really competing with each other, because we’re literally on the opposite ends of the lake.”
Aliperti started down the path to buying the winery in 2006, shortly before the death of Billsboro founder Bob Pool, a noted viticulture professor at Cornell University.
After taking a closer look at the property’s 26 mostly wooded acres, Aliperti says he had no doubts about signing on the dotted line.
“The opportunity seemed too good to pass up,” he says. “The location is ideal; the farm is really quite special, and the people who are visiting are really quite enamored with it.”
Aliperti’s wife, Kim, who met Vinny in Tunisia while they both served as Peace Corps volunteers in the early 1990s, is in charge of luring visitors with special events. In 2009, the winery held its second annual Plein Air Painting Festival.
Even though the winery is young, Aliperti says, he’s certain about what he wants to convey to the public.
“We want people to be able to drop out (when visiting)…and get away from the regular rigamarole and really feel connected to the wine and the place,” he said.
“I think people can really feel at home there.”
Billsboro Winery, 4760 West Lake Road in Geneva, is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday from December to April. It is open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily from May to November. It is closed Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Phone: (315) 789-9538. Web: www.billsborowinery.com. Tasting fee: $2. Wheelchair-accessible.
By Sheila Livadas for www.fingerlakeswine.com.
Vinny Aliperti pours samples to visitors at Billsboro Winery in Geneva.