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.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Announcing The Hudson Heritage White Program

The Hudson Valley Grape Growers Association has selected Seyval Blanc as the primary grape for wines that will qualify for the new designation, with Vignoles, Vidal or Cayuga White allowed for blending. In time consumers will see wines labeled "Hudson Heritage White" and the wine will be a light and easy-drinking white wine.

As you go wine tasting in the Hudson Valley you will run across a white wine called "Hudson Heritage White." This wine is available at many of the wineries. Although the same name, each winery will craft their own version of "Hudson Heritage White."

What does that mean...It is common practice in France for regions to have a clearly defined wine styles, with strict parameters established and enforced for grapes and blends that qualify. The growers in the Hudson Valley are using that platform to build their own identity and understanding for Hudson Valley Wines.

The purpose of Hudson Valley Wine & Grape Association is to increase the quality and quantity of wine and grape production in the Hudson Valley through education, knowledge, networking and cooperation. The membership consists of producers of grapes (wine, table or juice) and wines (grape and fruit) in the Hudson Valley whose product is defined by the unique macro climate and terrain of the Hudson Valley.
The Hudson Valley Wine & Grape Association demonstrates and highlights the quality of the region's grapes and wines and the growing interest the public has for them and wines from the valley's cool viticultural growing region.

Not all, but many of the wienries already made a seyval blanc. It was already a signature wine of the Hudson River Valley. But the idea is to help create a group of signature wines, already individually popular with consumers, in order to help people appreciate the wines coming from the valley.

A list of seyval blancs from the region will be another posting.

Hudson Valley Cornell Extension Hosts "Grape Sessions"

I returned to the scene of the crime - Scared Grape. That's the story where we went to our first Cornell sponosored sessions and they tried to scare us out of growing grapes.

Just yesterday I attended the 2008 Hudson Valley Commercial Fruit Grower's School run by the Hudson Valley Cornell University Cooperative Extension and the Hudson Valley Wine Grower's Association. The one in the same event.

The school runs all week, but "the Grape Sessions" were on Friday. And most of the winegrowers made appearances during different parts of the day. Mike Migliore from Whitecliff Vineyards, Susan Wine and Bob Ransom from Rivendell, Ceasar was there from Brotherhood, Mr. Graziano from Millbrook, John Bruno from Oak Summit, Benmarl's winemaker Kristop Brown, Rick Lewit from Alison Vineyards, Stephen Osborn from Stoutridge, Doug Glorie from Glorie Vineyards, and many others.

And of course the Cornell guys were there: Steve Hoying and John Huddleson, Dr. Tim Martinson, and Steve Lerch as well as the ever present Steve McKay.

As always its an informative group. One wonders why he or she is attending, thinking they know how to run their vineyards, and always comes away having learned something new. At least that's what the old timers say. I'm a newbie and I find it all fascinating. And it all scares the hell out of me everytime!

Planting and growing a vineyard is the hardest part of running the winery. It always seems a mircle we get fruit at the end of a season. Each year we look out at the field and wonder what disaster will befall us this season. Every year is a harrowing novel of "man versus nature," in which we luckily bumble through, and turn out great in the end. But the school in february always scares the heck out of me.

The Cornell folks are wonderful. They tell us about recent developments, hyrbrids, and insect updates. This year there was a seminar on cutting buds in the vineyards to take an early gage on vineyard health before pruning begins. Wayne Wilcox was there talking about leaf roll and necrosis. Andy Farmer was telling about how to plant individual plants in a vineyard. John Huddleson is one of the best friends of the Hudson Valley folks, and he was there extolling us with the virtues of several grapes. He and Steve Lerch were great in talking about the newest varieties coming out of the experimental station. Each man took some good natured ribbing.

It was a wonderful day, as much as any day spent in a Holiday Inn conference room can be. And of course, each session within the session makes you wonder why you got into this at all. It makes you want to look in the mirror as say to yourself, "PT Barnum said there was one of me born every minute."

And of course, we ended the day with the Hudson Valley Wine and Grape Association hosting a tasting of Hudson Valley Heritage wines and new hybrids. A lovely way to end the day.

We comisserated, laughed, and tried to tell each other it will be a good year. And I think we all truly believe it will be. After all, if you get into this business, it's only because you're an unrepentant optimist.