After fire, Three Brothers owner reflects on iconic Finger Lakes institution

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GENEVA, N.Y. (WHEC) — Roughly 24 hours ago, a Finger Lakes institution burned down. The building that was once the Bagg Dare Winery and tasting room is a total loss.

The fire broke out around 5:45 p.m. Monday on a cold and windy day. Three Brothers Winery president, Erica Paolicelli, recalls how it happened in an instant.

“I came down the driveway, had to go around the corner and within minutes the building was up in flames,” Paolicelli said.

Paolicelli reflects on the iconic tasting room with a lot of history.

“It was old barn wood with a tin roof, and then inside there was old gas pumps and old signs. Everything was authentic, so it’s pretty irreplaceable,” Paolicelli added. “There is a lot of the memorabilia there. My partner, Dave, he took years and years to curate what was down there and that’s really part of the heartbreak.

Paolicelli describes the tasting room as one of a kind in the area.

“When you walk down the path to Bagg Dare, it sits on a pond so it’s just a ‘down-home’ kind of feeling," Paolicelli said. "It’s really a place to take yourself not too seriously."

With a Louisiana bayou theme, Paolicelli says there’s a taste of the south up here in the north.

“That’s really what Bagg Dare was – was you walk down a dirt path down alongside a pond, you walk up a ramp, there’s a band playing on an old truck bed that we sunk into the pond. There’s all of this historic memorabilia from before my time so you just got this feeling before you stepped inside the building that it was something special,” she said.

As the business is forced to rebuild, the owner says it won’t be easy.

“Every detail in that building was carefully considered and so it’s going to be really tough for us to recreate that,” Paolicelli said.

Three Brothers still has two other tasting rooms, both of which are open and operating like normal. The winery is now in the process of clearing out an event space in anticipation of doing a temporary tasting room in lieu of the Bagg Dare.