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, November 30, 2008

Locapour is Our New Word for 2009

Locapour is a word describing someone who drinks wine from a local radius, whatever that self-imposed restriction is, in order to support local farming and economy. The word is based on the word locavore.

A locavore is someone who eats food grown or produced locally or within a certain radius such as 50, 100, or 150 miles. The locavore movement encourages consumers to buy from farmers’ markets or even to produce their own food, with the argument that fresh, local products are more nutritious and taste better. Locally grown food is an environmentally friendly means of obtaining food, since supermarkets that import their food use more fossil fuels and non-renewable resources.

"Locavore" was coined by Jessica Prentice from the San Francisco Bay Area on the occasion of World Environment Day 2005 to describe and promote the practice of eating a diet consisting of food harvested from within an area most commonly bound by a 100 mile radius. "Localvore" is sometimes also used.

The New Oxford American Dictionary chose locavore, a person who seeks out locally produced food, as its word of the year 2007.[6] The local foods movement is gaining momentum as people discover that the best-tasting and most sustainable choices are foods that are fresh, seasonal, and grown close to home. Some locavores draw inspiration from the The 100-Mile Diet or from advocates of local eating like Barbara Kingsolver whose book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle chronicles her family's attempts to eat locally. Others just follow their taste buds to farmers' markets, community supported agriculture programs, and community gardens.

"[The] Locapour trend seems to be accelerating despite the country’s economic woes and dismal outlook, according to a recent report from The Nielsen Company which tracks alcohol beverage sales nationally," saysJim Tresize of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation. "There are several reasons for optimism: Despite the troubling economy, U.S. consumers are generally reluctant to cut back on beer, spirits, and especially wine, making it somewhat recession-resistant compared with other products. American wines have become more price-competitive because of recent changes in currency exchange rates, forcing importers to raise their prices. In tough economic times, Americans are psychologically more inclined to support local and U.S. products, and domestic wines are now growing more rapidly than imports. Wines from outside of California have also been gaining market share, reflecting the locapour trend. Unless the economy really tanks in the next few weeks, it is likely that consumers will consider wine an affordable indulgence for the holidays."

No matter the economic disaster ahead of us, and it seems we get bombarded with our own impending doom daily, locapour is my new word for the year 2009


Saturday, November 29, 2008

New York Times Features Palaia Vineyards & Hudson Valley Wineries

Where ws I that I missed this earlier in the month? Working the Albay wine show. But I still should have seen this.

Congratulations to Palaia Vineyards, Michael Migliore, and Debbie L. Gioquindo (the Hudson Valley Wine Goddess). Congrats again to the Palaggi's! And congrats to all the Hudson Valley wineries.

The Winemakers | A Couple's Second Act
Homegrown Winery With Season’s Bounty
New York Times
Nov 7, 2008

Published: November 7, 2008

Susan Stava for The New York Times
Jan L. Palaggi working with grapes outside the production room at the winery.
IT was morning at the eastern foot of Schunnemunk Mountain, and another harvest was beginning at Palaia Vineyards, where two dozen workers snipped clusters of cabernet franc grapes.

The clusters bounced into gray plastic bins and jiggled. Steam curled from a section of traminette vines, and the sun teetered on a ridge to the east. For a moment it seemed it would roll south. Instead, the sun heaved into the sky and kindled the valley.

“This is a great life,” said Jan L. Palaggi, 50, the vineyard’s co-owner and manager. “You couldn’t ask for a better lifestyle. You’re outdoors, you’re your own boss and it’s fun.”

Ms. Palaggi was sitting in a dentist’s office in Harriman in 1994 when she read a magazine article that urged readers to think hard about what they wanted to do with their lives. Ms. Palaggi, who made custom window treatments, then planted 18 grapevines in her front yard.

“I wanted to see if I could grow grapes,” she said.

After a few years, she and her husband and now co-owner, Joe J. Palaggi, 50, looked for some land. “We drove past this on the way home to Monroe, and there was this for-sale sign up,” she said.

