Sam Rubin knew he wanted to work on a farm when he planted his first garden in the mid-1940s during World War II. He was 16 at the time, and people were encouraged to plant what were called “victory gardens” to grow their own food.
Mr. Rubin went on to own two farms in upstate New York and in Vermont, and in 1988 he purchased a 17-acre farm on Sound Avenue in Baiting Hollow.
Five years after he purchased the land, he said, he began planting grapevines since the summers were relatively dry, a climate conducive to healthy grape growing.
“I was just going to sell grapes,” said Mr. Rubin, standing in the tasting room of what is now Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard. “I didn’t have any ideas of having a tasting room and all of this.”
The wine production began around 2002 with the assistance of Mr. Rubin’s five children, who later helped him restore, piece by piece, an 1860s farmhouse. Wooden beams from the original house hang in the building, which is now the tasting room
Just outside the tasting room are grazing horses that were in danger of being slaughtered, but were instead rescued by Mr. Rubin’s daughter, Sharon Levine.
Guests to the vineyard can take tours to see the rescue horses and learn about the issue of horse slaughtering.
Ms. Levine learned shortly after the family’s tasting room opened that a young thoroughbred horse in Pennsylvania was going to be sent out of the country and killed. The horse, Angel, was her first rescue, which spawned her saving 23 more.
Ms. Levine said the vineyard pays for the animals to be groomed, fed and retrained to be riding horses.
“Anything anyone buys at Baiting Hollow supports the horses because that’s the first bill we pay,” she said.
The winery offers more than an education — Ms. Levin said the winery is also home to occasions like birthday parties and bar mitzvahs.
Baiting Hollow holds free live music events on the weekends year-round and offers a weekend food menu — everything from sliders and sandwiches to hot spinach dip and chocolate merlot dipping platters.
Ms. Levine said the vineyard is now producing about 4,500 cases of 13 varietals every year.
And her dad, 84-year-old Mr. Rubin, is still working out on the farm.
“Keeps me busy,” he said.