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, February 24, 2012


In the March-May 2012 issue of The Valley Table, Steven Kolpan stresses to Hudson Valley winemakers to celebrate their region. Promote the "Hudson River Region" AVA when making estate wines and wines made from Hudson Valley fruit.

"Last year, when I judged the Hudson Valley Wine Competition, I was happy to see far more labels sporting the Hudson River Region AVA than ever before....Some of the truly local wines were extraordinarily fine, some were quite good..."

"...I want to encourage those Hudson Valley wine producers that are making their wines from grapes grown in local vineyards to be proud of what they have accomplished..."

An extraordinary article for the winery owners, makers, and consumers!


Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Miscellany News Reports Millbrook "A Gem"!

Millbrook Vineyard & Winery a Hudson Valley gem
By Sarah Begley
Published: Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 14:02

The Millbrook Vineyards & Winery, established in 1985, has perfected more than a dozen wines, including the Hunt Country Red and Chardonnay pictured above. The winery sees 15,000 annual visitors.

Even in winter when the vines are barren, the drive through the vineyards of Millbrook is bleakly striking. Ascending the road that cuts through the neat rows of vegetation, the driver can see nothing but grape vines on all sides—an uncommon and breathtaking view in the Hudson Valley.

Millbrook Vineyards & Winery is just a half-hour drive from Poughkeepsie, and its wines are sold at the nearby Arlington Wine and Liquor. The company was established in 1985, and since then, winemaker John Graziano has perfected more than a dozen wines, such as Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc. Annually, the winery produces $2 million in sales and hosts 15,000 visitors, making it the fourth most popular tourist spot in Dutchess County.

The winemaking process begins in the vineyards, of which there are 30 acres. Two employees work in the vineyards throughout the year, and during the harvest season in September and October, they bring in four to five extra workers. In March, they will begin pruning the plants for this year's harvest.

Before its life as a vineyard, the land was once used as dairy farm. As a result, the winery technically cannot market itself as organic because they don't know what kind of chemicals may have once been used on the soil. Now the land is part of the Dutchess Land Conservancy, and they make a great effort to use natural farming techniques like composting all discarded stems, seeds and skins for the next year's fertilizer.

As Director of Sales Scott Koster explained, this attention to the quality of the growing conditions is critical because "you can't make a good wine without good grapes."

From the vineyards, the grapes travel inside to the winery, where red and white wines are processed in different rooms. "The biggest difference between making the red and the white," Koster said, "is [for red] we need the skins. The longer the skins stay in, the more flavor and color."

Most of the whites are produced in large stainless steel open-top fermenters, but the reds rest in oak barrels for anywhere from nine months to one-and-a-half years. This, as well as aging the reds in French oak barrels, softens the tannins, which are astringent chemical compounds found in wood and other plant-derived materials.

One exception to this division is the Chardonnay, about half of which gets barrel-fermented. The neutral-flavored French oak wood barrels give the wine it a "subtle, vanillin, caramel quality," said Koster.

While some wines, like Chardonnay, consist of only one grape varietal, many others are a blend. Koster explained, "the most important thing a winemaker does is blending," and Graziano has spent a great deal of time finding the perfect balance in wines like their Hunt Country Red, which combines Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel.

The barrels for the wine cost from $800 to $1000 and last 10 to 12 years, so they are a huge investment for the winery. Each barrel holds 300 bottles worth of wine, and during the bottling process, 400 to 500 cases can be bottled a day.

Eventually, this long process pays off by showcasing the grapes in their best possible flavor profiles. Koster said of visitors to the winery, "People sometimes ask, how do you get this blueberry taste in the wine? Well, you don't. That flavor is already in the grape. It's very natural."

The vineyard's proprietor, John Dyson, has a history of emphasizing excellence in agriculture. In 1975, he served as New York State's youngest-ever Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce. He owns vineyards in the Finger Lakes and on Long Island, whose grapes the winery often blends with those from Millbrook, as well as others in California and Italy. As Commissioner of Commerce in the '70s, he oversaw the famous "I Love New York" tourism campaign, and the iconic logos from the advertisements are printed on the labels of the wine bottles and etched onto glasses at the winery.

Koster said it's especially interesting to produce wine in New York State because "all wines [here] are a little lighter in style, and they have fabulous acidity, so they're great with food." Of course, the terrain presents certain challenges and limitations as well. Only cool condition grapes work here, and the humid summers can make the harvesting process unpredictable.

