Correction Applied August 8, 2023
By Christine Graf
After almost three years of serving as general manager of Saratoga Winery, Anne Brill has assumed ownership of the business.
She and her husband, Andrew, purchased the winery from Rich and Tara Nimmo for $1.4 million on June 15.
Saratoga Winery is located at 462 Route 29 in Milton, just 10 minutes west of downtown Saratoga Springs.
The winery’s tasting room serves handcrafted wines made on the premises with New York state grapes. They also serve local craft beers, spirits from Saratoga Courage Distillery, and cocktails. Food offerings include wood-fired pizzas, appetizer, salads, and sandwiches.
Brill grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and met her husband while they were both students at Skidmore College. After graduating, they settled in Chicago but chose to get married in Saratoga.
“We came back to look at venues in 2011, and this was in the height of the economic turn down,” she said. “But Saratoga was still thriving, and we were amazed and impressed by how much the town had grown. In 2014, we decided we wanted to live here full-time.”
After relocating the following year, Brill was hired as event director at The Mansion at Saratoga, and Andrew became the manager of Wheatfields restaurant on Broadway. In 2020, both were furloughed as a result of the pandemic.
When restaurants began opening again, a friend told Brill about a general manager position that was available at Saratoga Winery. A short time later, she interviewed for the job.
“It was a great fit, and I started working at the winery as the general manager in November of 2020,” said Brill. “And then in June of 2021, the owners approached me and told me that they planned to sell the business. They were telling me as a courtesy because I was the general manager.”
After learning that the Nimmos planned to put the winery on the market, Brill told them that she and Andrew might be interested in purchasing it. By that time, Andrew was working in his current position at Mazzone Hospitality.
According to Brill, the transaction took two years to complete.
“It took so long because there was a lot of negotiating back and forth due to size and magnitude of the deal. I also had to teach myself everything there is to know about high stakes business transactions and how to buy a business.”
Although the Brills purchased the business together, Andrew is not involved in day-to-day operation of the winery.
“It’s my baby. He’s supporting me these first few weeks as we get settled in and the accounts switched over, but he’s going to stay with Mazzone,” said Brill. “I’ve been running it for almost three years, so I’m just going to continue to do that but with a lot of added stress and responsibility. It’s going really well, and we’ve gotten great response and feedback from community.”
Brill said that she does not intend to make any major changes to the business.
“It’s been a little difficult to explain to people that we aren’t going to be making any drastic changes. During the more than two years that I’ve been running it, I’ve already implemented so many changes.”
She hired a new chef, revamped the drink program, and revamped the wedding and event program.
“We’ll be making small improvements, and we will be putting our own little stamp on things. We will also be open to feedback from community, but we have such a great business already, and we don’t want to reinvent the wheel.”
Brill plans to focus on booking more weddings and events. The venue can host events of up to 150 people.
“I will also be working to improve the overall customer service experience, improving the food, improving the drinks. There’s always room for improvement,” she said.
Saratoga Winery operates with a staff of between 20 and 30 employees depending on the time of the year. There are several positions that are currently available.
The company website is www.thesaratogawinery.com.