Hudson River Valley Wineries

This blog is dedicated to news, events, profiles and reviews of fine food and wine in the Hudson River Valley. We especially feature and spotlight the burgeoning wineries of the Hudson River Region. We accept and will relay information about releases, events, festivals and any toher happening related to food and wine in the Hudson River Valley. Send pertitnent information to

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Carlo DeVito is a long time wine lover, and author of books and magazine articles. He is the author of Wineries of the East Coast. He has traveled to wine regions in California, Canada, up and down the east coast, France, Spain and Chile. He was also a publisher at Running Press Book Publishers, where he published books from Wine Spectator, as well as books with Greg Moore (of Moore Bros.), Matt Kramer, Howard Goldberg, and many other wine writers. Mr. DeVito has also been the editor of many successful traditional trade books, including Strange Fruit by David Margolick, On the Shoulders of Giants by Stephen Hawking, and three titles by Malachy McCourt. Other authors include John and Mary Gribbin, Thomas Hoving, Philip Caputo, E. O. Wilson, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., John Edgar Wideman, Stanley Crouch, Dan Rather, Dee Brown, Susie Bright, and Eleanor Clift. He lives with his wife, pet publisher Dominique DeVito, their two sons, their two dogs, and their numerous goldfish.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Honey Hollow - Farm-to-Glass Beer in Earlton

According to their website, "We are a sub-nano, do it ourselves farm brewery located in Earlton, NY producing small batch hand crafted ales. Hone Hollow beers are made entirely of New York State ingredients and future home grown hops  from our garden"

Albany Times-Union beer writer, Greg Back wrote in November of last year, "I’ve been keeping an eye on this new farm brewery opening up in Earlton. If Albany Ale is the reawakening of the past, then the Honey Hollow Brewery is most certainly a sign of the future. Matty Taormina, Honey Hollow’s brewmaster, is ready to show his nanobrewery to the world. He joins The Beer Diviner as the second licensed farm brewery in the area, with Green Wolf Brewing still waiting on certification. For the opening, Matty has a honey lager brewed with local honey, a brown ale, a ruby red ale and Hurricane pale ale."

I couldn't agree more. Farm breweries are the wave of the future. And there are more and more of them popping up around the region. I first came into contact with them at a small beer fest at the Beer Diviner in Stephentown, NY. It was there that I first tasted their beers. These are good folks who make some very honest beers - and they drink nicely.

You can read the descriptions for yourself above. No nee for me to re-introduce them. But on the other hand, I can say that I liked all three very much. Very much. The Hurricane Pale Ale was a very, very drinkable pale ale. Went down easy. Very fun. The IPA had some pop to it. If you like IPA, then that's what you'll get. It has a lot of body, so it's not all just hops. There's some malt there, and lots of flavor. But its also very aromatic. Very. And lastly had to be one of my favorite beers from that day - a coffee porter. really, very lovely. Big, deep, dark, rich, like a cup of espresso, but with that chocolaty touch to it. Lots of malt. Gorgeous.

This stuff I definitely worth seeking out!!!! Great job, folks!

Thursday, September 11, 2014


15 more events this week of the Fall In Love 2014 season! This week features release parties, grape stomping, and multiple concerts! As well as the Wine Tent at the Capital District Apple & Wine Festival at Altamont as well as the Italian Festival at Baldwin Vineyards!
Come on down and enjoy!

Sept 12 – Robert Schiff – 7:30-10:30pm – Inside.   PALAIA VINEYARDS

Sept 12 –  Gay and Lesbian Alliance Second Fridays CATSKILL DISTILLING

Sept 13 & 14 – Capital District Apple & Wine Festival 2014, Altamont Fair Grounds WINE TENT

Sept 13 & 14 ITALIAN FESTIVAL 12 award winning wines, an assortment of pastas, fresh bread, fried zeppoles, fresh fruit, and cheese. The engraved wine glass is yours to bring home. BALDWIN VINEYARDS

Sept 13 – Fall Wine & Cheese Pairing 1:00PM MILLBROOK VINEYARDS

Sept 13 – Live music featuring Marc Von Em ROBIBERO VINEYARDS

Sept 13 – Mike Goliber music CLEARVIEW VINEYARDS

Sept 13 – Vera and the Force – Classic Rock WARWICK VALLLEY

Sept 13 – Nailed Shutt music BASHAKILL VINEYARDS

Sept 13 – HARVEST FESTIVAL AND GRAPE STOMP! – $15 at the gate – Vendors of all kinds, included are: hay rides, pumpkin painting, face painting, grape stomp, the band “McMule”, and tastings! Kids Free! PALAIA VINEYARDS 7:30-10:30pm – Palaia All Stars – Rob Schiff, Evan Teatum, Al Westphal, Bruce Perone, Ken Nicastro (OUTSIDE!)   PALAIA VINEYARDS

