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 has been a published executive for more than 20 years. He shepherded the wine book program of Wine Spectator as well as worked with Kevin Zraly, Oz Clarke, Matt Kramer, Tom Stevenson, Evan Dawson, Greg Moore, Howard Goldberg, and many other wine writers. He has also published Salvatore Calabrese, Jim Meehan, Clay Risen, and Paul Knorr. Mr. DeVito is the inventor of the mini-kit which has sold more than 100,000,000 copies world wide. He has also publisher such writers as Stephen Hawking, E. O Wilson, Philip Caputo, Gilbert King, James McPherson, John and Mary Gribbin, Thomas Hoving, David Margolick, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., John Edgar Wideman, Stanley Crouch, Dan Rather, Dee Brown, Susie Bright, and Eleanor Clift. He is also the owner of Hudson-Chatham Winery, co-founder of the Hudson Berkshire Beverage Trail, and president of the Hudson Valley Wine Country.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Visit Vortex: Sweet Seduction - Fruit Wines of the Hudson Valley

Fruit wines have never been more popular. From cassis and apple wines, to strawberry, raspberry, cherry and peach, among others, these sweet wines are fantastic with a cheese course or with dessert, and add a lovely ending to a perfect experience.

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New York Post Raves About Five Distilleries in the Hudson Valley

5 great Hudson Valley distilleries to get your drink on

Pretentiously swirling a glass of pinot noir in a sunlit tasting room, while staring out at rolling hills of vineyards, has long been a lovely way to spend a weekend, but why should vino have all the fun?
In the past decade, the Big Apple’s craft-spirits scene has exploded, thanks to eased regulations and a growing thirst for small-batch booze.
There are now about 70 New York “farm distilleries” — where at least 75 percent of the raw materials come from within the state — up from less than a dozen a few years ago. Some of these distilleries even grow the grains and botanicals for their liquors to control everything that goes into the bottle, and many offer tours and charming tasting experiences.
Have a sip at one of these picturesque upstate spots.

Orange County Distillery

19B Maloney Lane, Goshen, NY
Modal TriggerOrange County Distillery co-owner John Glebocki (above) pulls some rye from his farm’s black dirt to use in his whiskey. Inset: Orange County Distillery’s vodka (left) is made from beets grown on the farm. Its bourbon is 88 percent corn.
Photo: Stefano Giovannini
“You eat local, now drink local” is the motto at this small upstart, which will celebrate its first anniversary later this month.
Co-founder John Glebocki is a fifth-generation vegetable farmer. He got the idea to start growing grains on a portion of his 120-acre Orange County property to make spirits after talking with his wife’s cousin, Bryan Ensall, at a party.
“Like all good ideas, it started with alcohol,” quips Ensall, who previously worked in insurance and lawn care.
All of the corn, barley, wheat and botanicals are grown right on the farm, a short walk from the barnyard tasting room, where you can sample the distillery’s gin, vodka and various whiskeys and see how it’s all made, right in the back, from crop to bottle.
Though the company is young, its spirits are served at the critically lauded Blue Hill at Stone Barns restaurant. They’re devoted to doing everything themselves, even malting their barley — a process by which the grain germinates after being soaked in water and then dried in hot air.
The area’s particularly rich “black dirt” is said to impart a special terroir on the spirits. “It finishes or starts with the earth tone; there’s a hint of the barn,” says Glebocki.
Try this: The unaged single malt whiskey is a clear spirit that has the peaty taste of Scotch without its complexity, making it a unique ingredient for cocktails.
Open Monday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m.; tastings are $4, fee waived with purchase of a bottle;

Hillrock Estate Distillery

408 Pooles Hill Road, Ancram, NY
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Hillrock owner Jeff Baker rakes malting barley which he says will turn into $60,000 worth of whiskey.Photo: Stefano Giovannini
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Baker with pooches Shadow (far left) and Storm.Photo: Stefano Giovannini
Jeff Baker, a finance guy who splits his time between the Upper East Side and a beautiful upstate house built in 1806 by a Revolutionary War general, only opened his distillery in 2010, but already he’s racked up accolades, including numerous medals from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
It helps that he’s got Dave Pickerell on his team. Pickerell spent 14 years working as the master distiller for Maker’s Mark before leaving the company to make small-batch spirits.
“They can make in a day what we can do in a year,” Pickerell says.
All of the organic barley, rye and corn are grown right on the hilly, picturesque 250-acre farm.
“When you’re in the tasting room, you’re looking out at the field your whiskey was grown in,” says Baker.
Hillrock recently started malting its own barley in a stately barn built just for the purpose. The process takes three to four days, with one ton of barley, spread out across a cement floor, raked every six to eight hours like a Zen garden.
“It’s pretty labor intensive,” says Baker. “It’s kind of a lost art.”
Try this: The solera-aged bourbon is made using a process usually reserved for sherry, in which the aging barrels of booze are only ever partially emptied and then topped off repeatedly with unaged spirits every few years.
E-mail to arrange tours and tastings;
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Dave Pickerell was a master distiller for Maker’s Mark before joining Hillrock Estate.Photo: Stefano Giovannini

