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

My Photo

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 29, 2009


THE VALLEY TABLE (December- February) highlighted the successes of the distillers of the Hudson Valley - Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery (brandies, cordials and eau de vie); Tuthilltown Distillers (whiskey, bourbon, rye); and Harvest Spirits (apple vodka; apple jack).

The magazine also did a nice profile of Ben Feder, formerly of Clinton Vineyards, who recently passed way. There was also a wonderful story about the Xaviers Restaurant Group's visit to Cesar Baeza and Brotherhood Winery. And they also did a nice write up of Hudson-Chatham's Empire 2007.


Edible Hudson Valley highlighted Harvest Spirits in the Fall 2009 issue. The magazine raved about Core Vodka and the other hand-crafted spirits being made by Tom Crowell and Derek Grout.

Cingrats to Tom and Derek and all the folks at Harvest Spirits!


Amtrak's Arrive magazine highlighted in its December 2009 issue America's oldest continually operating winery, Brotherhood, run by the always gentlemanly and friendly Cesar Baeza, an accomplished winemaker and executive. Cesar leads a incredibly experienced and friendly staff.

Congrats to the folks at Brotherhood!


Hudson-Chatham Winery's 2007 Baco Noir Reserve Casscles Family Vineyard recieved a rave review in the November/December issue of Edible Manhattan, comparing the wine to an Italian Barbera.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Andrea Jacoby and Marjorie Adams took dozens of photographs from each wine region, and Elaine Riordan wrote down each of their stories.
Cinder and Chief from the Hudson-Chatham Winery.

Sullivan from Glorie Farm Winery

Abby from Millbrook

Stonewall from Warwick Valley Winery

A great book!!!!! A great holiday present!!!!!!
Now available at participating wineries!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Michael Migliore always had a fascination with wine. Both his German and Italian grandfathers made wine at home. It was on their dinner table every night. In 1975, Michael bought a small amount of land in the Hudson Valley. He graduated in 1978 from a SUNY, New Paltz, graduate program, where he studied organic chemistry. In that same year, he took a job at IBMwhere he was trained as a semiconductor engineer. However, the call of the farm was strong, and began planting vines in 1979.

Today, he is the owner, with his wife, Yancey, of Whitecliff Vineyards. He is also the President of the Hudson Valley Wine and Grape Association. Recently, Whitecliff was reviewed very favorably by the Wall Street Journal.

“I wanted to do some farming, and this area was historically a grape-growing region supplying New York City,” Michael has explained. “You don't have to be a physical organic chemist to be a winemaker, but it certainly helps.”In the first few years, their production was around 500 cases a year. Now they are one of the leading wineries in the Hudson Valley. Here’s a quick interview with Mike, on where the Valley has been and where it’s going. And a selection of the best in category wines of the Hudson Valley.

What is the biggest challenge facing wine in your valley today?
The biggest challenge facing the region is acceptance. Acceptance of the region as a quality wine region and destination.What is the difference between wine in your Region from ten years ago to today?Quality. and diversity. There is much more quality vinifera wine than there was 10 years ago. Millbrook winery led the way and Today those high standards are evident in much of the wine produced in the valley.

Where do you think wine in your region will be 10 years from now?
Ten years from now, I think the valley will be known for quality wines of uniform style and consistancy. And I think the valley will be a major wine and food destination, like Napa Valley or the Willamette valley in Oregon. There will be one Hudson Valley not several trails. I think there are a lot of similarities with the Hudson Valley and the Hunter Valley outside Sydney, Australia. The Hunter Valley is a fertile growing region just outside a major city. Our Valleys have a lot in common.

What’s the trend in wine in your region that has surprised you the most in the last two-to-five years?
In the last two-to-fives years, in my consulting business, I have seen a number of people from Texas and California, for example, who want to establish facilities here in the Hudson Valley. They want to establish production, grape growing, hotels, bars, restaurants, etc. These are total destination type places. Land in the Hudson Valley is cheap compared to Napa and it’s in close proximity to New York City. Winemakers in the valley are buying grapes from around the state because there are not enough grape growers producing wine grapes for the wineries in the region.

