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.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Wit is Out Praises Furnace Brook Winery (MA)

The Wit is Out is a fantastic blog and they recently reviewed Furnace Brook Winery from Richmond, MA in the Berkshires. Great review!

Chardonnay Special Reserve – $16.99: A pale yellow color yielded a lot of pear, apple, and grapefruit aromas on the nose. I also got pear and grapefruit on the palate with an apricot finish. I really like this wine as I’m not a real fan of Chardonnays but this was one I’d like to have more of.

Dry Riesling – $16.99: Now a dry Riesling is something I am partial to. I think of most of the white wines, a dry Riesling is one I look forward to trying each time I open a bottle. On the nose were nuances of apple and pear with neither one overpowering the other, a nice balance between the two. I got pretty much the same on the palate with a good touch of acidity.

Mead: This wasn’t for sale when I visited them but they had it on the tasting menu. According to the tasting staff, this is made from an Ethiopian recipe that opens with fresh cut hay and sawdust on the nose with hints of honey. Honey and golden raisin flavors followed and although a bit too sweet for me it tasted good nonetheless.

Cabernet Sauvignon – $18.99: Black berries and cassis on the nose led into red and black cherries on the palate with a neat little mulberry finish. I liked this but not as much as some Cabernet Sauvignons from France, Italy, and California. I’m not knockin’ New England reds mind you, it’s just that we’ve got a ways to go yet to be of the same caliber as those I just mentioned. We do well with white wines through.

Sparkling Blanc de Blancs – $16.99: One of my favorite white wines are of the sparkling kind. This had visions of a Brut Champagne with a pear aroma and apple and pear flavors. This was very effervescent like a sparkling wine should be. Really liked this one.

French Cidre’ – $12.99: This had a bit of sparkle to it but not like a sparkling wine and again it had apple and pear aromas and flavors too. I really liked this but thought it was a bit over priced as most ciders I come across are under ten bucks.

Read the rest at:

Wine Enthusiast Raves About Cornelius Applejack

Great article in the recent issue of Wine Enthusiast about applejack and Harvest Spirit's fabulous elixir Cornelius Applejack.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Here's an article I wrote for the Spring 2012 Visit Vortex Hudson Valley magazine about soft approachable reds coming from the Hudson Valley focusing on Gamay Noir, Pinot Noir, and Baco Noir.

The only thing I left out of here was Cabnert Franc, which the Hudson Valley very much produces a Burgundy style version. Palaia makes a fantastic Cab Franc. Brimstone Hill, Whitecliff, Millbrook, Tousey, Warwick, Amici, and many others.
To read the magazine go here:

Friday, March 23, 2012

Seyval Blanc in the Hudson Valley

Seyval Blanc is the most widely planted white grape in the Hudson Valley and is used in a number of blends as well as sold as a single varietal. Seyval Blanc is a very malleable grape, and can be used to make a variety of wines including dry, semi-sweet, dessert wines, and sparkling. Seyval Blanc has a characteristic citrus element in the aroma and taste, as well as a minerality that may be compared to white Burgundy.

Seyval Blanc (or Seyve-Villard hybrid number 5276[1] - its more technical name) is a hybrid wine grape variety used to make white wines. Its vines ripen early, are productive and are suited to fairly cool climates. It also has the heartiness to survive the usually harsh winters, which is why it is perfect for the Hudson Valley. Seyval Blanc is also grown mainly in England, the Finger Lakes, and to a lesser extent in Canada. Seyval Blanc was created either by Bertille Seyve, or his son-in-law Villard, as a cross of Seibel 5656 and Rayon d'Or (Seibel 4986), and was later used to create the hybrid grape St. Pepin.

In its single varietal form my favorites include dry unoaked and dry oaked Seyval Blanc. The unoaked Seyvals are bright, dry, and lemony, tasting very much like a Pinot Grigio or a Sauvignon Blanc. Lots of green apples and citrus. Oaked wines can have a much more complex profile, with lots of tartness, minerality, and as wine and grape authority Oz Clarke points out, a “Chablis-like austerity to start with and a honeyed richness with bottle age.” Fume Blanc is a better wine style that seems more to give readers the proper sense of these kinds of Seyvals formidable flavor profile.
It also makes a sensational sparkling, the best example of which are the wines from Clinton Vineyards, which produce incredibly layered wines of richness and character. Brimstone Hill also makes a formidable sparkler.

