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, August 27, 2011

Where is the Hudson Valley?

Recently I overheard a conversation in which several winemakers and farmers were discussing where the valley ends. Several posited it ended at New Paltz or Kingston. Others still said it ended at Millbrook or Rhinebeck at best.

Of course these are all wrong, but it does speak of a mentality that exists of people in and out of the valley, that the southern part of the valley IS the valley - it is not. And this leads to consumer confusion.

The problem with the valley is that it is quite large, and incredibly diversified. And in that diversity, as Jim Trezise (New York Wine and Grape Foundation President) likes to say - lies our strength. The Hudson River Region AVA (viticultural area)was establsihed in 1982, and served the purposes of outlining the region as it then stood. It's drawing was somewhat arbitrary in that it took into a account only the wineries that were in existence then, and was cut in such arbitrary ways so as to include all the wineries that were established at that time. It is outdated now, and in need of readjustment. But it's existence, while useful at first, is now cause for confusion among consumers.

The real definition of the valley is seen here on the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area map. The Hudson Valley stretches from New York harbor, where the river flows into the sea, all the way up beyond Albany, where a confluence of rivers and streams empty into what we know of as the Hudson River.

As far as a wine region goes, the Hudson Valley is mainly broken up into three areas - The Lower Hudson Valley, the Mid-Hudson Valley (which includes the Hudson-Berkshire region) and the newly developing Upper Hudson Valley.

The lower valley is dominated by the Shwangunk Wine Trail, which is named for the mountain range in the area. It is on the west side of the river. There are many wineries in this section of the valley. They tend to be some of the oldest wineries in the region, and are the best know section of the wine world in the valley. The vistas are beautiful, and the landscape is dotted with beautiful homes, large apple orchards, and small farm stands.

The Mid-Hudson region is dominated by two wine trails - the smaller Dutchess Wine Trail, and the newer, larger Hudson Berkshire Beverage Trail. These wineries are on the east side of the river, and extend from the Millbrook area in Dutchess County to as far north as Columbia and Rensealler counties. This is an incredibly diverse region, with numerous CSAs, organic meat farms, artisanal creameries, and home of the Culinary Institute of America, making it a more and more desirable culinary destination.

The newly developing Upper Hudson Valley region occupies the outlying areas north of Albany and Troy, where the river begins. This burgeoning area is home to a growing number of new wineries, and will eventually form into a formidable presence in the Hudson Valley wine landscape. While wine is being made there now, the coalescing of this region is some years away, but it is happening as of this writing.

Regardless, the Hudson Valley is going through a massive renaissance, both agriculturally and culinarily, and the burgeoning number of wineries, and the different wines they produce, are a part of that explosion. And that explosion is expanding the understanding of where the valley really is. Indeed, the wineries are its leading edge.

Winery tourism in the valley grows week by week, and month by month. Record numbers of visitors are filling the valley's tastingrooms. Sales have never been higher. The wines have never been better. And the enthusiasm has never been greater.

Steven Kolpan on Hudson Valley Riesling

In the September-November issue of Hudson Valley Table, highly acclaimed wine writer Steven Kolpan (Exploring Wine) and director of the wine program at the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, writes with great passion about the new clones of riesling being planted in the Hudson Valley, and the movement toward riesling as a viable vinifera grape in the valley.

Highlighted in the piece are Whitecliff, Brotherhood, and Millbrook wineries.

Congrats to all the wineries, and special thanks to Steven Kolpan and Hudson Valley Table.

Read more at:

Eminence Road Farm Winery Highlighted in Hudson Valley Table Magazine

In a story on fracking in the newest issue of Hudson Valley Table (Spet-Nov, 2011), Jennifer Clark and Andrew Scott, of Eminence Road Farm Winery, are featured. Read the page below an learn more about them!

Read more at:

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Clinton Vineyards Peach Gala

Clinton Vineyards is situated in Clinton Corners, NY, down by Millbrook. It was founded by Ben Feder, one of the great legends of the Hudson Valley wine community.

Recently we went to a friends' house, and brought a small basket of Hudson Valley cheeses including Old Chatham Sheepherding Camembert and Hudson Red from Twin Maple Farm.

Dominique and I have been saving a bottle of Clinton's Peach Gala for more than a year to find the right occassion. Last weekend was the right moment.

With a cheese board all set up with freshly sliced pears, and fresh bread and crackers, we popped open the bottle.

The wine has a wonderful peach aroma to it. But there was also the smell of yeast, as if it was baked peach cobbler. But the wine also has a citrusy ending, which makes the wine especially delicious. Our friends were wowed, as we were the first time we had it.

What a pleasure.

Annandale Cider from Montgomery Place Orchards

The other night Dominique and I were at Swoon Kitchen Bar in Hudson, NY at the Summer Feast farm to table dinner. One of the offerings on hand was Annandale Cider from Montgomery Place Orchards. Hard cider is one of the signature drinks made in the Hudson Valley.

