The Full Story
My name is Armen Geronian; my wife, Florena and I are the owners of Armen’s Barrels LLC.
After being in the computer industry for over 30 years, the realization came to me that mentally I am totally burnt out; to the point that I need to force myself to do something trivial like writing C++ code. Worst of all, I couldn’t even explain to my family and friends why I've spent a whole night setting up another Linux server and what exactly it is that I am working on now - IT professionals will understand me ☺
At the same time, Florena and I always loved wine. We are members of many wine clubs; we experienced numerous wine tours and visited wineries across the country. The idea of turning my old hobby of making wine into a real business was slowly growing in my mind, and became undeniable in 2019.
I remember Florena asked me at that time, “You know everything about computers, you are good at it, and you are successful in that area. Now you want to take our entire savings plus borrow a huge amount of money to jump into something that you have never done before. Why?"
I said, “I believe any business will be successful if driven by people who are passionate about what they are doing. I am happy making wine instead of staring at a monitor, and success will come sooner or later, and money will return. But more importantly, I want our kids and grandkids to be proud that we started something that might live for generations to come."
Achieving the utmost standards dictated many decisions within our operations. “Armen’s Barrels LLC” has to be associated with the highest possible product quality, whether wine, vodka or brandy. And to achieve such goals, I have decided to use old-school, traditional methods of making wine and spirits: take a unique approach to each grape variety, use the smallest amounts of preservatives possible, barrel age every wine, stick to reliable vendors no matter how expensive they are, take no shortcuts when it comes to equipment sanitizing, take no shortcuts to anything, period. Because at the end of the day, it is my name that is on the label!
Years ago, when making wine in my basement in 6-gallon carboys, we learned that utilizing oak barrels can turn decent wine into good wine, and good wine into great wine. By the way, you are right – there is nothing that can improve bad wine ☺
Now this is why every wine made in our facility goes through aging in oak barrels and the reason why the word “barrels” is within our company name. When you visit the facility, you will see that it is also the reason why we have hundreds of barrels, all under controlled temperature and humidity levels. Even the tables in our restaurant are made from real oak barrels! But you are right again – light fixtures in our restaurant are made from fake oak barrels ☺
We, the owners, generally do not believe in luck. believe that luck is a result of dedication and hard work. However, a good business needs the right people and we consider ourselves very lucky that we have met the following people:
General Manager in the winery/distillery is Mr. Charles Bockstoce, engineer from University of Pittsburgh. Our Quality Control Manager is Mr. Philip Ejzak, another engineer from the same university. The two were roommates back in school! There would be no winery and no restaurant without these two gentlemen – without their work,their honesty, their knowledge and their creativity.
When it comes to the restaurant “The LAB”, our first General Manager Mr. Arthur (Jake) Zerbe hired a young and energetic team for “The LAB”, contributing to excellent service and a relaxing, intimate atmosphere of fine dining for our clients.
Last but certainly not least, in our kitchen, Chef David Galiffa leads – a man who created our distinct upscale menu and somehow produces hundreds of plates of exquisite dinner items every day, day after day. Our restaurant opened its doors to the public on October 15th 2021.