When asked why Dyson chose Dutchess County, his home region, as a good place to make wine, Koster said, "I think it was a big challenge for the owner, and I think he wanted to prove it could be done. It's one of the oldest wine-growing regions in the US, and he wanted to prove we could make a world-class wine here, and we've proved it."

Read more at:

Post Star News Raves About HV Restaurant Week

Janet Crenshaw of Valley Table magazine

Get ready For Hudson Valley Restaurant Week
GateHouse News Service
Posted Feb 06, 2012 @ 11:21 AM

Saugerties, NY — Hudson Valley Restaurant Week, March 18-31, 2012, is the perfect time to discover world-class dining while exploring the scenic, historic and agricultural wonders of New York's famed Hudson River Valley.
This culinary extravaganza runs a full 14 days, including two weekends, making it tantalizing for those looking for a tasty overnight getaway.

More than 170 participating restaurants will offer three-course prix-fixe din ners at $29.95 and three-course lunches at $20.95. Participating restaurants are located in seven counties (Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Orange, Dutchess, Ulster and Columbia) along the Hudson River from north of New York City to just south of Albany.

Because of the Valley's strong agricultural base, the use of locally-produced ingredients on Restaurant Week menus is part of the event's appeal. Crawshaw says. "Our chefs find both inspiration and amazing ingredients in the surrounding farms, orchards and vineyards."

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week is presented by The Valley Table in partnership with Dutchess County Tourism and Westchester County Tourism. Major sponsors are M&T Bank, WHUD Radio, The Gold Standard, The Cul inary Institute of America, Hudson Valley Bounty, Crown Maple Syrup and Millbrook Vineyards and Winery.

To consult the list of restaurants participating in Hudson Valley Restaurant Week 2012, as well as hotels offering special overnight rates, go to

Read more at:

HVWGA Grape School 2010

Steve Hoying of Cornell and Ed Miller of Brookview Station.

The Hudson Valley Wine and Grape Association held its regular grape school in Kingston last week. Many of the Cornell Extension folks are there to talk about canopy manegment, pest management, and the challenges of what it's like to grow grapes in the Hudson Valley. It's always very informative, and it's always a chance for the owners and winemakers to get together, and fraternize.

Michael Migliore from Whitecliff Vinwyards despensing advice.
Ben Peacock of Tousey and Dominique of Hudson-Chatham.
Bruce Tripp, winemaker, Tousey Winery.
Steve McKay of Cornell and Ed Miller of Brookview Station.
Doug Glorie of Glorie Farm Winery and Steve Hoying of Cornell.
Brad, the new assistant winemaker at Whitecliff Winery.
The folks from Clearview Vineyards.
Steve Hoying, Michael Migliore, Bruce Tripp, Doug Glorie, and Brad.

Robibero Family Vineyards Pinot Noir 2008

I am a bog fan of the folks at Robibero Vineyards. They are good poeple, and want to make a significant contribution to the valley's reputation for quality wine. Their desire to produce quality wine is a creit to themselves and the valley.

Recently, I had the opportunity to taste their Robibero Pinot Noir 2008. This wine won a Silver Medal at the Hudson Valley Wine & Spirits Competition.

The wine is very pretty with a nice ruby color in the glass. The wine had a nice nose of cherry and vanilla with hints of spice and tealeaf. And the wine delivered, with cherry and plum flavors, with the fruit nice balanced just above the solid but not overpowering acidity, and nice soft tannins. A nice finish with long lasting friuit and good balance.

A nice suprise and a very good wine.

Congrats to the folks at Robibero!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Imbibe Magazine Raves About Hudson Valley Craft Distilling Industry

Still Life
New York’s distillery boom revives a spirited tradition.
Story by Paul Clarke
Photos by Martin Thiel

One thousand to one. As ratios go, this one’s pretty fierce. It’s also roughly the ratio of the number of small-scale distilleries scattered across New York at the state’s 19th-century peak to the number that existed in New York less than 10 years ago.

One thousand to one would also have been the likely odds of New York’s distilling industry ever bouncing back, had you wished to place a bet on such a thing in 1920, after the Volstead Act shuttered the state’s last legal distilleries. But some people are attracted to long odds, and when that happens, something that seemed less than possible can suddenly appear inevitable. As the old slogan for the New York State Lottery put it, “All You Need is a Dollar and a Dream”—a dollar doesn’t go quite so far nowadays, but a dream? That still counts for something.

