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.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Ben Feder, Owner of Clinton Vineyards, Passes Away

I was having lunch just a week or two ago with the highly renowned literary agent Robert Lescher. Bob represents people like Calvin Trillin, Robert M. Parker Jr., Matt Kramer, MFK Fisher, and many, many others.

He and I were talking about food and wine. The conversation always seems to end up there when we get together. He was reminiscing about the days when he would come up to Dutchess County, and spend time with friends, and visit his friend Ben Feder at Clinton Vineyards.

I was perplexed. What would Robert Lescher and Bed Feder possibly have in common? As Bob told me, my eyes widened. I had only known Ben Feder as the grand Old Man of the Hudson Valley wine world. As a fellow farmer and winemaker I was a fan of Ben’s and his was one of the wineries that convinced me that I too should take a chance, and work the valuable and generous soils of this lush valley.

Bob explained that for more than two decades Ben and his design group had been one of the most sought after firms in publishing for every big book of the 1950s and 1960s. Editors signaled to their sale force that books were important because the brass had put in for Feder and his team to take the book, design wise, to the next level. His involvement in a project signaled the book’s importance to the company. To some extent, I thought to myself, as only a young man can, Ben Feder was the Chip Kidd of his day. And then after some thinking, it is in fact the reverse, is it not?

Ben Feder was a boy from the Bronx who attended DeWitt Clinton. Ben’s father was a cellist with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra under Arturo Toscanini. Ben graduated from the Parsons School of Design and studied painting in Paris and Venice. Ben became a highly prized graphic artist and book designer, whose work was highly sought out. He became the president of Countrywide Properties, a real-estate development and management company in New York. His first two marriages ended in divorce.

Ben Feder moved came to the Hudson Valley in 1969, the same year as Woodstock, and purchased a rundown 100-acre dairy farm. He was in his mid-to-late 40s. Ben and the cows didn’t seem to get along.

“At the time, though, he lived in New York City where he worked as a graphic designer, spending only weekends at his Clinton Corners home. When a local farmer offered to care for the property in exchange for his pasturing his 36 head of Angus, Feder agreed. Later, Feder acquired the herd as pay-back for a debt owed him by the farmer,” wrote Bonnie Langston in the Daily Freeman in 2008.

“Suddenly, this boy from the Bronx had 36 Black Angus cattle,” Ben said. “To make it short, they didn’t really care for me, and I didn’t care for them.”

“Intrigued by making wine, Ben sought advice from fellow winemaker Herman Wiemer who made wine for Walter S. Taylor at the Bully Hill Vineyard and then went off to make his own prize winning Riesling in the Finger Lakes. Advice to Ben was to grow Seyval Blanc, a French-American hybrid grape that does well in the harsh climate of the Northeast. The cows left their pasture and grapes were planted. Ben’s first vintage was in 1977, the year after Gov. Hugh L. Carey put through a farm winery bill permitting small wineries to sell direct to customers, retailers and restaurants,” wrote Langston. Ben was one of the new, young wave of winemakers, the first farm winery crowd, along with several others.

In June of 1989, at Radio City Suite at the Rainbow Room, Phyllis Rich Flood and Ben Feder were married. The ceremony was performed by Rabbi Robert E. Goldburg. Both were divorcees, however, the two remained wed for 30 years.

"Ben was a pioneer and visionary in the Hudson Valley wine industry and will be terribly missed. My deepest sympathy to Phyllis and the family," said Michael Migliore of the Hudson Valley Wine & Grape Association.

I recently saw Ben Feder at the Hudson Valley awards dinner, as we all did, where he was awarded a Life Time Achievement Award for his work in winemaking in the Hudson Valley. He was a pioneer. I did not know him well personally, but I admired him, and what he had built. And I wanted to say something that was true, that was meaningful, and I think I did.

I am in the Hudson Valley because of Ben Feder. Because of what he accomplished. He established a working vineyard farm n the valley, and he made good wine. And because of what he accomplished, he made it a little easier for the next wave of us. Every winemaker should aspire to so much.
Thank you Ben Feder.

Friday, September 18, 2009


The 2009 Hudson Valley Wine & Food Festival, held at Rhinebeck was a wonderful success, with Hudson Valley wineries in attendance, as well as those from the Finger Lakes.

Here are photos from a few familiar faces and wineries.

Attendance was excellent, and many of the wineries were very happy with sales.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


September 12th & 13th, 2009
Dutchess County Fairgrounds - Rhinebeck, NY
Saturday 11am-6pm, Sunday 11am-5pm

The Hudson Valley Wine & Food Fest is a celebration of wine, food, music and fun all set within the beauty of the Hudson Valley. The Fest offers the opportunity to sample hundreds of wines from all over New York and the World, taste culinary delicacies from the Valley's best restaurants and caterers, learn the secrets of celebrity chefs and wine experts, as well as shop for gourmet specialty foods, fine crafts and listen to live music.

During the Fest weekend you can sample special dishes in the Gourmet Food Showcase and take part in lots of free cooking demonstrations and wine seminars. You can also enjoy live music and other special performances while relaxing in our Music Tent.
Wine Education Seminars
Educate your mind, nose and palate at the free wine education seminars that take place throughout the Wine & Food Fest weekend. Join regionally and nationally recognized wine authorities for free wine education. You'll learn about choosing, serving, tasting and storing wine as well as other fun wine facts.