The 10-acre vineyard is situated along the eastern benchlands of Woodbury Creek near the New York State Thruway in Orange County. In 2000, the Palaggis bought the land, which included a house and other buildings on 42 acres, but the field where the vines are now was choked with weeds like dandelions, plantain and Queen Anne’s lace. “It was just a nasty field,” she said last month.

Palaia Vineyards is in the Hudson River Region American Viticultural Area, where about 430 acres of grapes produce about 1,000 tons of fruit each year. Soils range from loamy to limestone to clay, all well drained and appropriate for native American, French-American and cold-weather vinifera grapes. The region extends from the Shawangunk Mountains across the Hudson into Dutchess and Westchester Counties.

The region has at least 39 open wineries, said Michael J. Migliore, president of the Hudson Valley Wine and Grape Association. Mr. Migliore, who also works with commercial wineries, said that more people had been interested in opening wineries in his region over the last 10 years, partly because they saw opportunities to sell to the affluent New York City markets.

“I would say we’re probably adding two wineries a year,” he said. And he said that he didn’t think the current economic downturn would have any impact on the number of wineries opening now, and that it was unlikely to affect those expecting to open within the next two years because planning is made so far in advance.

Like other areas in the New York region, the Hudson Valley has been trying to find ways to lure wine tourists, who usually spend more money on lodging and dining than other tourists do.

“We want to bring people to the Hudson Valley for the wine, but there is more to do here as well,” said Debbie L. Gioquindo, director of Hudson Valley Wine Country, which promotes the region’s wine, nature, history and dining.

Read the rest of the story at:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Brookview Station Winery Releases ’08 Pear Wine

The Long Awaited Release of the Award Winning Brookview Station “Oh, What a Pear” pear wine and new vintage “Whistle Stop White” – apple wine was released on November 15th 2008.

"“Oh What a Pear” was first introduced in December 2005 as limited production wine. Since then we have increased the production and each year it sells out.” says Sue Goold Miller, owner of the Brookview Station Winery.

Brookview Station Winery is the first winery in Rensselaer County.

Brookview Station Winery produces 6 award winning wines using fruits from their home farm, Goold Orchards and locally grown Hudson Valley fruits.

Their flagship wine “Whistle-Stop White” a semi-dry apple wine was honored as 2007’s Best Hudson River Region Wine as has 7 gold medals to its credit.

“Pomona” an apple-pear wine, also with numerous medals to its credit, was honored as 2008’s Best Hudson River Region Fruit Wine.

Lotta Bing is a great wine for the Holidays...a great after dinner dessert wine! Tremendous! A personal favorite!

The Brookview Station Winery at Goold Orchards is located at
1297 Brookview Station Rd Castleton, NY 518-732-7495
Tasting Room is Open Year Round and offers wine tastings daily from 10-5pm.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Demarest Hills Porto Fino and Grappa!

Neslted in the bucolic hills of Warwick Valley, lies the vineyard of Francesco Ciummo. . .also known as Demarest Hills Winery.

Francesco Ciummo is a robust Italian man with a thick accent, and he loves when someone walks into his winery. He'll pour you anything you want to taste. I haven't been there in a while, but someone was kind enough to bring me two wines that are well worth remembering:

1. Demarest Hills Porto Fino

Very, very smooth. Truly, one of the better ports of the east coast!

2. Demarest Hills Grappa

Smooth, strong, the white lghtening of Italy and Greece! Wow! Very nice!

Both are great for the sip with friends and family after dinner.

According to the winery's blog, "As a young man, Francesco tended the family vineyards in Molise, Italy, learning the intricate skill of wine making from his father. He toiled long and hard in these humble surroundings, and he set out to build his dream. After tears of backbreaking labor in countries all over the world, Francesco finally settled in America. Here he used his hard-earned money to purchase a large tract of land in Warwick, New York, where his vision began to take shape."

When asked why he makes wine, Francesco responds: "It's the people. When they take a sip of my wine and smile, that's my reward. If they didn't smile, I don't think I would make wine anymore."