“My personal ambition and fantasy, ever since I was 14 years old, is simply to produce something,” says Allen Katz, a partner in Brooklyn’s New York Distilling, one of the newest distilleries to open in New York. “Some of us write books or paint pictures, but I’m not good at either of those. So my passion led me to distilling.” Katz and partners including Tom Potter—who sparked New York’s brewing boom when he opened Brooklyn Brewery in 1987—leapt fully into the DIY fray in 2010, when they released two new gins to a thirsty city, part of a flash flood of locally produced, small-scale spirits that is washing across the state on a scale that New York hasn’t experienced since before Prohibition.

A little more than a century ago, New York distilleries produced oceans of whiskey, lakes of apple brandy and deep wells of other spirits made from the fruit that grew in the Hudson Valley and downstate orchards, and grain from the rich soil in west-central New York. Industry consolidation followed by Prohibition turned off the taps by 1920, and New Yorkers thirsty for (legal) local liquor often had little choice but to go dry. This all started to change in 2002, when state laws regulating distilling began to loosen; in 2007, the trickle of New York whiskey and vodka became a geyser, when the New York Farm Distillery Law lowered the financial bar for beginning distillers (provided they source at least half of their raw material from New York), and allowed qualified distillers to open tasting rooms and sell spirits right from the distillery.

There are now around 30 craft distilleries in New York; almost all are less than four years old, most less than two, and new startups appear with such frequency that any exact count is almost immediately obsolete. Today, New York’s new distillers are engaging in a complex blend of reinvention and innovation: many seek to explore New York’s bibulous heritage by making whiskeys from heirloom varieties of grain, or fruit brandies in styles rarely seen in the past century, or distinctive styles of gin that reflect New York’s inimitable culture and history; others are tinkering with entirely novel styles of spirits. Wiped out by the temperance movement and still virtually nonexistent only a decade ago, the Empire State’s craft distillers are emphatically striking back.

Uptown Brown
“There was a time before Prohibition when every small town had a distillery,” says Ralph Erenzo, co-owner of Tuthilltown Spirits, a distillery in the Hudson Valley hamlet of Gardiner. From the earliest colonial days well into the 1800s, distilling was a way for farmers to preserve excess fruit and grain, as well as to—in economist parlance—produce a value-added commodity. “If the bottom dropped out of the corn or the grain market, you could convert your grain to alcohol, which reduced the volume considerably,” Erenzo says.

When Tuthilltown opened its doors in 2004, it was one of the first of New York’s contemporary crop of craft distillers. Using apples from area orchards, Erenzo and partner Brian Lee distilled an apple-based vodka; the Hudson line of whiskeys soon followed, with bourbons made from local corn and a Manhattan Rye that added a fresh spin to a venerable style of spirit. In 2009, Tuthilltown’s Hudson line of whiskeys—packaged in squat, wax-capped bottles that were an increasingly familiar sight in cocktail bars—had become so popular that Tuthilltown entered a distribution and marketing agreement with liquor giant William Grant, giving the New York-made spirit a spot on the global stage.

This deal made Tuthilltown a craft-distiller success story; Erenzo’s now working to see that other New York distillers have the same opportunities, lobbying for changes in the state’s laws and tax codes that will make it easier for New York’s farm communities to once again add liquid value to their crops. “How many apples are thrown away or left to rot in the field each year? That could be made into vodka or brandy, and those could be sold on a farmstand shelf,” he says. “Our goal is to get more farms involved by hooking them up with a local distillery to make whiskey or another spirit that they can sell at a farm market. It’s an enormous way to raise revenue for farmers, and increase tax revenue for New York.”

Rye whiskey is made from the hardy cold-weather grain well suited for New York’s climate, and was first distilled in the then-frontier region by Scottish settlers in the 18th century; it remained the cornerstone spirit for New York distilleries for more than 100 years. This historic connection—not to mention the availability of New York-grown grain, and the burgeoning demand for rye whiskey among fans of craft cocktails—has made rye an attractive spirit for many New York distillers.

“I’m a culture and history buff, and the idea of reclaiming part of our regional or state history was really appealing,” Katz says. New York Distilling is making rye whiskey using varieties of rye that were common in New York in the 19th century; the first bottles should be available next year (a Rock & Rye liqueur, made with younger whiskey, may be released later this year).

