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Fresh Faces: Abby & Ben Stamp

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In this feature, we gathered 16 young business owners in the food, farm or beverage industry that are establishing a brand in the FLX. We sent each one the same list of 10 questions. Below are their answers. We hope you enjoy learning about and supporting these local entrepreneurs!

Abby & Ben Stamp (siblings) of Lakewood Vineyards

1. What’s the first FLX wine or beer you tasted?
A: I honestly don’t remember. I was probably about 5 years old, and it’s safe to assume it was a Lakewood Vineyards wine.
B: Tough one. Wine was always a part of mealtime in our household, so I must have been quite young. It’s safe to say it was probably something from Lakewood Vineyards.

2. What’s your favorite local comfort food after a long, day of hard work?
A: After a long day during harvest, I crave chicken wings. Luckily, it’s one of the only foods I can still order late at night!
B: I can always get down with some Thai food after a long day. The drunken noodles at Thai Elephants in Watkins Glen are particularly satisfying and, if you request, fiery hot!

3. Favorite piece of business advice?
A: Those you might see as competition could be your strongest allies. Befriend your neighbors and others in your industry. You will make it farther working together.
B: Be true to the legacy of your business. Innovation does not mean chasing trends. True innovation involves starting trends.

4. Who’s your hero?
B: One of my biggest heroes and inspirations is my grandfather Monty, the patriarch of our farm winery. Though he passed about 12 years ago, his legacy continues to impact everything we do at Lakewood Vineyards. I think he would be proud of how far the winery has come.

“Innovation does not mean chasing trends. True innovation involves starting trends.”

5. What did you want to be when you were a kid?
B: Actually, I always wanted to be a winemaker, though as a kid I spent a lot more time in the vineyards. My grandfather taught me how to drive our old tractors pretty much as soon as my feet could reach the pedals.

6. At what age do you think you will retire?
A: I doubt I will ever retire. My grandma, Bev Stamp, just turned 80 and works 5-6 days a week. There is something about a family-run operation that makes you want to be around the business and stay involved.
B: Our family tradition is going out with our boots on, though I would like to have the opportunity to travel more someday. If I’m lucky enough to have kids who are interested in the family business, I’m sure they will let me know when it’s time for me to retire.

7. In the past people were buried with the items they would need in the afterlife, what would you want buried with you so you could use it in the afterlife?
A: Finger Lakes Riesling. A lot of Finger Lakes Riesling. Also, a pocket knife, because you never know.

8. If you had to choose a completely new career, what would it be?
B: Engineer, probably mechanical or environmental. I love the challenge of understanding the underlying form and function of mechanical and environmental systems. We should endeavor to know more about how our world works.

9. Favorite place to eat in the FLX?
A: It’s not easy to choose, but Graft and Nickel’s Pit BBQ are two of my go-tos.
B: Graft Wine and Cider Bar in Watkins Glen always has such fresh, creative local food and they always treat me and my wife like family.

10. Local businessperson who inspires you?
A: All of the local entrepreneurs that have ideas and run with them. There is huge potential in the Finger Lakes and there are now some creative minds realizing that potential. I find inspiration in all of the other Fresh Faces featured here.

A version of this article originally appeared in the May/June 2019 edition of the magazine.

All images by Chelsea Fausel.

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