Sept 14 – Rave On – Music of Buddy Holly / Classic Rock n Roll WARWICK VALLLEY

Sept 14 – Brian Dougherty Band music BASHAKILL VINEYARDS

Sept 14 – Jack Higgins & Friends – 2:30-5:30pm – Close out the summer outside with a jam of talented friends. Free Hot Dogs! PALAIA VINEYARDS

Sept 14 – Me and My Ex music CLEARVIEW VINEYARDS

Sept 14 – 11am–5pm 22nd Annual Taste of New Paltz, Ulster County Fairgrounds, New Paltz, NY

Sept 14 – Live Jazz featuring The Blue in Green Jazz Quartet ROBIBERO VINEYARDS

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Register Star Covers Regional Columibia-Greene-Berkshire Craft Beverage Summit

Hudson Chatham wine and beer summit 47.jpg

Posted: Wednesday, September 10, 2014 12:30 am
GHENT - The Hudson-Chatham Winery hosted a summit of local wineries, breweries, distilleries and cideries on Tuesday to discuss working together to promote their industries in the Hudson Valley and beyond.
Representatives from over 20 local craft beverage companies were present in addition to a number of representatives from economic groups in Columbia and Greene counties. The event featured presentations on the craft beverage industry, a roundtable with all the producers and ended with a tasting of products provided by each producer.
Sam Filler, director of Industry Development at Empire State Development, who works closely with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office, stated at the summit that the craft beverage business has spiked in New York state since Cuomo took office in 2011, with breweries growing from 70 to 165, wineries growing from 189 to 250 and distilleries growing from 15 to over 70 in that time.

He added that the recently passed Craft Act will allow breweries to sell their beer by the glass, as opposed to only farm breweries as was previously allowed, as well as increase the production cap to 75,000 barrels for breweries and 25,000 gallons for wineries.

“The governor’s intention is to minimize the regulations on this industry and make it easier for you to do business,” said Filler.

With the influx of new businesses, many are not aware of the opportunities available to them and the best way to promote their brand.

“There’s a whole bunch of us here who run these businesses and we don’t know each other,” said Carlo DeVito, co-owner of the Hudson-Chatham Winery. “If we don’t even know who each other are, how do people on the outside know who we are? That’s one of the biggest things that we need to do as a group is to make sure that we’re all pulling the train in the same direction, which is to get the word out on what it is we’re doing.”

DeVito suggested offering tastings and classes to get people interested in local craft beverages, approaching writers and critics to cover their events and cross-promoting with other similar businesses in the surrounding area. He also noted the different beverage trails and festivals that producers should take advantage of, which include the Hudson Berkshire Beverage Trail, Scawangunk Wine Trail, Hudson River Craft Beer Festival, Hudson Valley Wine & Food Festival and others around the region.

“One of the things that’s really important is that we promote each other,” he said. “In our tasting rooms, you should have the rack cards of some of your neighboring businesses. It’s about promoting each other. By banding together, we are stronger.”

According to Todd Erling, executive director of Hudson Valley Agribusiness, businesses should collaborate for mutual benefit. He said that it can be effective to partner with businesses that aren’t directly related.

“Think outside the box,” he said. “It’s not just wine, it’s not just beer, it’s not just cider. The amazing thing about the Hudson Valley is that it’s bread, it’s cheese. We have world-class and you pick the commodity sector or you pick what it is.”

One way craft beverage companies can do this, Erling said, is to share products.

“We’ve worked closely with this idea of collaboration, not so much teetering between what’s allowed and what isn’t, but products themselves,” he said. “So, a good example over in the Sullivan County area, we have a distillery that’s then giving their whiskey bales to a maple sugar house, the maple sugar house is making a bourbon aged maple syrup, then that barrel after the maple syrup has been made in it goes to a local brewery over there.”

Erling also spoke about the importance of bringing production back to New York state, exporting goods and incentivizing the purchase of products from New York. He said that this region is the “gatekeeper to a major market,” not only in New York City, but also in Boston and New England.
Kenneth Flood, commissioner of Columbia County Planning/Economic Development, and Warren Hart, director of Greene County Economic Development, Tourism and Planning, stressed the importance for small businesses in the region.