Much of New York’s rye is grown in and around the Finger Lakes region in west-central New York. At Finger Lakes Distilling, Brian McKenzie and Thomas Earl McKenzie (the distillery partners are unrelated) use grain grown directly across the lake to make McKenzie Rye Whiskey. Using a 300-gallon Holstein pot still, the distillers make more than a dozen different spirits, ranging from vodka and grappa to cherry and blueberry liqueurs, and featuring whiskeys including a bourbon and a corn whiskey, and an Irish-style pot-still whiskey made from a mixture of malted and unmalted barley.

True to the farm-distiller ethos, the McKenzies source almost everything from local farms. “Ninety percent of what we use is grown right here in the Finger Lakes,” says Brian McKenzie. “We work with 25 to 30 farms for grain, grapes and all kinds of local fruit.” This local connection continues even after the spirits have been distilled; McKenzie Rye finishes its aging in casks that previously held a sherry-style fortified wine from a local winery, and the bourbon is finished in casks that recently held local Chardonnay.

Rye is also likely to be the first whiskey produced at Coppersea Distillery in the Hudson Valley. Coppersea’s owners Michael Kinstlick and Angus MacDonald are taking the whiskey-as-history angle to heart. When the distillery opens later this year, the approach will be as 19th century as possible, without modern conveniences such as plastics or mechanical pumps, and the rye and corn whiskeys will be made from heirloom varietals and single-farm grain as much as possible. The goal is to maintain a historically authentic approach that could result in a style of spirit familiar to New York’s horse-and-buggy era inhabitants. “I would hope that when we’re in production, if I were to have the people working the stills trade their American Apparel t-shirts for sack suits and bowler hats, there’d be nothing about this to suggest it’s the 21st century,” MacDonald says.

While rye whiskey is integral to New York’s liquid heritage, bourbon and corn whiskey are also flowing. In a 325-square-foot Williamsburg loft, Kings County Distillery produces an unaged corn whiskey and a one-year-aged bourbon, made in miniscule batches using five 8-gallon stills (the distillery is relocating to a 7,000-square-foot space in the Brooklyn Navy Yard this year, and production capacity will likewise increase). For owners Colin Spoelman and David Haskell, the distillery started as a not-quite-legal hobby at home, and corn whiskey and bourbon have special significance for Spoelman, a Kentucky native. “I didn’t come to distilling to start a business, necessarily,” Spoelman says. “I was discovering my lost Kentucky heritage.” Though the distillery is still in its infancy and Spoelman and Haskell have kept their day jobs, Kings County’s spirits have whiskey drinkers talking: the simple flasks of bourbon are carried at whiskey-savvy bars, such as Brooklyn’s Char No. 4 and the Brandy Library in Manhattan, and its corn whiskey was awarded “best in category” by the American Distilling Institute.

Read the whole article:

Core Black Raspberry Vodka and Cornelius Appljeack from Harvest Spirits

Derek Grout of Harvest Spirits in Valatie, New York, loves to fool around. With tousled blonde hair, and turtleneck sweater, he looks like a guy who just walked out of an LL Bean catalog or into a ski lodge. And he’s got a pleasant disposition to boot. He is confident and cheerful, with a wry sense of humor. Derek is the moving force behind Harvest Spirits (along with his wife Ashley) which is the home of the now famous Core Vodka, made from 100% apples.

Harvest Spirits is based at Golden Harvest Farm, which has been in Derek’s family for three generations. It is one of the largest commercial farms in the region, and is one of the biggest points of interest in Columbia County, popular for its farm store, filled with fresh apples, baked pies, cider doughnuts, and in the fall, pumpkins. On Saturdays and Sundays the most difficult part of getting to Harvest Spirits in sneaking in and out of the parking lot.

Derek, in the meantime, has fun fermenting and distilling almost anything. He seems to want to try anything once. While on my recent trip to Harvest Spirits, he had a dozen different concoctions going, and on any visit he might pay us, he’s always got something new to try. The distillery is packed with highly decorated barrels and tons of mason jars with anything from fruits to herbs to other spices trying to find the next fun flavor. So it was no surprise when he enticed me over to his tasting counter and started talking, that I would try something new.