Montgomery Place Orchards celebrates its 25th year under the management of Doug and Talea Fincke in 2011. They follow a long line of tenants dating back to the 1700s, upon the same land purchased in 1802 by Janet Livingston Montgomery who expanded the existing orchards and created a commercial nursery. Though the historic estate's proprieters have changed, the orchards have always been a steadfast feature of the Hudson River property.

Before Prohibition, cider was America's drink. A ration for Revolutionary soldiers, a safe substitute for water along the Frontier, and even President Adams' breakfast drink, fermented apple juice was a cheap alternative to beer and a hardy crop before the cultivation of suitable grape varieties. It was also Johnny Appleseed's true mission- apples grown from seed are inedible, but make great cider. The apple, rebranded in the 1920s by the industry as a healthy snack in order to remain a legal enterprise, virtually lost its iconic status as America's alcoholic drink. Thankfully, the country is slowly rediscovering it.

Today, Annandale Cider is made at Montgomery Place Orchards, using over 60 varieties of antique and commercial apples grown on the same land that Janet Livingston cultivated apple trees upon 200 years ago. There are no preservatives, no sulfates, or no additives.

They are still a very small operation, producing 1000 gallons a year. Currently, you can find their cider at the Montgomery Place Orchards market, Luna 61 in Tivoli, GiGi's in Rhinebeck, and Swoon Restaurant in Hudson.

It was fabulous. Look for it! Another great Hudson Valley cider!

Monday, August 22, 2011

New York Cork Report Raves About Brotherhood Pinot Noir 2008

Brotherhood Winery 2008 Pinot Noir
By Lenn Thompson, Executive Editor

Established in 1839, Brotherhood Winery in Washingtonville, NY is America's oldest winery and one of the largest, best-known and widely distributed wineries in the Hudson Valley region.

The portfolio is large -- and among the most diverse in the state.

On one end they produce a Sherry-style wine flavored with Korean ginseng, a rose blended with strawberries and woodruff, and two different honey wines. On the end of the spectrum, you'll find some excellent sparkling wines and vinifera table wines that are always well-priced and often over-deliver.

Many of those vinifera wines are sourced from elsewhere in the state. The rieslings typically come from the Finger Lakes, while the Bordeaux varieties are mostly sourced from Long Island. And this Brotherhood Winery 2008 Pinot Noir ($15) was made from Niagara-grown fruit.

If you're going to buy fruit, it only makes sense to buy it from the successful places, right?

Pure and focused, this pinot offers aromas of pomegranates, cranberries and cherries with a subtle woodsy spiciness with very little overt oak or vanilla character.

The cran-cherry fruitiness carries over, though not overly intense, on the light-bodied palate, with subtle earthiness and smoke notes. On the second day open, a gentle floral quality emerges too, along with more noticeable spice.

With just a little silky tannin, this is a wine that mainly relies on fresh acidity for structure. It might be a bit too acidic for some, but I appreciate it. I like it, in fact.

Though somewhat straightforward, there is a purity here and a fresh balance that it easy to appreciate. In fact, there may be no better $15 pinot noir in New York.
Read the whole thign at:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hudson Valley Brings Home 26 Medals From the Food & Wine Classic 2011

The 2011 New York Food & Wine Classic was held last weekend, and the Hudson Valley brought home 26 medals, including a gold for the Whitecliff Awosting White.

According to Jim Trezise, NYWGF President, "The awards were based on blind tastings by 21 expert judges-4 from California, 9 from New York, 6 from other states and 2 from the United Kingdom. Judges included prominent wine writers, restaurateurs, retailers, and wine educators. Three-judge panels determined the initial awards, with top-scoring wines evaluated by all 21 judges for Best of Category and Governor's Cup awards."

"Celebrating its 26th year, the Classic is organized by Teresa Knapp of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, and is open to all 307 New York wineries from all regions. In 2011, a total of 51 Double Gold, 66 Gold, 237 Silver, and 234 Bronze medals were awarded. In addition, "Best of Category" and "Best of Class" designations were awarded to wines rated as the finest in various areas. Double Gold medals require unanimity among a panel's judges that a wine deserves a Gold medal, whereas Gold medals require a majority vote."

Congrats to all the Hudson Valley wineries!

