Kenneth Wortz taps into his family’s 300-year history of apple farming – and the nearly as old tradition of crafting spirits.
Today Ken and his wife, Lori, craft one-of-a-kind spirits, occasionally with family and friends who help them harvest and bottle at KyMar Farm Winery and Distillery … for free. The signature Mapple Jack liqueur, Schoharie Shine and uncommon apple brandy Eau De Vie De Pomme are just that good. KyMar also produces an un-oaked chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon.
“People love local and people love unique,” Lori says.
KyMar uses local products almost exclusively in its spirits and wines. It only makes sense that they harvest sorghum and apples born from the historic soils of Schoharie County, once known as the “Breadbasket of the American Revolution.”
Handmade copper kettles produce the handcrafted spirits, which are then carefully aged in oak barrels before they are blended and bottled on site.
Ken’s family farmed apples for generations in his native Pennsylvania. That farm has since been sold and KyMar – named after the Wortz’ children – in part preserves that tradition for Ken, his family and future generations.
Founded in 2011, the winery and distillery begins a new legacy as the first to be licensed in Schoharie County since Prohibition.
But there’s more to the KyMar story than that fascinating chapter. Ken and Lori recently moved their operation to a former book bindery just down the road from the quiet country farmland they live on in rural Charlotteville.
The renovated 20,000 square feet of the bindery will exponentially increase production, which is soon-to-include vodka. The space is also home to a tasting room that hosts pairing and other events.
Complimentary tours are offered every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 1 and 3 p.m. Visit and sample wines and spirits any Friday, Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m., Memorial Day weekend through Columbus Day weekend. After Columbus Day weekend, KyMar is open Saturdays from noom to 6 p.m. through Dec. 31.