The first thing he wanted me to try was the new Core Black Raspberry Vodka, made from distilled apples and raspberries. Packed in the classic Core package, the vodka is decisively dark pink, with the same distinctive lettering that has made Core Vodka such a hit, and which has made Harvest Spirits one of the most highly regarded distillers on the east coast. The nose is all raspberry. And the taste is fantastic.It’s not sweet by any measure. I had to taste it twice. Looking at the liquid and smelling it, one could taste a very robust essence of raspberry, but with eyes closed, it finished like a fine vodka. This was an exceptional flavored vodka. An incredible accomplishment. Great alone or an intense part of any cocktail.

The next thing that was new was the Cornelius Applejack. Now, I have had and drank much Cornelius Applejack. Nothing like a cold night, with a glass of crushed ice, and you pour three fingers of Cornelius Applejack in a glass, and relax by your favorite fireplace with your loving companion. Mmmmm. It’s like a fine apple bourbon.

What you need to know is that Derek is a traveler, and he has spent lots of nights in France as part of a cider and wine making exchange program in concert with French cider makers and distillers. While in France, Derek learned how to put the fruit in the bottle. Cornelius Applejack now comes with a locally grown apple inside. A little bit of old France right here in the Hudson Valley.

Harvest Spirits is an excellent small craft distiller. And you need to try their products.

Monday, February 13, 2012

NYCR Name Oak Summit and Tousey Wines of the Year for Hudson Valley

Reads the post from the New York Cork Report:

The 2011 New York Cork Report Wines of the Year
By Lenn Thompson, Executive Editor

I think I can speak for my fellow editors and contributors when I say that our 2011 Wines of the Year tasting was a fun, challenging and inspiring day of 16 wine tasting flights.

I always come away with myriad story ideas swirling in my head after this tasting. This year is no different. Look for pieces from the team over the next few weeks.

But today, we announce the winners...

Oak Summit Vineyard 2010 Chardonnay

Tousey Winery 2010 Cabernet Franc

Congrats to John Bruno and wife Nancy Lynn and to Ben and Kimberly Peacock!

Read the whole report at:

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Edible Manhattan Raves About Harvest Spirits (NY)

In the wineter issue of Edible Manhattan, Allan Monroe raves about Derek Grout and Harvest Spirits located at Golden Harvest Farm, in Vaatie, NY. Harvest Spirits is producer of the wildly popular CORE VODKA and CORNELIUS APPLEJACK.

Congrats to Derek and Ashley Grout and the whole team at Harvest Spirits!

Read the whole thing at:

Brookview Station Conductor's Cassis Makes Stop for Gold at Florida State Fair!

Congrats to Sue and Ed Miller of Brookview Station! Thier Conductor's Cassis took Gold T Florida State Fair International Wine & Grape Juice Competition 2012 in Tampa.

Brookview Station is located at Goold Orchards in Castleton, NY. Goold Orchards began in the spring of 1910 when James and Bertha Goold arrived by rail at Castleton’s town hub, a small whistle stop called the Brookview Station and walked to the farm they had recently purchased. Bertha, schooled at Emma Willard in Troy, and husband James, a recent graduate from Cornell were eager to apply the latest in agricultural technologies on their new fruit farm. Widowed in 1933, Bertha and her teenage son Robert continued to operate and grow the family farm. In 1941 Bob and his wife Marcia Grainer settled into the family farm and began raising a family. They continued to work and grow the family fruit farm into what is now Goold Orchards. Bob and Marcia eventually passed the day-today running of the farm to their children Peter, John and Sue, each of whom contributed to growing and running the family farm. Today, Sue Goold and husband Ed Miller own and operate the Goold family farm and the awardwinning Brookview Station Winery at Goold Orchards.

The winery was started in 2005, and has continued to garner awards ever since.

Congrats to Sue and Ed....and Karen and the gang! Well deserved!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Winery at St. George OPens in Mohegan Lake, NY

The Yorktown Patch reported today: "Winery Becomes OfficialThe Winery at St. George has receieved its temporary certificate of occupancy and to celebrate, they're holding a cocktail reception Friday, Feb. 10 and Saturday Feb. 11 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. They will be featuring complimentary passed hors d'œuvre."

According to their website: "The Winery at St. George is a New York State winery nestled in the scenic HudsonValley wine region. Our wine making operation, visitor’s center, and tasting room are housed in the historic Old St. George’s Church located on Route 6 in beautiful Mohegan Lake. The winery will produce limited edition, high quality wines from grapes grown at Hilltop Hanover Farm in Yorktown Heights. Our mission, our passion, is to advance environmentally sound organic agriculture while sustaining open land initiatives. We hope to promote community education and to enhance the cultural and aesthetic attributes of these scenic parts of Westchester County that we call home.

