The Ancient Art of Dry Laid Stone with D.J. Kitzel

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July 26, 2019 (Fri) - July 28, 2019 (Sun)
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Hunt Country Vineyards
4021 Italy Hill Road (County Road 32)
Branchport, NY 14418

View Map  |   800.946.3289

Cost: $275

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Educational     Food     Outdoors     Wine    

Tickets:  $275 - Includes dinner, two lunches, wine, instruction and a masonry tool to take home.

PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED: No walk-ins. Space limited to 14 students.

Spend a weekend at Hunt Country Vineyards with the talented stone mason, D.J. Kitzel.  Come with little or no prior experience and learn techniques of ancient stone masonry.

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.  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 students 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 26 years of experience in the building trades, 22 years in masonry trades.  He has worked on historic structures and new builds across Rochester and the Finger Lakes region while pursuing a life-long interest in traditional trades.   

  • Dinner on Friday Evening:  TBD
  • Lunches by the Cafe at Hunt Country, includes a glass of wine or other beverage

* Please let us know ahead of time if you have any dietary restrictions.

  • Dinner at 6:30 on Friday will include introductions, course overview, expectations, safety
  • D.J. will provide instruction, all tools needed, and work songs. 
  • Group starts at 9:00 on Saturday and Sunday, end at 4:00
  • Instruction will be a combination of lecture, demonstration, and hands-on work to construct a functional wall/bench for the entryway to the tasting room.

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