“Most of our work and time is spent on small business because that is where the jobs are, where the majority of most jobs are created,” Flood said.

Assemblywoman Didi Barrett (D-106) also attended the summit to show her support for local craft beverage producers.
“I’m a huge advocate of the economic potential of all the things we love about this region,” Barrett said. “Certainly, agriculture and food production is one of them, but it’s also the cultural history and the history itself. It’s so important that we use these things as the economic engines to be sure we have a sustainable economy here. What you all have been doing is so important and I am 100 percent behind you in every way that I possibly can.”
Additional organizations represented at the summit include Cave Mountain Brewery, Dutch’s Spirits, Beth’s Farm Kitchen, Hawthorne Valley Farm Store, Fix Brothers Fruit Farm, Old Klaverack Brewery, Orchard Hill Cider Mill, Hillrock Estate Distillery, Chatham Brewing, Sundog Cider, Hudson Valley Distillers, Brookview Station Winery, Grandpa Pete’s, Harvest Spirits, Wolfgang B. Gourmet Foods, Nine Pin Cider, Dutch Desserts, Tousey Winery and Greene County Chamber of Commerce.
To reach reporter Vince Pecoraro, call 518-828-1616, ext. 2309 or email

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Monday, September 08, 2014

Brotherhood, America's Oldest Winery Rewrites the Book on History and Wine

This year marks the 175th Anniversary of the founding of Brotherhood Winery, America's Oldest Winery, which is right here in the Hudson Valley. Brotherhood's history reflects the history of wine in America, as it dates back to well before the Civil War. The winery has seen many changes many ups-and-downs, to great expansions, surviving prohibition, to fire, to renewal and expansion.
Today Brotherhood is among the largest wineries on the eastern seaboard, and has been lovingly and lavishly restored, and is among the jewel wineries of not only the Hudson Valley, but New York state and the east coast. Few wineries anywhere in the world boat such lovely rooms and grounds as Brotherhood boasts today.
In the meantime, Hudson Valley Wine magazine has published a commemorative book on the oldest continuously operating winery in the US, which is also quite fun. And of course, there's wine to talk about as well. So let's get going!
The tastingroom is among the largest and most opulent on the east coast.
The dining facilities are enormous and sumptuous.

And of course the ancient vaults that pre-date
the Civil War are both cavernous, as well as dripping with history.
The Brotherhood Winery is commonly acknowledged to be the oldest operating winery in the United States. It is located in Washingtonville, New York, a community in the Hudson Valley, and produced its first commercial vintage in 1839. In 2000 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The winery uses the slogan "America's Oldest Winery."
Brotherhood Winery was started by John Jaques, who deeded it in 1858 to his three sons, John Jr., Oren, and Charles, later renaming it "Jacques Brothers' Winery." In 1886, ownership of winery came under the father and son ownership of James M. and Edward R. Emerson, acquiring it from Charles, the last surviving Jaques brother. The Emersons renamed the operation "Brotherhood" and expanded its facilities to include the single remaining original building on the winery's property, as well as adding large underground winemaking facilities. Edward wrote the book The Story of the Vine while in ownership of Brotherhood.

The winery remained in operation during Prohibition as it produced sacramental wine for the Catholic Church. New ownership came in 1921 with Louis Farrell and his son Louis Jr. The Farrells owned the winery until 1947 when both the father and son died in close succession. Control of the winery passed to three Farrell cousins. Francis Farrell was the cousin that ran the vineyard through the World War II era. An expansion included visitor tour facilities and recognition for award-winning wines in regional wine competitions.
The view through the bullet proof glass
window of the champagne riddling room.

“When legend becomes fact,” the old Hollywood adage goes, “print the legend.” For Brotherhood Winery, which produced its first documented vintage in 1839, legend and history intertwine. Its stories have been told and re-told, gaining scope and dimension. Some have been exaggerated beyond recognition.

The true facts about Brotherhood have confused many people for many years. Is Brotherhood really the oldest winery in the United States? Who was the founder, and was he a Scottish emigrant, a French Huguenot, or a cloistered monk? Where did the name “Brotherhood” actually come from? How did the winery survive Prohibition? Did Brotherhood truly invent “wine tourism?” And how did it become the premium winery it is today?

In THE STORY OF BROTHERHOOD, AMERICA’S OLDEST WINERY, Robert Bedford sets the record straight, and explores the remarkable past of the country’s oldest winery. The book celebrates nearly 175 years of captivating history, and commemorates its owners and stakeholders who contributed to the winery’s longevity through loyalty, perseverance, innovation, and sheer imagination.