Planted on May 9th, 2007, the vineyard will be an integral part of Westchester County’s Conservation and Natural Resource Center. It boasts three grape varietals: Cabernet Franc, Seyval Blanc and Noiret (a Pinot Noir hybrid). We, the winemakers, look forward to years of abundant harvests and converting these fruits of labor into spectacular wines for all to enjoy!"

1715 E. Main Street Mohegan Lake NY 10547 (914) 455 - 4272

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Glorie Farm Cabernet Franc and Black Currant Wine

So, first off, I'm going to mention I'm about six months late with this review. My first mea culpas go out the folks at Glorie Winery. I did a tasting there some time ago, and the photos were lost and I forgot. I'm a schmuck. There's no question about it. I am sorry.

Secondly, I had a great tasting of wines at Glorie Farm Winery in October of 2011, and I meant to write a review right after. And what did I do....huh, I fumbled. I lost the photos, and while cleaning up my hard drive came across them. Shame on me!!! But I am here to make amends...or at least a good recommendation on some wines.

I had gone down to Glorie Farm Winery, and I did a tasting with Mary Ellen, who is the other half (and more attractive half) of the Doug and Mary Ellen Glorie of the Glorie Farm Winery.

Doug and I had been chatting outside and I had cut him short to make sure I could get in my tasting in the tasting room before Mary Ellen barred the doors and called the dog, Sullivan, to diner. At the time they had some other canine company, but Sullivan is their pride and joy - a big, friendly chocolate lab.

Glorie Farm is in Marlboro, NY. They grow peaches, pears, and other stone fruit, as well as grapes. They are a vineyard that makes their own estate bottled wine but also supplies a number of other vineyards around the state. Doug was employed for a lifetime at IBM. MaryEllen works as a free-lance sign language interpreter for the Deaf, when she's not manning the tastingroom.

Doug is a ubiquitous presence here in the valley. You'll see him at the grape growing sessions sponsored by the HVWGA and Cornell. You'll see him at the Hudson Valley Bounty and the Hudson Valley Wine Festival. He is affable and can be quite chatty. He's a genuine good guy.

There's a great photo of Mary Ellen from their wedding.

So one of the first things I tried was the Cabernet Franc. If you ever do anything, you need to taste the Cabernet Franc from Glorie Farm Winery. The wine is not a big, overpowering wine, but a medium-bodied red. Translucent in hue, it's got a lovely bright garnet color. Raspberry and vanilla are the first notes that will come to you, with hints of slightly darker berries, and a hint of cedar. The fruit is bold and upfront, accompanied by a bright acidity and firm but not overpowering tannins. This is a fine Burgundian-styled Cabernet Franc. refreshing, dazzling, delicious. A very big surprise.

The other wine to make sure you visit Glorie winery for is their black currant wine. Black currant wine (or cassis) is one of the signature artisanal wines of the Hudson Valley. Glorie's wine is a dark, unctuous wine, with dark, almost opaque purple hue, and rich deep flavors of cassis, dark tart raspberry, and hints of vanilla or honey. This is an exquisite black currant dessert wine (also know in the Valley by is much more traditional name - cassis), with just enough tartness to balance out the sweet, and make an absolutely exquisite wine. Fantatstic!

So the first people I want to apologize to are Doug and Mary Ellen, but the second group of people I want to apologize to is everyone else! I cheated you out of drinking this wine. Run, don't walk. This is truly great stuff!!

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Congrats to Hudson Valley Wine Goddess Debbie Gioquindo!

Here's some great news about someone we really like - Debbie Gioquindo. Debbie's given a lot to the Hudson Valley over the last five or more years. She's given a lot of time, and helped to raise the profile of the valley. She is one of the valley's biggest boosters. And she is at so many of the events up and down the region. A tireless promoter! Congrats, Debbie!

Hudson Valley Wine Goddess, Debbie Gioquindo Achieves Wine Location Specialist

Poughkeepsie, NY, February 8, 2012: Debbie Gioquindo, Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) is proud to announce she is being inducted into the fifth class of wine professionals that have the designation of Wine Location Specialist (WLS) by passing the Wine Location Specialist Certificate Program. As a Wine Location Specialist, Debbie is accredited by the CIVC and the IVDP and certified to lead wine education seminars, tastings and dinners specific to Champagne and Port.