Is there a new trend you expect to see in the next two-to-three years?
I see an increase of 10% in the number of wineries in the next two-to-three years. But I also see increase in overall production in the valley. I can count four new properties in production now. The number of wineries will continue to increase. Some people come here wanting to open wineries. Others are open to growing and selling grapes in the near term. I also see the valley getting a repution as the nations hand crafted distillate center because of the innovative work coming out of Tuttletown , Warwick, Stoutridge and others.

As a wine maker last five years, I have seen a lot of improvements. One is a complete catalog of yeasts that are tuned into the grape varietals I deal with here in the valley. All of that was not available 20 or even 10 years ago. Low temperture fermenting yeasts are now available to us. With all the improvements, we now have the ability to better capture the capabilities of the grapes. There is also the recognition of new yeasts that require different nutriative values to keep them going, but offer new ways to express the fruit. There are new stemmer crushers that gently handle fruit and allow whole cluster fermentations.

Michael with Bob Barrow of Brotherhood

How big a part do festivals and farm markets play in your state‘s wine distribution?
We do farmers’ markets more and more every year. It’s important in terms of revenue, but it’s also promotion. We don’t bring all our wines. It’s like a teaser. We hand out a discount card tothe customers. We want to draw them into the tastingroom.

Festivals are great. Some are more costly to do and so are less profitable. But they are a great tool to spread the word.

Wine sales are increasing. I was worried with the recession. But people are staying home more, entertaining at home more. They are into all things local, especially for entertaining at home. They’re buying more and more of our wines at stores, farm markets, and wineries. And they are buying quality wines. And there are more and better quality wines made in the valley now available. I think the wine competition is evidence of that. The quality comes up every year, and people are getting it. We also work to bring Cornell educators down into the valley to educate our wine people. As a result the wines are better. I taste wines that are less oxidative, have lower acidity, and greater expression of fruit.

I think were are a great producing area. I think we have to stay on tract and message and get the best fruit producers to start growing more wine grape varieties. There are some gorgeous sites. If we can get some of those folks growing wine grapes you’ll see even better quality wines across the board. In the valley, you can grow vinifera and you can get a really good price. It’s viable business. Right now the best fruit growers have the right sites; good land, theknowledge, the equipment, and the workforce. They have it all. And when they start growing vinifera, then you will see even better wines in the valley.

My apologies to Michael, as this interview was supposed to have run much earlier. CDV

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Edible Manhattan Highlights Tuthilltown Spirits

Tuthilltown Spirits
Stumbling into liquid gold in the Hudson Valley
By Pervaiz Shallwani
photographs by Michael Gross
September/October 2009
Edible Manhattan

New York’s first distillery since Prohibition, Tuthilltown Spirits is just four years old, but its vodkas, rum and signature whiskeys are in hot demand, poured everywhere from Babbo to Spago, fetching almost $50 for a little 375-milliliter bottle of clear, pure corn whiskey or spicy, ruddy rye—and twice that price in Paris. So you might think the Hudson Valley–based micro-distillery, which turns local apples, potatoes, corn and rye into liquid gold, is the love child of longtime liquor-lovers-turned-locavores who brought decades of distillery know-how to their lifelong dream. You’d be wrong. Neither of the 58-year-old owners had ever considered the spirits business or even knew the first thing about distilling.
Instead it was a last resort for Ralph Erenzo, one he tripped over when neighbors dashed his plan to open a “climbers’ ranch.” After more than 20 years in Manhattan building stunt sets and a climbing gym, in 2001 he and partners put up $650,000 for 36 acres on the banks of the Shawangunk Kill in Gardiner, New York (a site that happened to include the then-still-operational 221-year-old Tuthilltown Gristmill, listed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks). Erenzo and his crew had planned a sanctuary for rock climbers making the pilgrimage to scale the celebrated cliffs at nearby Shawangunk Ridge. But the townspeople didn’t want climbers coming in from all over the country, and two years of court battles slowly bled Erenzo dry; he sold off all but eight acres to cover his mounting legal and engineering bill and, defeated, approached the town’s code enforcement officer to ask what he could build without having to confront the townsfolk again. His answer: a winery. But then Erenzo came across a 2002 law encouraging spirit makers to set up small micro-distilling operations using locally farmed products. Before Prohibition, New York had been home to more than 1,000 distilleries, and, while today the state boasts both wineries and breweries, no one was producing aged grain alcohols. This law sought to change that: aspiring booze makers could now buy a $1,450 license allowing them to produce up to 35,000 gallons a year of any distilled tipple. Previously the only license available was for industrial operations and cost $50,000. “To do that, you would have to have a large distillery,” says Erenzo, who plans to produce just 4,000 gallons of spirits this year. Since passage of the legislation, 15 would-be distillers have secured a license, part of a national cocktail-fed craze that has seen the number of micro-distillers explode from five in 1995 to nearly 200 today.