Hudson Valley Distillers

1727 Route 9, Clermont, NY
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Stacy Cohen and husband Monte Sachs offer a fun and funky vibe at their place.Photo: Stefano Giovannini
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Photo: Stefano Giovannini
Located on a route strewn with wineries, this unpretentious newcomer offers easygoing good times. There’s a bar and outdoor courtyard called the Cocktail Grove where visitors can wile away their day and enjoy drinks like the Nonny Rose ($10), made from the distillery’s own applejack, pomegranate juice, maple syrup and lemon juice.
“The whole idea with this place is to be a destination, where you can sit around for a few hours,” says Chris Moyer, who founded the distillery in April 2014 after working as a CPA for years in Virginia.
While the distillery does do a bourbon, it focuses more on vodka, gin and applejack — a high-proof spirit made from apples that was popular in Colonial times and is back in vogue with cocktail geeks. The distillery is housed in a 100-year-old red barn, and Moyer has a knack for explaining the spirits-making process in a simple, easy-to-understand manner on group tours.
He currently grows on-site only the botanicals for his gin, but Moyer hopes to grow apples on his own 12 acres in the coming years.
“I’d like to have every inch of this farm planted,” he says.
Try this: Hudson Valley Distillery makes three applejacks. Two are aged and caramel-colored, per usual, but there’s also a unique unaged applejack, with clear apple notes and a slightly oily mouthfeel.
$10 for a tour and tasting on Friday through Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.;

Catskill Distilling Company

2037 Route 17B, Bethel, NY
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Stacy Cohen and husband Monte Sachs offer a fun and funky vibe at their place.Photo: Stefano Giovannini
Right across the road from the site of the original Woodstock festival, this charming distillery boasts a restaurant called the Dancing Cat Saloon in a beautiful old Victorian house, a smaller cafe and bar, a sculpture garden, and a slightly psychedelic aesthetic. But that’s not to say they’re not serious about their whiskey making.
Co-owner Monte Sachs is a horse veterinarian and a booze-maker, and he explains the chemical processes involved in distilling with science-class precision.
 - Catskill Distilling Company co-owner Monte Sachs
“It looks simple but the fine points of distillation are very difficult to understand — if not, everyone would make great whiskey,” says Sachs, who owns the place with wife Stacy Cohen, during a tour. The facility boasts custom-made copper stills imported from Germany and a huge barn of aging barrels of whiskey that almost intoxicates upon entry.
Italian native chef Pietro Bortolotti joined the team about a year ago, bringing sophisticated fare to the bar and restaurant, and he’ll whip up bites to pair with tastings. “The food is a combination of American, Italian and Latino influences,” he says. “The flavor [of the alcohol] is enhanced by what you eat.”
Try this: The One and Only Buckwheat is a rare whiskey made with 80 percent buckwheat. Slightly sweet with hints of vanilla and grain, it’s a bit like sipping a stack of pancakes.
Tours and tastings offered daily from noon to 6 p.m. at no cost;

Tuthilltown Spirits Distillery

14 Grist Mill Lane, Gardiner, NY
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Dawn Meola conducts a tasting with Becky Lachapelle and Ricky Hoffman from Connecticut (left) and Jeffrey Fuller and Evelyn Carrygan from Sunnyside, Queens.Photo: Stefano Giovannini
Opened in 2005, Tuthilltown Spirits, which helped launch New York’s craft-whiskey craze, claims it’s the state’s first whiskey distillery since Prohibition.
“We’re like the granddaddies,” quips Gable Erenzo, whose father, Ralph, is a co-founder.
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Tuthilltown’s cool Hudson Baby brand whiskey bottles often turn up in hip Brooklyn liquor stores.Photo: Stefano Giovannini
The operation is slick and homey. There’s a visitors’ center, a large tasting room and gift shop selling the distillery’s popular whiskeys — which have become ubiquitous at Brooklyn booze shops — as well as other spirits, apparel and even barrels so you can age your own booze.
The Tuthill House at the Mill restaurant sits right on the banks of the rushing Shawangunk Kill, and is housed in a mill from the 1770s.
It serves elegant fare, like pan-seared duck breast with warm cabbage salad ($23), and cocktails. There are even plans to open a bed-and-breakfast on the 36-acre property in the fall. “Everything you need is right on-site,” says Erenzo.
Try this: A special division of “Research &Development” spirits are available only at the distillery. The cacao liqueur is surprisingly subtle and tasty.
Tours are offered hourly from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday for $10; advanced booking recommended;

