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.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


Steve Osborn's Stoutridge Winery meeting rooms and banquet halls were filled and sparkling, as the Hudson Valley Wine and Grape Association celebrated its Award Winners yesterday afternoon.

The food and people were great, and the wine was wonderful! And everyone was there. Tables filled with wonderful parings dazzled the eye. Salmon and Balwin's Sparkling Wine, roast beef and Summit Oak Pinot Noir, mushrooms and Brotherhood Seyval Blanc, desserts and Warwick Valley's new cherry and appple liquors, and of course, many other wines at the tasting bar in the big hall.

Non-Commercial Award Winners

Steve Casscles

In a field of accomplished home-winemakers, Steve Casscles and Paul Denino fared the best. Both of these gentlemen are well known on the Hudson Valley winemaking scene. Steve's Chambourcin (Hudson River) won a Blue Ribbon, Tied for best Red Hybrid and Best of Show, Best Hudson River AVA Wine. He also won for his Chancellor '05, Red Ribbon for Red Hybrid and NY 64.533 ’04 (Hudson River), Red Ribbon for Red Hybrid.

Paul Denino's Chancellor '05 took home a Blue Ribbon, Tied for best Red Hybrid and Best of Show. He also took another for his Cayuga White, which won a Blue Ribbon for White Hybrid

Other standouts included such notable home vinters as Dave Ahlgren, Myles Weintraub (2),
Kathy Noble, Stephen Kistner, Dennis Desario, John Hudelson (A New York wine favorite) and Bruce Trip.

Commercial Winners

(Mike Migliore, Doug Glorie, Marc Stopke)

The room and patio were flooded with sunlight and warm spring weather. Much of the talk, with the recent thaw, turned towards pruning, and the winemakers were comparing vineyard notes. That's the best thing about one of these events - they're better than the Academy Awards. Here, you can chat with the winemakers, while sipping award winning wines. You think the Academy is going to let you back stage with Jennifer and Brad? I don't think so.

(Cesar Beaza and John Graziano)

The who's who of Hudson Valley wine showed up. John Graziano of Millbrook, John Bruno of Oak Summit, Cesar Beaza of Brotherhood, Marc Stopkie of Adair, Rick from Alison, Mike Migliore and wife Yancey of Whitecliff, Doug Glorie from Glorie Farms, Richard Lewit of Alison Wines, Steve Osborn of Stoutbridge, Kristop Brown from Benmarl, Jason Grizzanti from Warwick Valley Winery, and Ed and Sue Miller and almost the entire staff of Brookview Station (and well deservedly so).

(Brookview took home the top prize for their Semi-Sweet Apple, and many other wineries came away with lots of loot as well.)

While the award presentations were the reason for the Hudson River confab, the real message was absolutely clear - Hudson River wines have come a long way. Marc Stopke's Pesche was real evidence of that. If it came from California it would have already risen to cult wine status (actually, it's sold out every year early, so it already is getting there).

But the news of the day was that the quality of the wines was wonderful. Tremendous even. If you don't have a few bottles of Hudson River wine in your kitchen, diningroom or cellar, you need to start stocking up. Now!

Read more at:
Gran Awards:
Other Awards:

Saturday, March 17, 2007



The Hudson-Chatham Winery is the dream of Carlo and Dominique DeVito, both publishing professionals who have long shared a love of wine. This exciting new winery, which specializes in small hand-made batches of wine, is dedicated to the richness of the Hudson River Valley, particularly its wine, agriculture, literature, art, history, and many other attractions that make it a rich and special region. The Hudson-Chatham Winery, located between the historic towns of Hudson and Chatham, is the first winery in Columbia County.

As well as creating fine artisanal wines, the DeVito family (including two dogs), and many valued friends, have worked hard restoring the winery's grounds and its prestigious circa 1780 farmhouse. The winery will feature hand-crafted wines, cheese and desserts, and will include vineyards tours and a gazebo with scenic views.

A visit to the Hudson-Chatham Winery will inspire all your senses.

Hudson-Chatham Winery
1900 Route 66
Ghent, NY 12075
The winery opens in Summer 2007.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Columbia County Orchard Ventures into Cider and Vodka

Orchard grows vodka venture
Columbia County partners aim to tap a big market with apple-cider-distilled spirit
Albany Times Union
By ALAN WECHSLER, Business writer
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
VALATIE -- Derek Grout is taking his family's apple orchard in a new direction -- one with a much higher alcohol content.

Fifty years after his grandfather bought the Golden Harvest Farms on Route 9 in northern Columbia County, Grout has started a business to turn apple cider into apple-cider-distilled vodka.

It's not such a unique idea. In Vermont, Maine and the Hudson Valley town of Gardiner, vodka is being made from (respectively) maple syrup, potatoes and apple cider.

Seeking to get a piece of what has become, by far, the most popular spirit in the United States, 34-year-old Grout has started a business with a partner, Harvest Spirits LLC. They've invested $100,000 in a 25-foot-tall copper still that will arrive later this month. The two have already received a state license to make up to 30,000 gallons of thrice-distilled, neutral-tasting vodka.
"The Big Apple is only two hours away," Grout said. "All you need is for just 1 percent of New York City's vodka drinkers to pay attention to upstate products."

For sure, vodka is big. It makes up 28 percent of the nation's liquor market, which in total is worth $53.5 billion in 2005 retail sales, according to Seymour Leikind, a New York City-based liquor consultant.

"It's big and it's formidable," said Leikind of the vodka market. "Because it's so big, everyone's attracted to it, like bees to honey."

About 30 percent of the market comes from imports, he added, with new foreign brands being introduced every day.