But, to give it a shot, Erenzo would need an investor; luckily Brian Lee showed up. The broadcast engineer stopped by to ask about operating the gristmill as a side hobby. “I was looking at the mill, but Ralph was bending my ear about getting a [distilling] license. He was a born marketer.” It didn’t take much convincing. Recalls Lee, “I had been doing television stuff for coming on 30 years. I was looking for an exit strategy.” At Fordham business school he had written a case study on how Samuel Adams Brewing turned smaller-batch beer into big profits. After meeting Erenzo he crunched some numbers and was convinced to dip into his savings and take out a second mortgage for his share of the investment.

Read the rest at:

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


Tasting the Winemaker's Vision
OCTOBER 30, 2009
Wall Street Journal

One of the things we've most enjoyed about visiting wineries over the years is the opportunity to taste the winemaker's vision. Having several wines to taste through gives us a pretty clear window into his or her passion. There emerges, over a few sips, a prevailing arc that spans the entire production, from reds to whites. It's almost like a fingerprint, distinctive and telling.
We recently had the pleasure of cramming two parents' weekends into one weekend at our daughters' colleges. After kissing Zoë goodbye on her forehead—Dottie on her tippy toes—and reminding her to use her hand sanitizer, we loaded the car for the drive home with a couple of stops in mind along the way. After watching the entire growing season of apples along our route through New York's Hudson Valley, we wanted to buy some, fresh off the trees. Our second goal was to visit one of the valley's wineries, 10-year-old, 3,200-case Whitecliff Vineyard & Winery, whose lyrical white wine we'd been served recently at an elegant little restaurant.

The winery and tasting room are in a pretty spot, set amid the owners' 70 acres, with a beautiful view of the Shawangunk cliffs. White-netted vines lined the way, protecting late-ripening grapes from predators. A guy in a cap, who turned out to be winemaker Michael Migliore, who owns the winery with his wife, Yancey Stanforth-Migliore, waved us into a parking spot and then disappeared. Inside, for a fee, we chose six wines to share: Awosting White, the winery's most popular wine, an off-dry blend of Seyval Blanc and Vignoles; three of its estate-grown red wines (Gamay Noir, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc); Sky Island Red, a Bordeaux blend; and a fifth red, Redtail, a light, sweet blend.

The white was pleasant and interesting, but the estate-grown reds really rang our bells. They were elegant, focused, true to their varietal type and ripe, not an easy feat for so cold a region. What struck us so, though, was the consistent vision of the wines. Though they were white and red and ranged from dry to sweet, they had a restraint to them, a vision in which everything—including the winemaker—took a back seat to the fruit itself. And the fruit was delightfully pure and real. There was nothing showy about the wines. They just tasted good, offering a kind of relaxed gracefulness and easy balance that would make them good on the dinner table.

We left with a bottle each of our favorites, the Pinot Noir ($19.95) and the Cabernet Franc ($20.95), and immediately went home and tried them with lamb chops. Wines often taste better at the winery for many reasons, including the scenery, but these were even more impressive with food. Each was varietal in its own way—the Pinot was hauntingly earthy, the Cab Franc was sharper, more focused—but the vision of both as food wines was true.


Tuesday, November 03, 2009


Edible Manhattan Nov/Dec 2009 Issue
Amy Zavatto wrote the story.
Behind the Bottle, Back to the Land to Make Baco
Hudson-Chatham Winery 2007 Baco Noir Reserve, $19.

