After close to 100 years and five generations the family is back in the booze business.
During Prohibition, HAB oversaw a large distribution business, particularly managing the transportation of booze from Abercorn, Quebec to Glens Falls, New York, to family members who then were responsible for transportation to other family members in New Jersey. Those relatives then distributed the alcohol to doctors and lawyers in New York City.
In the early days of prohibition, the family members from New Jersey came to visit to see the source of production and oversee the procedures to get the booze from Quebec to Fairfield, VT then on to Glens Falls, NY. On this particular day, there was a road block at the border, so the border had to be run and a chase ensued by revenue agents all the way to Fairfield, VT. No one was apprehended that day though!
HAB was also a renowned square dance caller, who was very much in demand. The family found out in the 1980’s through interviews with Sterling Weed and others that maybe he was more notorious for what he had, in his trunk and under his seat, than square dance calling. Square dances were a significant mode of local distribution of booze. Near the end of prohibition, he was apprehended by revenue agents and had to spend weekends in jail. In the early 1950’s, JHB (HAB's grandson) remembers walking with him and asking about an apparatus that was all broken and torn apart. HAB told him that it was his old apple cider press!
The Beer Business
In the mid to late 1950’s, JBB had a thriving beer distribution business in Fairfield Vermont, in part because of his famous cooler which provided some of the coldest beer in North Western Vermont. He was so successful he would occasionally sell more than two trailer loads of beer in a week. As kids, they would start chilling the beer in wash tubs of ice on the way to the famous cooler.
Now in 2017, five generations later, the family is legally producing wine in St. Albans, Vermont made with syrup from Fairfield, Vermont.
Located on 10 acres, at St. Albans Bay Vermont, this land has been in the Brook’s family since the 1600’s and is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites. There is a mound of rock located on the land that contains chert, which the pre-historic Indians used to make their tools. Chert is a fine-grained silica-rich, sedimentary rock that may contain small fossils. The Paleo Indians used the chert for their stone tools and fire starting kits. Chert originating from our location has been found as far away as the Dakotas and Nova Scotia. This fossil rich piece of land is one of only a few sites of its type in North America.
Around seven acres is being dedicated to the production of fruit wines. The berries are grown along Maquam, St. Albans, and Lapans Bays along the shore of Lake Champlain, where the still water affords one of the longest growing seasons in the North East. The primary fruits grown on the property are blackcurrants and Haskap berries.
Swanton, Vermont is the Ancient Homeland for the Missisquoi Abenaki. There are several sites in the area that can be visited to learn about Abenaki women. The Maquam Wildlife Refuge includes the site where Martha (Grandma) Lampman lived, an Abenaki woman who was well known for her knowledge of tribal customs and medical herbs.
Who We Are
Dominic Rivard - Winemaker
Meet award winning commercial winemaker, wine distributor/exporter, author and passionate about wines, ciders and wine industry innovations Dominic Rivard. With over 20 years experience in the wine industry, Dominic has been passionately interested in wine since the age of 17 when he started making wine from local fruits and grapes. After becoming a qualified sommelier, he studied advanced winemaking and oenology and undertook and passed the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Higher Certificate with distinctions. He is now studying towards the prestigious Master of Wine accreditation. He is a founding director of the Fruit Wines of Canada Association, which was involved in promoting wines and its industry throughout Canada. Over the last decade, Dominic has been busy running numerous wine production and exportation projects with wineries and wine importers/distributors in Canada, USA, Italy, Spain, UK, Tanzania, Chile, Taiwan, India, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan as well as China. He has been a speaker on the subject of winemaking and wine marketing at various symposiums throughout the world and teaches cider production at the college level. Dominic has been engaged in R&D projects in the industry and has perfected numerous dessert wine production techniques including ice fruit wine cryo-extraction. He specializes in cider, fruit wine, dessert wine and ice wine production and is known in wine industry circles as an authority in fruit wine making.
He has been very active in the burgeoning Asian wine industry as consultant winemaker, wine judge in various countries in Asia including China, India and Thailand. Presently, Dominic is based out of Nova Scotia, Canada and has taken up sustainable and organic fruit growing and continuing to assist many wineries in their wine production on a consultant basis. He operates his own winery and wine trading company and loves to help other wineries develop award winning wines and ciders. He is enthusiastic about the developments in the fruit wine and cider industry and its great potential not only locally but on a global basis. Dominic can be reached for consulting projects at email@example.com or 413.551.9463 and is available anywhere in the world.
CONSTANCE (CONNIE) BRIGHAM - MANAGER
Connie was born and raised on a dairy farm in Vermont. She attended Bentley University, graduating with a degree in Business Management. She then enjoyed exploring more of the country, living and working in MA, AZ and CO before coming home to Vermont in 2005. Working on Laramie River Guest Ranch in Colorado was definitely one of the highlights of her experience. Connie spent eight years as membership director for the Home Builders & Remodelers Association in Williston. Now at Maquam, she is relishing the challenge of learning all of the different aspects of wine making - and there are a lot of them!
Connie enjoys gardening, cooking, reading, spending time with family, friends and her kitties and learning more about wine.
ZACh HaLL - WINEMAKER
After growing up on an apple orchard in Dunham, Qc, and completing a health sciences program at Maisonneuve College in Montreal, Zach Hall went to study Oenology and Viticulture at Brock University in St-Catharines, Ontario. After completing 2 years of the program at Brock, he transferred to the University of Montpellier, France, to complete his oenology studies and obtain the Diplome National d'Oenologue. He has worked in wineries in California, France and Quebec, and now works as a consultant with RJ Oenology, a winery consulting firm established in Montreal since 2006. Zach also owns a brand of premium sparkling wines called Hall & Marciniak.
Matt Boudreau - Assistant Manager
Attending University of New Hampshire studying Agriculture
Works on plant propagation/ grafting/ wine making, testing, other duties
BFA St. Albans
Works at planting, weeding, picking berries
BFA St. Albans
Works at planting, weeding, picking berries
BFA St. Albans
Works at planting,weeding, picking berries, rototiller
Jack Bentley Brooks - Co Chairman
Special Interests: Dogs, hockey, basketball