A Renowned Chef Bottles the Spirits of the Hudson Valley
The restaurant guru left the kitchen to craft artisanal alcohol in a Woodstock cabin.
Photos by Sawkill Creek Botanicals
Pressing 800 pounds of apples to make the first batch of cider for the season is no easy task, but Brooke Vosika and his wife, Annette Wilfong, are passionate about providing customers with a hand-crafted piece of the Hudson Valley through their business, Sawkill Creek.
Vosika’s creation — which offers hand-crafted wines, ciders, bitters, elixirs, and yes, even hot sauce — originated in 2008 as a pop-up in Boston, when he was working as executive chef at the Four Seasons Hotel and Restaurant. The idea for the business began when his curiosity had him questioning how similar wines had distinct tastes.
“I wanted to know why sometimes I would open a $20 bottle of wine and I thought it was the greatest wine I ever had, and then sometimes I would open a $25 bottle of wine and I wouldn’t even want a second glass,” Vosika says.
In order to understand how flavors changed, he needed to create his own wine to see how the process behind making each bottle could change the palate.
Brooke Vosika at his craft
After stepping down from the Four Seasons in 2016, Vosika decided to set up permanent roots for Sawkill Creek at his grandfather’s artist cabin in Woodstock. His cabin in the woods is now a gentlemen’s farm, one used for pleasure rather than profit, and houses botanicals used for their bench trials and developed products like Black Walnut bitters or Scorpion Pepper hot sauce. Although Vosika is known to experiment with local flavor, Sawkill Creek produces fewer than 500 products a year so it can focus on making each item reflective of the Hudson Valley.
“It’s not about making money,” Vosika says. “It’s about making a product that people taste, get that great little smile on their face and go, ‘Wow, I’ve got to have a second bottle of this.’”
Products available by mail order only. 845.679.8414