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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Herald Record: Shawangunk Pasta Primo Vino April 11 & 12, 2015

A Taste of Hudson Valley Wine Country
For the Times Herald-Record
by Beth Kalet
Posted Apr. 10, 2015 at 2:01 AM
It’s time again for Pasta Primo Vino, a tradition of the Shawangunk Wine Trail that marries local wines with pasta dishes and invites tasters to visit any or all of the 14 vineyards this weekend for a sampling and a snack.

“It’s always fun to see how people receive our wine,” says MaryEllen Glorie. She and her husband, Doug, are the Glories behind Glorie Farm Winery in Marlboro. She’s also president of the Shawangunk Wine Trail, the organization that supports the collection of Hudson Valley wineries, large and small, that make up the trail.

While winery owners are busy with the typical chores of their trade – Glorie says her winery is currently bottling its 2014 Peach Wine – they’re also preparing for this first-of-the-season event. Vineyard owners have selected their pasta recipes and there’ll be a lot of cooking going on for the 400 to 600 or more visitors who will stop by during Pasta Primo Vino. At Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery, they’re putting on extra staff to assist visitors for this event, says Jeremy Kidde, co-owner. At his location, like the others, the winery will remain open to all visitors during the weekend. “We set up a table separately from the rest of the dining area” to accommodate Pasta Primo Vino visitors, Kidde says. It can get quite busy.

It’s a tasty two-way street. For wine enthusiasts and for those who love knowing about all that the region has to offer, it’s an exploration. “It’s a good time to learn a little bit about how each wine differs,” says Tiffany Robibero Selby. She’s vice president of the Wine Trail and an owner of the Robibero Family Winery.

“It’s great for us,” says Glorie. “My winery is closed January, February and March, (as are some of the others on the trail) so one of the intents of having Pasta Primo Vino in April is that it gets people out and back to the wineries. Wakes everybody back up. It’s a great day out in the Hudson Valley, when things are starting to green up (and) it’s starting to get a little warmer.”

How it works
A two-day pass for Pasta Primo Vino permits a leisurely trek from vineyard to vineyard. One-day passes are available too. There’s a special rate for the designated driver, who can expect pasta and a non-alcoholic beverage at the wineries. Ticket holders will sample four wines at each vineyard, including one that has been pre-selected and paired with a pasta dish. At least one site, Adair Winery in New Paltz, is serving a gluten-free pasta.

Advanced ticket sales are closed now but tickets can be purchased at the wineries. The event can begin at any of the 14 vineyards on the tour, where a souvenir Wine Trail glass comes with ticket purchase.

What’s new
Besides tasting some of the region’s top local vintages, it’s also a chance to be among the very first to sample the new releases. “These feature grapes harvested from local vines as recently as last October, and highlight the bright, fresh flavors of the Hudson Valley’s whites which, unlike the reds, do not require time in the barrel to age and soften,” according to the folks at Shawangunk Wine Trail.
At Glorie Farm, they’re currently bottling their newest vintage, Peach Wine, which will be available for tasting this weekend. It includes a mixture of 75 percent New York state peaches and 25 percent from beyond. “Most everything in our bottles was grown here on our farm,” says MaryEllen Glorie.
In New Paltz, the Robibero family also has been busy bottling. “We usually release our 87 North during this event, which is our most popular wine.” Named after the New York State Thruway, this wine won best white in the Hudson Valley in September at the Hudson Valley Wine Competition, says Tiffany Robibero Selby.

But they are not the only area winemakers whose vintages have won and continue to win awards. Check the Wine Trail website for more information or visit the individual wineries to sample for yourself.