Yet there are local vodka success stories. In Maine, Cold River Vodka has been selling its product, made from locally grown potatoes, for 16 months in eight states. Closer to New York, Vermont Spirits of St. Johnsbury sells its maple-sugar-distilled vodka throughout New England. The company also makes vodka from milk sugar.

"I was trying to figure out what we could do on our land here," said Duncan Holaday, president of Vermont Spirits. "I didn't want to make syrup, so I decided to make vodka."
Ralph Erenzo of Gardiner started selling vodka, whiskey and bourbon in the Hudson Valley a year ago, using locally brewed apple cider. That first year, he had more than $100,000 in sales, he said.

But it wasn't easy.

"It's a very difficult undertaking," he said about setting up the business. "It took us 2 years, and I have a fair amount of experience dealing with bureaucracy."

Grout, who practiced distilling with Erenzo before setting out on his own, said he's up for the challenge. A Cornell University graduate with a bachelor's degree in industrial labor relations, he worked in a number of fields before coming back to the farm to work under Alan Grout, his father, several years ago.

The elder Grout, 66, has agreed to lease part of a storage room to Harvest Spirits. The company will buy the cider directly from the farm, and the cider will then be distilled in a three-week process into vodka. Unlike apple wine, which a few New York orchards have started to make, the vodka will not retain the apple flavor.

Derek Grout and partner Tom Crowell of East Chatham have invested around $50,000 into the firm, with a $50,000 loan from Columbia County Economic Development Corp. To Grout, it was an opportunity to help the farm at a time when apple producers are facing stiffer competition. Big juice makers like Dole and Veryfine are buying frozen concentrate from China instead of from local growers. Golden Harvest sells some of its apples at a loss.

"It's better than dumping them in the field," he said.

Grout took a seminar in distilling several years ago. He'll continue to work on the farm, just as his partner Crowell will keep his day job working for the Columbia Land Conservancy. But the two hope to expand the business into apple brandy and other hard drinks.

"Like any business, it's somewhat of a leap of faith," Crowell said.

Alan Wechsler can be reached at 454-5469 or by e-mail at

Hudson Valley Food & Wine Experience to Benefit the Putnam/Northern Westchester Women's Resource Center Aprril 18, 2007

The general public is invited to enjoy the Hudson Valley's finest restaurants, wineries and artisan food and beverage producers to benefit The Putnam/ Northern Westchester Women's Resource Center, serving women and children who are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

This ninth annual Tasting Extravaganza will feature food and wine tasting, a silent auction and raffle drawing. Join the finest restaurants, wineries, artisans and florists for an evening to remember. Participants include The Bird & Bottle Inn and many other regional restaurants, caterers and gourmet food providers.

The event will take place on Wednesday, April 18, 2007 from 6-9pm at the Mahopac Golf Club, 601North Lake Boulevard, Mahopac.

The purpose is to raise funds for the Putnam/Northern Westchester Women's Resource Center, a not for profit organization providing services to Women and Children who are victims and or witness to domestic violence and sexual assault.

Call (845) 628-9284 for more information, or to make a reservation. The cost is $75 per person, all-inclusive.

For more information about the Putnam/Northern Westchester Women's Resource Center and the Hudson Valley Food & Wine Experience call (845) 628-9284 or email

Phyllis Feder of Clinton Vineyards Leads Charge for Hudson Valley Wine and Culinary Center

Group to study setting up wine, culinary center
Advocate: Private cash will be needed
By Sarah Bradshaw
Poughkeepsie Journal
Thursday, March 8, 2007

The future of a possible Hudson Valley wine and culinary center rests in the hands of private investors, according to Phyllis Feder, the woman spearheading the project.
The center would serve to advance agriculture, tourism, economic development and education in the region, but would need a significant investment, she said.

A $44,500 Empire State Development grant was given to New York Wine and Grape Foundation to conduct a planning study to explore the creation of the Hudson River Valley Wine & Culinary Center. Results are due in 90 days.

The wine and grape foundation chose the Hudson Valley region because of its proximity to New York, its small boutique wineries and quality food producers.

"The grant underscores the high regard that the Hudson Valley has held and agriculture and wine is seen as an area for enormous potential growth," said Feder, of Clinton Vineyards, in a news release by Dutchess County Tourism. Feder will chair the steering committee and Mary Kay Vrba, director of Dutchess County Tourism, will be vice chairwoman.

The committee also includes representatives from the public and private sectors, including from Adams Fairacre Farms, Dutchess County Economic Development Corporation, The Culinary Institute of America, Rivendell Winery and several local politicians. They will consider potential sites as well as partners and sponsors willing to invest in the project. But ultimately, money will be a determining factor.

"This is the kind of project that will require a lot of private support, but it is an investment that will really pay off big," Feder said. "We know that for every dollar invested in tourism there is a $7 return."

A similar center, the New York Wine & Culinary Center, opened in mid-June in Canandaigua in the Finger Lakes region thanks to a $7.5 million investment, including $1.5 million in state funds.
More than 21,000 people visited in the first month, according to the release. Those were people drawn to the tourism attraction's 40-seat demonstration theater, exhibit of New York foods, state-of-the-art kitchen for cooking classes, 20-seat private dining room, a "Taste of New York" lounge with drinks and food from New York and a demonstration garden.

"If there was a center here in the Hudson Valley, people could taste the wine and decide to go to the winery, see the vineyard and meet the winemaker. It would all connect and that's good for us," said David Bova, general manager of Millbrook Vineyards and Winery.

The center would also serve as an educational facility to ensure the future of farming in the region, the release said.

Reach Sarah Bradshaw at or 845-437-4811