Go, and make Francesco and yourself happy!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Silverstream Winery - Great Wines in Orange County

Ken Lifshitz is a good guy. Heay be a little obsessed by softball (a past passion of his), but his new passion, luckily for us, is wine. Ken's story is a great one. He has taken what's left of a farm that has been in family's possession and returned it to the agricultural map (much to the chagrin of a few, obstinant locals).

"Well,I had never wanted to raise corn, or fly planes or run a lumberyard so after college, I, Sam's grandson, joined the Merchant Marine," wrote Ken Lifshitz. By the time he returned from the sea in 1983, all but 11 acres of the family farm's land had been sold off for development. "I decided the hillside was a perfect spot for a vineyard. Luckily for me, this 11 acres was a well drained South West facing hillside. So in 1989 I moved my family up here, supporting us by computer programming jobs and started planting the first vines two years later."

Finally, in 1999 Ken and his wife Eva formed a business partnership named Silver Stream Winery and began to produce wines from the locally grown grapes.

Things dragged on in front of various government agencies until 2004, when the Orange County Legislature in a 6 to 5 vote, voted to allow the winery on the property. It was a whisker thin margin. It took another two years after that for the tasting room facility to be added because, 2003 and 2004 turned out to be disastrous years for grape producers in New York due to a number of odd weather events.

"Today there are five varieties grown here, Cabenet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Traminette and an Alsatian variety known by the tongue-twisting name of Gewurtztraminer and the tasting room is just about done. We are producing about 900 gallons of estate grown wines and about 600 gallons of other New York State varietals. We also make a vinegar that will knock you socks off and then hang 'em up on the bedpost."

Ken can be seen at events like the Bounty of the Hudson, the wine fest at Catskill, and numerous other places. And of course, he can be found at his winery.

Ken recently told the Warwick Advertiser newspaper, "I have a connection to this farm that goes back three generations,” Lifshitz said. “I want to preserve some of the character of the way Orange County was … to the quality of life here. In the future, if there’s going to be any economic base here, it’s going to be based on tourism. We’re offering a locally grown and made product. It’s bringing dollars into the community. We need things here that are sustainable.”

Wines To Try
2008 New York State Fair Bronze for their 2007 Cabernet Franc ('Franky Say Relax')

Black cherry, and marzipan flavors. Aged in American Oak. Will age five to ten years. No question, this is my favorite.

A great dessert wine!

Aged in American Oak for two years. Big fruity nose. Earthy, long finish. Will age well four to seven years.

Barrel aged. Light, aromatic wine with vanilla overtones. Drink in 1-4 years.

When you go to Chester, in Orange County, you must drop in and see Ken, talk softball and sea-faring, and drink wine. You'll have a ball...and you'll be happy you did.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lenndevours Talks Hudson Valley Baco Noir

Len Thompson of Lenndevours wrote a triple review of Baco Noirs from the Hudson River Region. It's a very worthwhile post, and talks about what is fast becoming a signature grape of the Hudson Valley.

The article drew instant comments, which are still ongoing. Here's the beginning of the article, then you'll have to go to his sight to read the rest.


November 11, 2008
Three Hudson Valley Baco Noirs
Last night, as a part of my Week of 3s project, I tasted three different Baco noir wines from three different Hudson Valley wineries.

These were actually the first Baco noirs I had ever tasted and after the tasting I'm still not sure that I quite know what to expect from the hybrid variety. They were all quite different.

So what is Baco noir exactly? It's a cross of Folle Blanche (a French vinifera wine grape) and an unknown American grape from the Vitis riparia family. It first created by French wine hybridizer Maurice Baco, so that's where the name comes from.

According to Wikipedia:

At one time Baco noir was commonly grown in France, but by European Union regulation, the commercial use of hybrid grape varieties is restricted. In 1951 the variety was brought to the cooler viticulture regions of the United States, such as New York, Michigan, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Oregon. In New York, there are an estimated 240 hectares of Baco noir currently grown.

As I sat down to taste these wines from Hudson-Chatham Winery, Warwick Valley Winery and Benmarl Winery, I had no idea what to expect. Most red hybrids don't hit my palate quite right, but I'm always opened minded.


The Hudson Valley Wine Goddess also joined in on the comment section, which is also worth reading.