The Wine Location Specialist Certificate Program is administered by The Center for Wine Orgins that was founded in 2005 by the growing regions of Champagne, France and Porto, Portugal. The Center represents the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC), the trade association that represents all the grape growers and houses of Champagne; and the Instituto dos Vinhos do Douro e Porto (IVDP), the trade association that represents all the grape growers and houses in Porto and the Douro Valley. The Center for Wine Origins was created to educate Americans about the importance of location when it comes to wine, and to gain greater protection of wine place names in the U.S.

Debbie joins 125 Wine Location Specialists across the globe that hold this designation.

About Debbie Gioquindo
Debbie Gioquindo, CSW, WLS, is also known as The Hudson Valley Wine Goddess. She is a wine blogger, educator, marketing and public relations professional. She became involved with the local wine industry in 2006 as a marketing consultant for the Shawangunk Wine Trail. That later led to becoming involved with the branding of Hudson Valley Wine Country. Wanting more in 2010 she sat for the Certified Specialist of Wine exam administered by the Society of Wine Educators.

After being downsized from her day job (because you need a day job, to provide for your wine passion) February 2011, she answered a tweet from @TheHappyBitch about creating a wine label. Three tweets and 6 months later Debbie along with Keryl Pesce launched Happy Bitch Wines.

Today Debbie consults with wineries and small business on marketing and public relations with an emphasis on emerging media as well as conducts wine education and tasting seminars. Debbie is also the chairperson of the Hudson Valley Wine & Spirits Competition that is held every year at the Hudson Valley Wine Festival.

You can find her on Facebook, Twitter and Google+

Friday, February 03, 2012

Palaia Vineyards Cabernet Franc Scores 84 with Wine Enthusiast

Palaia Vineyards 2008 Cabernet Franc (New York)
Appellation: New York, New York Other, New York, US
Varietal: Cabernet Franc

Mocha chocolate and cherry pie scents linger on the palate of this plush, easy-drinking Cab Franc. Straightforward yet densely fruited with fleshy cherry and strawberry flavors, it finishes on a pleasant caramel note. — A.I. (2/1/2012) — 84


Many wine snobs think of fruit based dessert wines as back country, homemade elixirs, high in alcohol and barren of good flavors, concocted by housewives or farmers. At least that’s how they wrinkle their noses. Indeed, at one farm show many years ago, in another state, a proprietor once bragged that his fruit hooch was the best on the eastcoast. He was modest; it was absolutely the best version of Vicks Formula 44 cough syrup I had ever tried. So I know where the snobs are coming from.

But, in fact, making quality dessert wines from non-traditional fruits (such as apples, raspberries, strawberries, peaches, etc.) is an artisanal endeavor. And the Hudson Valley is home to many great fruit wines. To extract the flavors of the fruit without ruining its delicate characteristics is as difficult a trick as there is. And of course, to keep the fruit’s flavors in harmony with the acidity and any tannin is not an easy trick.

The Hudson Valley is one of the best places in New York state to find exceptional artisanal fruit dessert wines. Lots of them. And they are great! Today’s fruit wines are much more sophisticated, with great flavor and good acidity. These wines are among the most popular wines in the valley. Open a bottle of raspberry dessert wine, and you’ll smell a big bowl of fresh, dark raspberries. A bottle of strawberry dessert wine and smell a big pile of just cut, fresh, bright strawberries. Open another and a thousand hand-picked blackberries will pour forth!

They are wonderful with soft rind cheeses and a small dollop of fig or black currant jam on a baguette. Many of the raspberry and blackberry dessert wines are an excellent accompaniment with chocolate desserts. The lighter wines are excellent with fruit tarts, pies, or crème brulee’. And all are great for just sitting by the fireplace or hanging out with a special someone. No, they won’t make anyone fall in love with you, but they will help to enhance the mood.

These wines are made from Hudson Valley fruit, and are made using old fashioned recipes, combined with new techniques, and modern methods. They are clean, bright, sweet, but not cloying. They are refreshing and dazzling!

So here are a dozen fruit wines you should make the effort to find….they are definitely worth seeking out.

Mark Stopkie and wifeLori of Adair Vineyards.