A remarkable collection of rare images vividly illustrate the evocative text, stories and anecdotes—as well as the facts—with over 350 photographs, labels, documents, memorabilia, and advertisements. Culled from private and public collections, and carefully restored by the author, most of the images and documents have never been published before, or seen outside of Brotherhood Winery.

With this combination of insight and imagery, THE STORY OF BROTHERHOOD, AMERICA’S OLDEST WINERY unfolds through eras of grit and glamour. It is as comprehensive as it is pioneering; a major contribution to the history of winemaking and wine production in New York and the United States.
Robert Bedford is the co-founder and executive editor of Flint Mine Press and Hudson Valley Wine Magazine, and has written and edited widely on the history of viticulture and viniculture in the Hudson Valley. A longtime historian and archivist with additional expertise in archival photograph restoration, he has curated and produced photographic exhibitions with accompanying published works and catalogs for non-profit organizations and museums.

The book is incredibly well packaged. The design is engaging and colorful, and Bedford has researched incredibly well. It's filled with photos, labels, and documents. Rich in color as it is in history, this book is absolutely fascinating!! Robert Bedford did an incredible job and the design by Linda Pierro is fantastic!

“Through the photos, documents, and writings in this book we can place Brotherhood not only in the context of American viticulture and the country’s ever-changing tastes in wines, but also in the broader landscape of American history. We can also look ahead, to what it means to preserve and restore this rich history, and what it will forecast for the next centuries to come.”
– from the Foreword by Adam Strum, Editor and Publisher, Wine Enthusiast Magazine
“It is a privilege to recognize the historical importance of the Brotherhood Winery as told through THE STORY OF BROTHERHOOD, AMERICA’S OLDEST WINERY.”
– Kirsten Gillibrand, United States Senator, New York

Brotherhood was among the first wineries in America
 to offer regular tours available to the public!

If you are a wine history buff, this book is a Must Have!

Flint Mine Press and Brotherhood combined to create a whole new tour experience of their facilities. They put up state of the art new plaques, and cleaned up old historical machinery, and brought some of the oldest wine cellars in the Western Hemisphere back into shape for a unique experience. anywhere in the world. The colorful, fact-filled broadsides are engaging and fun.




Today, Brotherhood is one of the largest producers and packagers of wine on the eastern seaboard. They have three massive bottling lines, and bottle wine for wineries from all over the world, they also make hundreds of thousands of gallons of wine. Their wines are for sale throughout the US. The range of the wines they offer is immense. We can't even begin to evaluate and review them all here.
Included here a few recent tastes. Brotherhood has become well known for their premium wines, including spectacular sparklers such as Monarque and "B" their Chardonnay sparkling wine. And I have long been a fan of their Chardonnay. Bob Barrow is the unsung hero of Brotherhood, making wine there for more than ten years now. An he's been continually honing his craft, as the wines keep getting better. He's actually a master with Riesling, but that's for another story (I'm getting ahead of myself).

Recently, at both the Bounty of the Hudson and at the Hudson Valley Wine Festival I tried the Cabernet Sauvignon 2012. This was an exquisite wine with lots of raspberry, cherry, blackberry and cassis. Lovely mouthfeel, and a lovely balance with the tannins. Great acidity, but a big wine, full of possibility. You can drink it now, but you can lay it down for a little while too. Perfect with steak or grilled meats or spicy pasta dishes. Excellent! Very impressive.

The 2013 Pinot Noir was a revelation. A lovely, gorgeous silky wine with beautiful cherry flavors and just a hint of vanilla and spice. A classic Pinot Noir, and at $16 a bottle, it's an absolute steal!!!! Bob has long had a way with Pinot, and this one is not exception. Low tannins make this incredibly drinkable, and a great food wine. This is a lovely wine!!
I haven't been able to try True Companion, but I was able to try True Believer, which was originated out on the North Fork of Long Island, but ha now found a loving home as part of the Brotherhood portfolio. As the demand for quality cider continues to grow, Brotherhood has up with the times. True Believer is a delicious, crisp, effervescent cider that's made for drinking. Refreshing and delicious, it smells like biting into an apple! Fantastic!

If you are going to be in the Hudson Valley, you need to go to Brotherhood, do a tasting try their restaurant, and go on the tour and buy the book. Might take you a half a day or more....but it's a day you won't soon forget.