U.S. Air Force
By Mary Beth Roach
Air Force veteran Corey Christman has uncorked his interest in winemaking and is producing his own brand, Bravery Wines.
A 1991 Oswego High School grad, the Scriba native entered the Air Force in 1992 and he spent most of his 20-year career as a special agent in the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, with various assignments in the U.S., Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
Toward the end of his military career, he started dabbling in homemade wine-making. It piqued his interest, he said.
Immediately upon retiring, he worked in the corporate world for about three years, while taking classes at Washington State University and working part-time at the family-owned Anthony Road Wine Company in Penn Yan on Seneca Lake.
Though he had tried the corporate world, he was quick to realize it wasn’t a good fit for him.
“Primarily I wanted the ability to start my own opportunity, wanted the ability to pick my own teammates and to work on something that I was passionate about. I think business ownership gives you the opportunity,” he said.
A few years ago, he said he approached the Martini family, owners of Anthony Road and expressed an interest in going to the next level and creating his own label. The Martini family, Christman said, was very supportive of his venture.
Through a partnership with this winery, Christman launched the product, called ‘Bravery,’ on Veterans Day, 2020.
Christman and his wife, Jennifer, came up with the name ‘Bravery,’ and the tagline, “Celebrating the hero in you,” and it underscores how they value heroism, patriotism and service.
“That’s something that resonated with us,” he said.
On the label, the stars in the background remind one of the American flags. The vertical stripes are in the colors of the military service branches and first responders. And the tagline, he said, “allows us to pay respect to the people who wear the uniform but also raise awareness for people who are heroic everyday. They live a life of service and they do it for no reason other than to serve.”
Furthermore, he said, “Maybe some of those people wear uniforms, but probably you have some heroes that don’t wear uniforms. They might be moms, dads, teachers and neighbors. Common people who choose to live in an uncommon way.”
“We felt that the name ‘Bravery’ kind of tied all those together,” he added.
The Christmans donate $2.50 for every bottle of wine sold to a charity, such as the Yellow Ribbon Fund, Clear Path for Veterans, Institute for Veterans and Military Families, The Special Liberty Project, which supports Gold Star families and healing veterans.
Since launching the brand in November of 2020, Christman said they have given more than $15,000 to charities, including monies from sales or donations of product for baskets and dinners.
Preparing for business ownership has been a learning experience for him.
“As military members or veterans, asking for help isn’t always the first course of action,” he said. “The first thing as a veteran and a military service member, you have to learn is there’s plenty of resources out there.”
He found a lot of support through the D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families, the Wounded Warrior Project at Syracuse University, and the IVMF’s entrepreneurial boot camp.
“The biggest thing was learning to lean on others and ask for help and just having the ability to keep moving forward even though the end is not in sight,” he said.
Currently, the Bravery brand is being sold under the Anthony Road’s portfolio of wines and license, since state and federal regulations require licensures in order sell wine. The Christmans are in the process of finding a physical site to produce and sell their wines and operate their own winery.
The wines are for sale at Anthony Road Wine Company, and other locations, such as The Rooftop Lounge and Curtis Manor restaurants in Oswego; 5 Points Wine and Liquor Store, also in Oswego; and the Laurentide Inn, the 18th Amendment, and Burnt Rose Wine Bar, all in Penn Yan.