Local champagne christens carrier
HAMMONDSPORT--Mirroring the christening of the USS John F. Kennedy in May 1967, Caroline Kennedy once again christened a new John F. Kennedy aircraft carrier in December using a bottle of Great Western champagne from Hammondsport's Pleasant Valley Wine Company.
Recreating the bottle from 1967 went beyond just the liquid inside it, as Works Design Group, who have an office in Hammondsport, partnered with Pleasant Valley Wine Company to try to perfectly reproduce the original label used by the winery in 1967.
"We were honored to participate in the christening of the first John F. Kennedy aircraft carrier in 1967 and are proud to join Caroline Kennedy and her family for the christening of the second great ship," said Mike Doyle, president and owner of Pleasant Valley Wine Company.
Doyle went on to say that Great Western champagne has been an important part of American celebrations for more than 150 years.
"It was an honor to play a small role in the celebration of the work of more than 5,000 American shipbuilders and 2,000 suppliers," Doyle said.
Bill Hutches, the principal of Works Design Group, said the christening was a great success.
"Senior leaders did an official toast to both Caroline Kennedy and the new ship, explaining the significance of the American champagne to the original 1967 christening and then tying it in with the christening of the new ship. The whole crowd reacted with nostalgic awe. It was a real 'goosebump' moment, and Works Design Group could not be more proud to have played a part," Hutches said.
According to Taylor Getler, business development associate for Works Design Group, the concept to explore participating in the second christening started when Doyle brought a framed 1967 image of Caroline Kennedy to the Works Design Group office in Hammondsport.
"(Doyle) asked us to take a few hi-res pictures of the piece so he could share the image with peers. We reflected on the momentous occasion and were in awe that Great Western champagne had played such a significant role in American history," Getler said.
After some research, Getler said he came across the target christening date of the new John F. Kennedy, and with Doyle's permission, sought to ensure Pleasant Valley's Winery's involvement once again.
"Using our professional network of Finger Lakes connections and sharing the compelling potential opportunity, Works Design Group was introduced to the communications team at Newport News Shipbuilding. They were also intrigued with the historic connection and we agreed to move forward 52 years later to celebrate the christening of the new $11.3 billion aircraft carrier a second time with a commemorative bottle," said Getler. The carrier was christened Dec. 7, 2019.
Getler added that the christening was part of Doyle's plans to revitalize Pleasant Valley Winery and bring Great Western champagne back into American consumer consciousness.