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The Ancient Art of Dry Laid Stone with DJ Kitzel - SEPTEMBER 2024

Sep 14th, 2024 - Sep 15th, 2024
Time: 9am
Location: Hunt Country Vineyards, 4021 Italy Hill Road , Branchport NY
Phone: (315)-595-2812
Price: 300

Date & Time:

Saturday, September 14 & Sunday, September 15, 2024:  9:00am-4:00pm


$300 per person - Includes morning pastry, lunch, a glass of wine, & instruction, both days.
PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED: No walk-ins. Space limited to 14 students.

   We are so pleased to team up with DJ Kitzel for yet another season of stonemasonry workshops here at Hunt Country Vineyards.

   DJ is  a natural instructor and sharer of talent, creativity, and skills.  A truly unique weekend workshop having fun learning from this talented stone mason, teacher, artist, and renaissance man.

   A combination of some great outdoor learning, comradery & tinkering with ancient stones.  All accompanied by delicious locally catered lunches, outstanding Hunt Country wines, & gorgeous vineyard scenery.

Dry Laid Stone: 

Dry-laid stonework is the ancient art of building with stone without the use of mortar.  Common in the United Kingdom and other parts of the world, it is becoming increasingly popular in North America in functional hardscapes.  This two-day course is designed to be a primer in the contemporary skills and applications of this timeless trade.  Currently, there are few dry-laid stone workers in the Finger Lakes and demand is growing.

This course will be a hands-on experience of dry-laid wall construction.  This class will build on skills learned in previous workshops.  Beginners are welcome, but this will be a more challenging build than in previous workshops, in terms of design and precision.  Students who complete the course will be able to build free-standing stone walls, retaining walls, foundations, walkways and stairs.  Hands-on learning will be mixed with direct instruction, discussion and working lunches.  Participants will learn the tools, techniques, materials and traditions of this accessible art form.

This portable skill set is in demand by landscapers and builders alike.  The trade requires few tools to get started.  Other benefits of dry-laid stonework include personal creativity, fitness, and a deep connection to an ancient human experience.

There will be a tent on site to protect participants from sun and rain.  All tools and materials will be provided.  Participants should dress for the weather and wear sturdy shoes. Sunscreen, sun hat and a water bottle are recommended. You are also welcome to bring safety glasses, work gloves and any personal tools.


D.J. Kitzel is a stonemason, certified English teacher, and licensed wilderness guide with 34+ years of experience in the building trades, including masonry.  He has worked on historic structures and new builds across Rochester and the Finger Lakes region while pursuing a life-long interest in these traditional trades.   


Saturday morning will include introductions, course overview, expectations, and safety.  Getting right into the project by 10am and throughout Saturday and Sunday.  Instruction will be a combination of lecture, demonstration, and hands-on work to construct a functional wall.  D.J. will provide instruction, all tools needed, and work songs.


- There will be local pastry, coffee, and tea available upon your arrival both mornings. 
- However, we encourage you to eat a hearty breakfast ahead of arrival, as you will be working hard all morning.  

- Locally catered lunches will be provided on Saturday and Sunday. 

- There are picnic items available to purchase in our tasting room, but please feel free to bring your own snacks if you feel you might need them before or after lunch.  Hard work can make a person more hungry than usual.
- Hydration is a requirement of hard work.  We will have hot coffee, tea, and cold mint water available to you all day.  Please bring a water bottle to refill throughout the day.  We also have refreshing beverage options for purchase in our tasting room. 
- An end of day glass of wine is included in your registration fee.  Wine tastings, wines by the glass or bottle, and local beer are also available for purchase.  

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