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 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.


Blogger Ken Lifshitz said...

Thanks for this great article.

7:47 PM  

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