About Sheldon “Rufus” Butler


Great Wine — It’s in Our Roots!

Sheldon “Rufus” Butler, great-grandfather of Gary Burmaster (who founded Liberty Vineyards with his wife, Pam in 2008) was born December 29, 1827 in Litchfield, NY and moved to Sheridan, New York from Herkimer County in 1839. He and his family began farming in the area and soon planted a vineyard in the 1860s. Today, we continue to harvest grapes from that original Concord vineyard.

A couple of years ago, we discovered that Rufus was not only a grape grower, but a winemaker as well. He is listed in the 1891 Directory of the Grape Growers, Winemakers and Distillers of California, and of the Principal Grape Growers and Wine Makers Of the Eastern United States Published by the Board of State Viticultural Commissioners of California.

The first wine produced at Liberty Vineyards, Rufus Red, is a tribute to Sheldon “Rufus” Butler and the rest of our Butler family ancestors who laid the groundwork for Liberty Vineyards. Rufus Red is a fruit-forward, semi-dry red wine with a long finish. There is no other wine quite like Rufus Red. Stop in for a taste–it is perfect to enjoy with pizza, pasta or beef. Cheers!

Rufus directory cover Rufus Directory