Here's the list of winners:

Benmarl Winery 2009 Traminette $14.99 Silver
Benmarl Winery 2009 Baco Noir $27.99 Silver
Benmarl Winery 2009 Merlot $19.99 Bronze
Benmarl Winery 2009 Dry Rosé $14.99 Bronze
Benmarl Winery 2009 Frontenac $14.99 Bronze

Brotherhood 2010 Dry Riesling $9.99 Silver
Brotherhood 2009 Ice Wine $29.99 Silver
Brotherhood 2010 Riesling $9.99 Bronze
Brotherhood 2008 Cabernet Sauv $14.99 Bronze
Brotherhood 2009 Pinot Noir $14.99 Bronze
Brotherhood NV Grand Monarque $24.99 Bronze

Clinton Vineyards NV Nuit $35.00 Bronze

Hudson-Chatham NV Paperbirch Cassis $19.95 Silver
Hudson-Chatham 2009 Baco Noir Old Vines 19.95 Bronze
Hudson-Chatham 2009 Chelois 19.95 Bronze

Millbrook Vineyards 2009 Chardonnay Proprietor's $20.00 Silver
Millbrook Vineyards 2008 Cabernet Franc $20.00 Silver
Millbrook Vineyards 2010 Tocai Friulano Bronze

Oak Summit Vineyard 2010 Chardonnay Bronze

Palaia Vineyards 2007 Lemberger $17.99 Bronze
Palaia Vineyards NV Joyful Pink $13.99 Bronze

Robibero Winery 2010 87 North $12.99 Silver

Stoutridge Vineyard 2008 Hudson Heritage "Lot A" Bronze

Whitecliff Vineyard NV Awosting White $12.95 Gold
Whitecliff Vineyard 2010 Reserve Chardonnay $16.95 Bronze
Whitecliff Vineyard 2010 Gamay Noir $16.95 Bronze

Happy Bitch Wines to Launch at Hudson Valley Wine & Food Festival October 20, 2011

HV Wine & Food Fest along with the Launch Party on October 20th that will benefit Miles of Hope Breast Cancer Foundation.

(Beacon, NY, August 10, 2011) On September 10 and 11, Happy Bitch Wines will be at the Hudson Valley Wine and Food Festival at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds pouring tastes of three different blends of a Frizzante Rose’ and letting fans and festival goers choose the one they like the best. The blend with the most votes will become the first Happy Bitch wine.

“We’re past the information age. We’re in the consumer age.” says Keryl Pesce, author of Happy Bitch. “With the power and reach of social media, we as consumers have more power than ever to not only influence the quality of a product, but to influence what even becomes a product. Why not give people exactly what they want by letting them choose it?”

Social media, in particular, Twitter, led to the creation of the wine. When Pesce tweeted about possibly creating a Happy Bitch wine, Debbie Gioquindo, Hudson Valley Wine Goddess, tweeted back that she should make it a Hudson Valley Wine. No surprise, as Gioquindo’s blog educates readers about wine with a focus on the Hudson Valley region. The two agreed to meet, not realizing that a tweet and a cup of coffee were actually a partnership in the making.

Keryl is in the business of happy. Debbie is in the business of wine and marketing. Put the two together and you’ve got a force to be reckoned with - a perfect “blend” (pun intended) to create a fun wine geared toward women.

The soon-to-be wine producers will deliver more than a great tasting wine. “Happy Bitch Wines is not just about wine, it's about lifestyle.” say the two. “Our image will be one of living life to the fullest starting right now, enjoying every moment, and choosing happiness as a way of life.”

Are the two ready to get down to business? Yes. Is there some risk and work involved? Yes. Are they having fun? Absolutely!

"We want the entire experience from creation to consumption, to focus on and enhance happiness and enjoyment of life. Happiness, much like a good bottle of wine is something you choose and something you share. We’re choosing to have fun with this.”

“People are already searching us out. They’re asking where they can buy our wine before they know what the bottle looks like or what the wine tastes like. I think they sense our passion and excitement.” says Gioquindo. “It doesn’t get much better than that.”

They’re focused and on a mission. The wine is designed for women, to help them celebrate themselves and enjoy life. Every decision the two have made, from taste, color, bottle, type of wine, function and design is with women and happiness in mind.

How do they know what to deliver and how to deliver it? Easy. Not only are they women themselves (and who knows better what women want), but they’re letting the women (and whoever wants to voice their opinion) choose what they create.

"This is a great way to get everyone involved and let them be a part of the process," says Debbie. "Keryl and I go through blending trials to get the base blend, but it's ultimately the consumer that will tell us what to produce. After all, they are the ones we want to make happy."

Frizzante is a wine that will only go through a partial second fermentation to give it a slight effervescent - less than champagne which goes through and entire second fermentation cycle. A little fizz and a whole lot of happy!

After the blend is chosen, Happy Bitch Wines will have a launch party on October 20, 2011, from 6-9 pm at the Grandview in Poughkeepsie. This event is open to the public and Happy Bitch Wines encourages wine writers, press, bloggers and the wine lover to join them in this celebration. In keeping with their mission of supporting women in need, a portion of the proceeds from their launch will benefit the Miles of Hope Breast Cancer Foundation.

