LACKAWAXEN TWP. - Inspired by their love for wine and a desire to educate many about the beverage, Rob Kobrzynski and his wife Christine Pucciarello opened Three Hammers Winery Memorial Day weekend.
Set in an 1820 farmhouse on Welcome Lake Road near Hawley, the couple expanded upon their interest so they could share their “passion” as a way to partake in the “unique and fun” industry that will allow them to meet many, said Kobrzynski who is a graphic designer and the owner of Lake Art in Greentown.
The passion, Kobrzynski explained is about having a venue that is unique to the area, while also offering “good quality wine” that he hopes customers will love. An additional aspect is the “experience” that can occur on the 15 acre property that offers vineyards, a pond, trails, outdoor seating and was once a garage, but long before known as the “Whitehall Farmhouse” owned by the three Hammer brothers.
To many, the property is known as Whitehall Corners, so the couple planned to pay their respects to the brothers who built the farm and worked on it throughout their lives with a smilier name. Due to a winery from California with a comparable name, they later decided on the name Three Hammers Winery.
With a range of wines available, Kobrzynski said to make Three Hammers its own, they will be serving six different varietals, including three white and three red wines that will include a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Pinot Noir that will be released in the fall. Once some juices from Virginia are received, Three Hammers Winery will have their own Chardonel, Vidal Blanc and Traminette as well.
While he wants people to enjoy the wine, Kobrzynski also hopes to open some pallets by teaching people about the wines, when they visit Three Hammers Winery. Often times, Kobrzynski has found that many people believe they only like one type, but now, since he is familiar with the wines and knows what foods they go with, he is ready to share his knowledge so people can try the new varietals that come in a range of flavors.
Before the doors to Three Hammers Winery opened, Kobrzynski along with his father Chester and long-time friend Dave Kellstrom did all of the woodwork and detailing in the barn, that he described as being “rustic chic.” All of the wood used is recycled, as Kobrzynski acquired them from Gettysburg to Lancaster because he felt that would enhance the “historical aspect” of the barn and property. Completing the work with his father is something he will “cherish forever,” since they built a tasting counter and more that is set inside. Kellstrom, Kobrzynski said was “instrumental” in helping him with his new venture.
Although the couple will not be opening a restaurant, Kobrzynski said they will try to inform customers of foods that pair well with the varietals, because although “wine is great on its own,” he also believes it is “food friendly.”
Winemaking, simply Kobrzynski said is a science since its about a “balance” of acidity and sugar, while not having too much of either. At the winery, there are stainless steel tanks, that are able to produce 4,000 cases a year. Currently, with the doors just opening, about 500 cases will be where the business starts this summer.
Of their wines, they each require different aging periods with a Marquette currently being served, aged in an oak barrel for nine to 12 months. By being in the barrels for so long, Kobrzynski said there is then an “oaky flavor” to the wine. The process is long, and since the wines vary, some whites age in stainless steel tanks, but everything depends on the winemaker’s decision.
Since grapes are the key ingredient in wine, grapes from near and as far away as California and Washington state will be sourced for Three Hammers’s wines. Supporting local farmers as well as farmers from afar, who are known for growing “phenomenal fruit” is important to make the best wines and so, the “quality of fruit” is essential since it will be fermented, processed and stored to age said Kobrzynski.
As an assistant winemaker, Kobrzynski said he is ready to learn from Hillary Gary, the winemaker at Three Hammers Winery. Gary who started in the field in 2010, said she wanted to do something that was “hands on and creative” and so, she later found every bottle tells a story, with there being a “uniqueness” to each that attracts her to the field.
Gary said she believes winemaking to be “challenging” from producing it to, to understanding the science involved. She actually started HG Wine Consulting in 2014. Now, with Three Hammers Winery open, she is excited to make quality wines that people will come to know.
Kobrzynski said he would like to coordinate with area restaurants, where Three Hammers wines will be available as well. He would like to have “culinary type of events” in the farmhouse, where local chefs can share their knowledge so their foods can be paired with their wines during a meal at the farmhouse table. That, however, will be a special event, since food will only be available at events, he said.
Since paint and sip activities have become popular recently, Kobrzynski explained that the wine component is happening because “people are bored.” As a result, wine in itself offers something in this tourist region for adults of all ages to enjoy. Just recently, a woman celebrated her 96th birthday at Three Hammers because its “different” and “something new in the area.”
Of the Three Hammers wines, Kobrzynski said he likes the Marquette and the Cuvée because he tends to be a “dry wine drinker,” not one for much sugar. It is hard however, to pick just one because he feels each “varietal is unique in its own way” and fits the various weather conditions of northeast Pennsylvania.
For Kobrzynski, he said his “focus” is to make Three Hammers Winery the “best it can be” because he wants people to love their wine and enjoy themselves.
Three Hammers Winery is located at the corner of Rt. 590 and Welcome Lake Road in Lackawaxen Township, east of Hawley. For more information visit www.threehammerswinery.com or Three Hammers Winery on Facebook.