Shawangunk Wine Trail wineries
Adair Vineyards, 52 Allhusen Road, New Paltz,
Applewood Winery, 82 Four Corners Road, Warwick,
Baldwin Vineyards, 176 Hardenburgh Road, Pine Bush,
Benmarl Winery, 156 Highland Ave., Marlboro,
Brimstone Hill Vineyard, 61 Brimstone Hill Road, Pine Bush,
Brotherhood, America’s Oldest Winery, 100 Brotherhood Plaza Drive, Washingtonville,
Clearview Vineyard, 35 Clearview Lane, Warwick,
Demarest Hill Winery & Distillery, 81 Pine Island Turnpike, Warwick,
Glorie Farm Winery, 40 Mountain Road, Marlboro,
Palaia Vineyards & Winery, 10 Sweet Clover Road, Highland Mills,
Robibero Winery, 714 Albany Post Road, New Paltz,
Stoutridge Vineyard, 10 Ann Kaley Lane, Marlboro,
Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery, 114 Little York Road, Warwick,

Whitecliff Vineyard, 331 McKinstry Road, Gardiner,

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Rip Van Winkle Wine & Food Festival Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Rip Van Winkle Wine Festival will be held at
Historic Catskill Point
1 Main Street
Catskill, NY 12414
Phone: 5188104670

May 9, 2015 (Sat) from 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Celtic Festival at Palaia Vineyards June 20, 2015

Palaia Winery is pleased to announce its first annual CELTIC FESTIVAL on June 20th – 12:00-6:00 $10/person kids under 12 free.  With the cooperation of AOH of Orange County, the AOH pipers will start it out at 12:00 with a grand entrance – then follows Irish step dancers, music performances including “Celtic Cross”, The Rose of Tralee and more.  Enjoy local Artist and vendors on the grounds with plenty of Beer, Wine, Hard Cider, Mead and more Beer.  Bouncy Slide for the kids as well as wagon rides thru the vineyard all day.  The tasting room in the barn will be open for tastings and more music.  Food is available from Rambers Rest, a local Irish/American restaurant in Monroe.  If you go: Palaia Winery is easy to find – we are located on Route 32 and Seaman Court Road in Highland Mills, NY. Exit 16 off the NYS Thruway and just 5 miles North of the Woodbury Common Outlets on Rt.32, or 5 miles South of the light at Cornwall on 32.   845-928-5384 or

Monday, March 30, 2015

Hudson Valley Wines Wow American Wine Society of Northern New Jersey!

There will be a special wine tasting hosted by the NJ Meadowlands chapter and will take place at the Award winning wine school MAKE WINE WITH US located at 21 Currie Ave. Wallington, NJ (less than 2 miles from Giants Stadium).
March 26th Thursday 7:00pm- 9:00pm Hudson Valley Wines 

The event was hosted at MAKE WINE WITH US near the Meadowlands in New Jersey. A great pace with state of the art facilities. I tasted some their wines. Great stuff! Had an absolute ball! If you want to make wine and live in New Jersey, this would be a great place.

Danny Klein was our host. He's the regional VP of the American Wine Society, and an all around great guy. I have met Danny at numerous events and we always seem to hit it off. He's an incredibly accomplished guy and very knowledgeable about wine.

The tasting was also sponsored by the Hudson Valley Wine Country!

Here's part of the crowd assembling. More came to join.

For the whites were started off with:
True Thirst Hard Apple Cider
Hudson-Chatham Seyal Blanc Block 1 2013
Tousey Chardonnay 2013
Whitecliff Chardonnay Reserve 2013

All these wines were very well received. The True Thirst was a nice shocker for the crowd. This cider, made at Brotherhood in Washingtonville, NY, is a dry cider and many in the crowd compared it favorably with sparkling wine. The Hudson-Chatham Seyval was a nice surprise, as many in the crowd were not familiar with the grape. The two chardonnays were a big hit, and contrasted nicely - the Tousey was fresh and bright and the Whitecliff was extremely elegant with slightly more oak.

Tousey Pinot Noir 2013
Hudson-Chatham Baco Noir Old Vines 2013
Millbrook Cabernet Franc 2013
Whitecliff Estate Cabernet Franc 2013
Hudson-Chatham Empire 2012
Brookview Station Estate Frontenac

The crowd loved the red wines from the Hudson Valey! Tousey Pinot was a big favorite, and the Hudson-Chatham Baco was a real crowd pleaser. Both Cabernet Francs, from Millbrook and from Whitecliff, were both very, very impressive. The Hudson-Chatham Empire was another favorite, and the Frontenacwas the sleeper. Again, few had ever had it, but compared it to a blend of Syrah and Petite Verdot. It showed beautifully!

It was a very successful tasting, and many said they would be up in the spring and summer to sample more wines in the valley. A great time was had by all, and I could not have been more excited!