For more information and to purchase tickets to the launch, visit

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Saturday, August 13, 2011
12 noon - 5 pm

It's THE event of the season, and this year promises to be better than ever!

There will be 5 sangrias to try - from classic to contemporary - all featuring award-winning wines. Relax with a glass of your favorite fruit-and-wine combo and listen to the great flamenco guitar music of Maria Zemantauski and Jose Mirelles.

To complement your sangria, there will be a great selection of mouth-watering, belly filling Southwestern favorites, including the following: tamales (peanut chipotle beef, pulled pork bbq, tomatillo chicken, and vegetarian black bean chili), and burritos (chorizo, bean with brown rice, cheese, tomato, guacamole and lettuce). Chips and watermelon salsa (with sour cream and guacamole).

Hudson-Chatham Winery
Saturday, August 13 * 12 noon - 5 pm
1900 State Rte 66 * Ghent NY 12075

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Palaia Vineyards August Lineup

Palaia is having something wonderful every weekend in August. They have a Woodstock Festival, an Afternoon of Blues, Elvis live on stage, and this year they have Rod Stewart! (Rick Larrimore) They are air conditioned inside the barn, and it’s nice under the tent outside in the shade. They have pink wine slushies outside as well as all of their wines, ice, and a nice fruity sangria. This is the place to be this summer for sure. Check the website for more information on bands and events… (you might want to bring a chair or blanket to events in case they run out.)

8/4 – Open Mic 7-? Inside (air conditioned)

8/5 – Steve Wells – inside (air conditioned) 7-10 (no cover)

8/6 – The Roost – outside 6:30-9:30- no coolers or outside beverages please(no cover)

8/7 – Joey Frazita – inside (air conditioned) 2:30-5:30 (no cover)

8/11 – Open Mic 7-? Inside (air conditioned)

8/12 – Outside – 6:30-9:30 – Henderson & Osinski – Woodstock festival- no coolers or outside beverages please (no cover)

8/13 – Outside – $5 for the day ( kids free) - Woodstock festival-3pm - Rob Schiff, Vendors, BBQ – 6:30- “Into The Garden” plays till 9:30

8/14 – Outside 2:30-5:30 Woodstock Festival– The Redden Brothers Band – (no cover) no coolers or outside beverages please

8/18 - Open Mic 7-? Inside (air conditioned)

8/19 – Gregg Van Gelder – inside (air conditioned) 7-10 (no cover)

8/20 – ELVIS! - Outside 7:00-9:30- no coolers or outside beverages please(no cover)

8/21 – Blues Festival- Outside 2:30-5:30 $5 (kids free) Bobby Messano & Steve Geller and The Mud Belly Blues Band

8/25 – Open Mic 7-? Inside (air conditioned)

8/26 – Bruce Perone – 7-10 inside (air conditioned)

8/27 – Rod Stewart (Rick Larrimore) 7-9:30 outside $5 – (kids free) no coolers or outside beverages please

8/28 – Victor Fiore – inside 2:30-5:30 (air conditioned)

Events galore at Palaia this month. Come watch a play and laugh, or enjoy Neil Young music for 2 days in a benefit for Lung Cancer, or sit on our lawn by the grapes and listen to some live music and drink a pink wine slushie in the shade…..ahhh, that’s living.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Whitecliff Wins Category and Best in Show for Chardonnay and Awosting White

Whitecliff Vinewyard & Winery has won big again this year. They took Gold and Best in Category for our Chardonnay and Awosting White, at the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association Wine Competition. There were 564 wines from 11 States entered.

The Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association (ASWA) is one of the oldest wine organizations located on the East Coast. Established in 1973 as the Vinifera Wine Growers Association (VWGA), it was an early supporter of planting world-class Vinifera wine grapes, the production of quality commercial wines, and the building of a wine industry along the Eastern seaboard. Today, the ASWA is a national and international wine trade association that works with state and national legislatures to resolve issues that challenge the U.S. wine industry.

Congratulations to Michael and Yancey and the winemaking team at Whitecliff - Kate Taylor and Paul Gioquindo.

Why Wine Blog names Hudson-Chatham Old Vines "Best New York Red Wine" recenetly reviewed the Hudson-Chatham Baco Noir Old Vines 2009.
Joe Suzadail wrote, "Whenever I open a dark red wine and smell aromas of tobacco, leather and some damp soil, I know I am in for a treat. That is what I got. Seconds on the sniffing brought out some black cherry and plums and hints of cranberry and vanilla. Very pleasant taste of dark berries, black plum, some tobacco or herbal and a bit of pepper. A nice finish, not overly long, was dry with blackberry, cranberry and a touch of pepper with some hints of chocolate. The Hudson-Chatham Old Vines Baco Noir 2009($28) is one of the best New York red wines I have tasted in a long time."

Read the entire article at: