We are a small, artisanal producer focusing entirely on Riesling and Pinot Noir. We are made up of three like-minded and passionate friends--French Winemaker-Grower, Louis Barruol of Château de Saint Cosme in Gigondas and Finger Lakes partners Justin Boyette (Winemaker) and Richard Rainey (Vineyards, General Manager).
Our goal: We strive to grow grapes and handcraft wines of interest and value that perfectly balance minerality, aromatics and fruit to reflect our exceptional Finger Lakes terroir.
Winemaker, Visionary - Louis comes from a winemaking tradition of 14 generations. His family has been located at their historic property in the village of Gigondas in the Southern Rhone Valley of France since 1570. Louis grew up among the vines and took over the estate from his dad in 1992, proceeding to improve quality and grow a vigneron-negociant arm of the business. Chateau de St. Cosme is now regarded as the benchmark of wine quality in Gigondas.
Meanwhile, Louis is at the helm of Forge Cellars in both winemaking and management, bringing an immense amount of practical experience and knowledge into every aspect of the project. He loves playing rugby and classical music, and eating a great, juicy American hamburger.
Vineyards, General Manager - Originally a Florida boy, Rick came to the Finger Lakes by way of Philadelphia twenty years ago with the aim of owning a winery. During the past nearly two decades, he has been selling and buying wine (mostly French) for an international, fine wine distributor-importer. With Forge Cellars, it seems that Rick has finally come full circle and gotten to dig his hands into the dirt. He naturally gravitates to working with the growers and vines. His job is as varied as planning the winery construction, hauling grapes, creating racy harvest t-shirts and traveling the U.S. to sell wine. In his spare time, he likes to cook, eat, and drink like a pro while telling tall tales about hunting.
Winemaker, Steady Hand - Justin works diligently with Louis to make the Forge wines, handling all day-to-day winemaking and élevage with Assistant Winemaker, Alexandra. He is the co-owner of another winery on the east side of Seneca Lake called Hector Wine Company and before that, held winemaking positions at Red Newt Cellars, Atwater Estate Vineyards and Poplar Ridge Vineyards. Justin went to high school in Japan, studied Social Studies Education and Politics in college and is now an elected member of the Hector Town Board. Justin has an obsession with vintage sports cars and a knack for the domestic arts.
Assistant Winemaker - Having worked in wine bars and in fine dining since age 16, Alexandra decided to pursue her passion for wine by moving to the Finger Lakes in her early twenties. After hundreds of hours of manual labor and hands-on learning in the cellar, she took on the shared job of Assistant Winemaker at Hector Wine Company, Justin's Seneca Lake winery and at Forge Cellars. She splits her time between the two properties and can occasionally be found in the vineyards or on the road selling wine. Alexandra loves horse back riding, hiking with her fiancé and their trusty dog, Patches, and telling really bad jokes.
Marketing - After following a path pointed in the direction of Art Historian, Kristina realized that her love for creativity and craft could also be found in the world of wine. She spent several years working in the vineyards and wineries of Sheldrake Point Winery, Heart & Hands Wine Company, and Damiani Wine Cellars, then ventured into selling international wine and spirits at a boutique shop in Ithaca. She works on Forge's visual design, organization, communications and tech projects. In her free time, you'll find Kristina running, hiking, or refurbishing old furniture.