A Johnstown couple has started a company that brings together two things they hold very near and dear to their hearts – excellent wine and military veterans.
U.S. Air Force veteran and retired Special Agent Corey Christman and his wife, Jennifer, started Bravery Wines in 2020 and plan to donate at least $2 of every bottle sold to Yellow Ribbon Fund, a veteran service organization that supports injured service members and their caregivers.
Corey says he started making wine 10 years ago, crafting small batches in his garage. But he dreamed of bigger and better things and pursued a degree in winemaking education at Washington State University. He then did an internship at Anthony Road Wine Company in Penn Yan, New York, where he worked with owners, John and Ann Martini, and head winemaker, Peter Becraft.
Corey was so impressed with Anthony Road Wine Company, its owners and Becraft that, when he and Jennifer married on Veterans Day in 2017, they did so at the winery.
“When we started our brand, we wanted to partner with the Martini family and Peter Becraft,” Corey says.
Bravery Wines are handcrafted with grapes sourced from Martini Vineyards located in the Finger Lakes region of New York. While none of the wine production takes place in the Johnstown area, outreach and business development happens from the couple's home.
“I am originally from upstate New York and the Finger Lakes wine region is one of the top winemaking and viticultural areas in the world,” Corey says. “And it's only a four-hour journey from Johnstown.”
Currently, Bravery Wines has four wines:
- 2017 Cabernet Franc - Corey describes it as “a fruit-forward wine with beautiful hints of cherry, pepper and lightly oaked.”
- 2019 Riesling - “It's a powerhouse off-dry wine with hints of citrus, tangerine, green apple with balanced acidity and residual sugar.”
- White blend - “A Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris white blend considered dry to off-dry, but not semi-dry. This wine is fantastic with or without food and an exceptional option for those wanting a white wine with great balance.”
- 2019 Vignoles - “A Martini Vineyards varietal grown for over 25 years, this fantastic wine possesses great balance between acidity and residual sugar,” Corey says. “Citrus, honey and a hint of orange are just a few of the mouthwatering flavors you will experience. This wine is considered semi-dry to semi-sweet.”
This year, Bravery Wines plans to introduce a Sauvignon Blanc and a Rose' of Pinot Noir.
For Valentine's Day, Corey recommends the Vignoles (pronounced veen – yol).
“It is a white wine – a little on the sweeter side. But it has balanced acidity that will appeal to those who prefer a little sweetness over dryness. It has hints of tangerine, apricot and honey – great to pair with chocolates, cakes and your typical Valentine's Day sweets.”
Jennifer, a life-long local resident, says the couple is honored to partner with the Yellow Ribbon Fund. “(It's) one of the first veteran service organizations that focuses on helping severely wounded, ill and injured post-9/11 service members of all U.S. military branches,” she says. “With a mission to keep families together, the fund provides housing, transportation and other family support services.”
Jennifer is president of MyAdvisor (formerly VetAdvisor) located in Ebensburg. She serves on several national boards, including the Yellow Ribbon Fund, and is a national speaker who advocates for equitable access to behavioral health care.
In addition to being sold at Anthony Road Wine Company's tasting room, Bravery Wines is available for purchase for Pennsylvania residents through www.vinoshipper.com/shop/bravery_wines.
For additional information, go to www.bravery.wine or through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter:@braverywines