From the article:
“When I opened this bottle, my husband’s cousin, Alessandro, was visiting from Lombardy, Italy; he grew up helping his dad press, ferment and fill bottle after bottle of rustic reds, so I was curious to see what he’d think. We sat at the dining room table, popped the cork and sipped. ‘You know,’ he said, ‘it really reminds me of a Barbera,’ and I immediately understood what he meant.” With its zippy acidity and medium-light body, DeVito’s 2007 baco noir carries aromas of blackberry and black cherry, and has a wild, brambly quality that added a rustic edge, making me hanker for a long-simmered, tomato-y veal stew.

Read the whole thing at:


Just in time for the holiday season, New Yorkers will be able to sip New York wines, sample New York foods, and shop for both at City Winery on Sunday, December 6. The afternoon event will also feature a jazz trio led by guitarist Steve Salerno to usher in the Jazz Winterfest celebration of the Long Island Wine Council.

More than 35 wineries from throughout New York State will be joined by farmers and food producers, as well as several local restaurants, to present a taste of New York and celebrate the season. From 2 to 6 pm, consumers may sample over 100 wines from Long Island, the Hudson Valley, the Finger Lakes, and other regions, and have the opportunity to purchase those they particularly enjoy.

Joining the wineries are Beth’s Farm Kitchen, Katchkie Farm, McCadam Cheese, Mercer’s Wine Ice Cream, Red Jacket Orchards, Remburgers Maple, and the New York City Watershed Agricultural Council.

Several local-focused restaurants will provide samples of their cuisine, including Cool Fish (from Long Island), whose chef-owner Tom Schaudel will be on hand signing his popular book, “Playing with Fire—Whining and Dining on the Gold Coast”. Other restaurants include locavore favorites Jimmy’s No. 43, North Square, and Palo Santo.

The $45 ticket includes wine and food sampling, as well as a souvenir wine glass, and may be purchased at City Winery is located at 155 Varick St., phone 212-608-0555,

The wineries will be showcasing Gold Medal winners from the 2009 New York Wine &

Food Classic, with Finger Lakes wineries highlighting their “signature wine”, Riesling.

Participating Long Island wineries include Bedell Cellars, Bouké Wines, Brooklyn Oenology, Castello di Borghese, Duck Walk Vineyards, Laurel Lake Vineyard, Lieb Family Cellars, Long Island Meadery, Macari Vineyard & Winery, Martha Clara Vineyards, Medolla Vineyards, Onabay Vineyards, One Woman Wines & Vineyards, Palmer Vineyards, Raphael Vineyard, Scarola Vineyards, Sherwood House Vineyards, Sparkling Pointe, and Wolffer Estate Vineyards & Winery.

Wineries from the Hudson River Region include Benmarl Winery, Brotherhood Winery, Hudson-Chatham Winery, Millbrook Winery, and Silver Stream Vineyard.

Finger Lakes wineries include Anthony Road Winery, Chateau Frank and Dr. Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars, Chateau LaFayette Reneau, Damiani Wine Cellars, Heron Hill Winery, Keuka Lake Vineyards, Shaw Vineyard, Standing Stone Vineyards, Wagner Vineyards, and White Springs Winery.
Wineries from other regions include Coyote Moon Vineyards from the Thousand Islands, and The Winery at Marjim Manor in the Niagara region.
Mercer’s Wine Ice Cream is a unique blend of New York milk and New York wine first created in 2003, and is now sold in many states as well as France, the Netherlands, and China. McCadam Cheese, another product of New York milk, has won numerous national awards for quality, including “Best Cheese in America” in Wisconsin. There will be wide range of other foods for sampling, along with recipes using local ingredients created by the restaurant chefs.
The “Uncork New York!” celebration is sponsored by the New York Wine & Grape Foundation in conjunction with other organizations focused on local wines and foods including City Winery, the “edible” publications, Finger Lakes Wine Country Tourism Marketing Association, Long Island Wine Council, Pride of New York (Department of Agriculture & Markets), and Wine & Food Associates.