Adair Peche - A delectable dessert wine made from 100% White peaches. This wine pairs well with champagne, drizzled over a fruit salad, or by itself. Mark Stopkie’s dessert wine was a double gold medal winner in the 2008 and 2009 Hudson Valley Wine Competition, as well Best of Show in 2009 Hudson Valley Wine Competition. As quoted in the Wall Street Journal on August 17, 2010, “A delectable white peach dessert wine turned out to be one of the most memorable wines out of a dozen wineries visited.”

Johnathan Hull, owner/winemaker Applewood Vineyards

Applewood Apple Frost - Apple Frost is made from a blend of fresh harvested local apples. The juice is concentrated by freezing resulting a golden sweet wine that has over 50 apples in each 375ml bottle! This kind of wine is also known as Iced Cider, since it uses many of the same techniques as ice wine. Iced ciders have become incredibly popular, and sophisticated. Jonathan Hall, the owner-winemaker, has surpassed himself with this incredible wine! Serve it with artisanal soft cheeses. Fantastic!

Patricia Baldwin and her grandson.

Baldwin Raspberry - Patricia and Jack Baldwin and their family have been making popular fruit wines since the 1980s, as well as more traditional wines. This one is a dark elixir made from black raspberries - “Splendid,” raved The New York Times. So will you.

Baldwin Strawberry – Like having someone put fresh cut strawberries in your glass. It’s made from 100% fresh strawberries. This wine has won 5 Gold Medals! And it was named best fruit wine in New York two years in a row! “A strawberry jewel...tasting of pure strawberry,” reported The Toronto Sun

Sue and Ed Miller of Brookview Station

Brookview Station Porter’s Port – This is a serious port. Using fresh, dark sour cherries, Sue and Ed Miller have carefully crafted a top flight port worthy of aging. With a big mouthful of sour cherry, there is just enough sweetness not to make is cloying, but wonderful long lasting flavor. A neat trick, as cherry is a difficult flavor to play with. And the best part – if you age it, it will only get better!

Phyllis Feder of Clinton Vineyards

Clinton Vineyards Nuit - Silver Medal Winner, New York Wine Classic Copia Napa California CA. Gold Medal Winner, Indy International Wine Competition. Clinton Vineyards is among the top fruit dessert wine producers in the state, and one of the best on the east coast. Pure wild black raspberries produce an intense deep color and unforgettable silky rich mouth feel. It has great structure and a lingering port-like taste.

Clinton Vineyards Embrace - A remarkable rich dessert wine made exclusively from local red raspberries. Owner Phyllis Feder’s wine is smooth, rich and polished with generous berry taste which explodes on the palate. Supurb with anything chocolate.

Paperbirch Raspberry Fine Ruby – Three time Gold Medal winner (voted best dessert wine in the Hudson Valley twice!) from Hudson-Chatham Winery’s line of rich dessert wines. An intense explosion of ripe, ripe, bright raspberries. Fantastic with chocolate, cheese, or even ice cream!

David Pazdar of Pazdar Winery

Pazdar Cerise Chocolat™ - Owner David Pazdar is the king of dessert wines. From the sublime to the quirky, Pazdar’s wines are always a hit as farmers markets and wine festivals across the state. Loyal customers, and the newly indoctrinated all succumb to his sweet concoctions. Pazdar was among the first wineries in the United States to offer chocolate dessert wines. Cerise Cholat has luscious cherries with a hint of rich dark chocolate, what better way than to cuddle up with your favorite person on a cold winter's night and the ultimate aphrodisiac.

Pazdar Attitude® III – An International Gold Medal Winner, this wine is chock full of ripe sweet blueberries, perfectly balanced. An incredible nose!

Slyboro Cider House Ice Harvest Ice Cider - Awarded Gold Medal at Eastern International Wine Competition 2007 and The Concordance Gold Medal at the Indy International Wine Competition 2007. Fresh, artfully blended apple cider is pressed in the depths of our North Country winter and tucked outside to freeze. At the first thaw, a rich apple essence is drawn and slowly fermented till summers end. The resulting ambrosia is redolent of tropical fruits and warm baked apple with hints of spice.

Slyboro Ciderhouse Ice Harvest Ice Cider Special Reserve - Owner Dan Wilson’s aged ice cider dessert wine. From the 2006 harvest. A dry year and a special blend of apples yielded this rich, ambrosial ice cider. Smooth and warm with tropical fruit notes. An incredible experience. Intense. Recommended by Food & Wine magazine!