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Greyton H. Taylor Wine Museum and Walter S. Taylor Art Gallery
by
Terry Sullivan

Bully Hill Vineyards established the Greyton Hoyt Taylor Wine Museum in 1972. The museum consists of two buildings. The first traces the lineage of Greyton Hoyt Taylor and his father Walter Taylor. Walter Taylor began his career in the wine industry as a cooper. The first building has many artifacts of a cooper’s shop.

Numerous displays show the process of barrel making. The visitor can see how a stave maker would split a length into quarters and bolts. A diagram shows how further splits formed the rough staves. A display shows how staves are set into a form, a rope holding their shape on the bottom and a metal ring added to the top. Many cooper’s tools are displayed on the walls. One quickly notices that there were many tools used to craft barrels. Old barrels are strategically placed throughout the room.

This first building also houses other displays. A horse drawn carriage filled with empty grape crates conveys the labor involved in harvesting grapes. The carriage would be driven to the vineyard while workers would cut the grapes from the vines and place in the wooded crates then stack into the crates in the carriage.

A wooden plaque of the Taylor Wine Company proudly hangs on the wall. The wall plaque once hung in the office of the Taylor Wine Company.

A display case shows artifacts from the prohibition era. Various stills remind the visitor that homeowners made wine and other spirits. An advertisement for Taylor wine juice suggests the importance of buying wine juice. The Taylor Wine Company sold wine juice to homeowners with yeast and directions on how to make wine. It was legal during prohibition to make wine for personal consumption in your own home. One could not sell the wine. One realizes that many wineries and vineyards went out of business during Prohibition.

 

Portraits and photographs of Walter Taylor and Greyton Taylor abound on the walls of the museum. Wine bottles bearing the name Walter S. Taylor rest in a display case. The Coca Cola Company demanded that Walter S. Taylor remove the Taylor name from the bottles. One can view a bottle with the name Taylor scratched out. Wine bottles bearing the name Bully Hill on the label also have the name Taylor scratched out. There are display cases with a collection of wine decanters and glasses.

The next building is an art gallery devoted to Walter S. Taylor. Walter S. was the son of Greyton Taylor and grandson of Walter Taylor. Walter S. was also an artist. Over five hundred pieces of his art are in inventory and many displayed. Several pieces of his artwork appears on the labels of the past and present Bully Hill wine bottles.

A large parade banner hangs on a wall. Walter S. Taylor placed his name on the Bully Hill Wines. Coca Cola bought the original Taylor Wine Company and demanded that Walter S. remove the name Taylor from the labels on the Bully Hill wine bottles. After a lawsuit, that Walter S. lost, the court ordered him to turn the contraband labels over to Coca Cola. Walter S. had labels placed in a manure cart and several hundred people marched from the Bully Hill Vineyards site to the old Taylor Wine Company site. Supporters carried the banner during the march.

Walter S. also wrote the name Taylor on a goat and delivered the goat to Coca Cola since anything with the name Taylor on it was contraband. However, Coca Cola did not want the goat. Walter S. began to market the slogan, “They stole my name and heritage, but they didn’t get my goat.” The goat became symbolic of Bully Hill wines and freedom.

Walter S. Taylor painted a large mural depicting the evil corporation ploughing through the vineyards and leading off the farmers chained together. Art became a vehicle for his expression. Walter S. was an artist painting scenes of the space shuttle launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida. Film was the most used medium to capture the moment. Watercolors were unique.

The museum visitors can easily spend several hours strolling through the exhibits and displays in the two buildings. If you have an opportunity spend some time talking to the museum director, Paul Sprague.

Website: Greyton H. Taylor Wine Museum and Walter S. Taylor Art Gallery


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