Michael Green
Michael Green is Gourmet's wine & spirits consultant and has worked in the wine and spirits trade in the capacities of educator, marketer, importer, writer, consultant, and retailer for more than 20 years. He is a frequent guest on the Food Network and has made numerous appearances on CNN, CBS Marketwatch, Fox News, MSNBC, NPR, Clear Channel and the Fine Living Channel.

Michael is the wine editor for Trump Magazine and—a partnership of Newsweek and Washington Post interactive. He has been profiled in many national publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Fortune, and Business Week. His company, the Liquid Assets Consulting Group, uses wine and food as a tool to create strategic initiatives and marketing solutions for a wide range of Fortune 500 and luxury goods clients. Michael is a member of the Society of Wine Educators, the New York Association of Cooking Teachers, and is on the Boards of Share Our Strength and the American Institute of Wine and Food. He is a proud graduate of New York's High School of Performing Arts and is a Phi Beta Kappa Graduate of the University of Virginia. Michael is a passionate and enthusiastic advocate for the wine and spirits industry and presents at conferences, wine and food festivals, and charity auctions around the world. He is also the creator and co-writer of Wine Lovers, the world's first interactive wine tasting musical, which will begin a national tour in 2009. He contributed wine notes to Sara Moulton Cooks at Home, which was nominated for a James Beard award.

All Wine Tasting Seminars will be held in Building D

12:00PM-12:45PM - Michael Green, Seminar TBD3:30PM-4:15PM - Michael Green, East Meets West

3:00PM-3:45PM - Guest Speaker, Wine Seminar

Cooking Demonstrations
Learn the cooking secrets of your favorite regional chefs. Attend one or all of the fabulous free cooking demonstrations throughout the Fest weekend. Our guest chefs own some of the Hudson Valley's finest restaurants, have cooking shows on the Food Network, PBS and have published cookbooks.

Chef Vincent Tropepe
Chef Vincent Tropepe is a renowned chef from Brooklyn, New York. He studied Culinary and Pastry Arts and Restaurant Management at the Art Institute of New York . Upon graduating from his class, Chef Tropepe was hired as a line cook at a popular Bensonhurts Brooklyn restaurant. It was here that Chef Tropepe proved himself with his understanding of fine food, food trends and the restaurant industry. He exceeded all expectations of the owner and quickly rose to the top as an executive chef at the young age of 20 years old.

Chef Tropepe has served as a personal chef for Michael Bolton and a business chef for such names as former first lady Hilary Clinton, former New York City Mayor, Rudy Giuliani, baseball legend Phil Rizzutto and hip hop producer P. Diddy and more.

Jennifer Day
As Gourmet's chef de cuisine, Jennifer Day has spent the past eight years working side- by-side with Gourmet executive chef Sara Moulton. In this role, Jennifer plans menus for Gourmet Private Dining Room events, lunches, and dinners; sources ingredients; finds new purveyors; manages the kitchen staff; and assists in cooking classes for clients. Additionally, she is responsible for much of the testing, development, and adaptation of recipes and programming for special advertising sections and Gourmet signature events, such as The Gourmet Institute. She also tests recipes for A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, in Sydney, Australia, Jennifer is also the proud owner of Zest Caterers.

All Cooking Demonstrations will be held in Building DCooking stage provided by Carl Scheidel Co. & Viking

1:00PM-1:45PM - Chef Vincent Tropepe, Pan Seared Halibut with Mashed Potatoes, bacon wrapped asparagus and pineapple salsa Stuffed figs with gorgonzola dolce with prosciutto de parma2:00PM-2:45PM - Jennifer Day, Cooking Demonstration with Kashi4:30PM-5:15PM - Jennifer Day, Cooking Demonstration with Spice Islands

12:00PM-12:45PM - Chef Vincent Tropepe, Puff Pastry Gallette with Fried Tomatoes, Mozzarella, Pesto Pasta with White Clam Sauce,Pita stuffed eggplant salad with sesame garlic fried rice1:30PM-2:15PM - Jennifer Day, Cooking Demonstration TBD

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Charles Derbyshire Spreading the Good News About Hudson Valley Wine

Recently, the Hudson Valley county fairs have ben in full swing. And none is more popular than the Duthess County Fair.

The fair has lots o offer, with both traditional fair foods (sausage, hotdogs, fried dough) and the more exotic (artisianal cheeses, home made beef jerky, jams, etc.).

We saw many cool things....but the coolest was Charles Derbyshire of Old Mill Wine & Spirits doing a wine tasting in one of the exhibit halls, showing off Hudson Valley wines.
Charles owns Old Mill Hill WInes & Spirits in in Rhinebeck, and donated his time to do free tastings of Hudson Valley wines at Rhinebeck at the Fair.
The lectures and tastings were free...and well attended.
Thank you Charles.
Old Mill Wine & Spirits
6390 Mill Street
Rhinbeck, NY 12572
845 876 5343