Seyval Blancs are perfect accompaniments to artisanal Hudson Valley cheeses, especially goat cheese. They also go spectacularly with roasted chicken, swordfish, lobster, soft shell crabs, trout, eggplant, pasta primavera or clam sauce, and of course Thai cuisine.

Here are some of the terrific Seyval Blancs of the Hudson Valley:
Adair Seyval Blanc – A classic stainless steel version of the Hudson Valley most prolific white grape. Bright acidity, fresh fruit, and a citrusy ending. Delicious!

Applewood Seyval Chardonnay - A crisp, fresh white. A good match with lighter style fish or chicken dishes as well as grilled pork chops or veal piccata w/lemon & capers

Applewood Seyval Chardonnay Reserve – An elegant fine white wine, a blend of predominantly Seyval Blanc blended with Chardonnay, and aged in American Oak.

Benmarl 2010 Estate Seyval Blanc - Sourced from their Ridge Road estate vineyard in Marlboro, this 2010 vintage is the first completed harvest from this young vineyard. The wine brings fresh notes of crisp apple and melon on the nose and palate with a soft yet crisp finish.

Brimstone Hill Seyval Blanc - A high quality varietal with good character and smooth after taste. Perfect for seafood, appetizers and chicken.

Cascade Mountain Seyval Blanc- A dry white wine of Seyval Blanc aged in stainless steel to preserve the fruit. Crisp, clean, and well balanced, this wine has won numerous awards, including three Gold Medals.

Clearview Vineyards – Apples, melon, citrus. Done in the Sancerre style from France’s Loire region. A bright crisp wine.

Clinton Seyval Blanc 2010 - 34th Vintage – The valley’s signature white table wine--a classic Seyval Blanc-crisp, light and balanced with purity of fruit and underlying accents of citrus and green apple. Food friendly and equally comfortable at cocktail time. It is delightfully refreshing.

Glorie Farm Winery Seyval Blanc - The proprietors' favorite wine. Estate-grown with pride and vinified in the classic style, dry and crisp with notes of toasted nut, citrus, and vanilla. Rich in bouquet and full in the finish. A Hudson Valley specialty.

Hudson-Chatham 2009 Seyval Blanc Estate Block 1 North Creek Vineyard - Made from grapes grown in the Block 1 section of our estate vineyard – North Creek Vineyard - this exceptional wine is made using only 100% Seyval Blanc grown in their own vineyard. It’s also aged in French and American oak. The resulting wine is an incredible, light white wine filled with river stone mineral overtones, and dry, lemony finish. It’s done in the style of a fume blanc, and goes great with clams, oysters, shellfish, any kind of seafood, cheeses, chicken, all kinds of appetizers and salads.

Hudson-Chatham Seyval Blanc – A stainless steel version of this classic Hudson Valley white grape. Notes of green apple, melon, and lemon, with hints of minerality. A great table white ready to compliment roasted chicken, grilled trout or salmon, or great with cheeses or salads.

Stoutridge 2008 Seyval Blanc - Bursting with a vibrant, delicate fruitiness and honeysuckle floral notes, this Seyval is very reminiscent of the taste of French Champagne. Perfect as an aperitif or paired with lobster or shell fish. Unfiltered and unfined.

And several highly recommended sparkling wines:
Brimstone Hill Domaine Bourmont Sparkling Wine - Made in the full "Methode Champenoise" this dry sparkling is a must for all celebrations! An award winner. This sparkling wine is a blend of Chardonnay and Seyval Blanc and very nice too, just what you need to start our picnic in style. A must for all celebrations!!

Clinton Seyval Naturel - (Méthode champenoise) This unique 100% Seyval Champagne is bright with a core of fruit flavors, hints of green apple and pear yield a toasty fresh finish.

Jubilee - (Méthode champenoise) Elegant and lush with well integrated acidity. Apple, vanilla, dried fruit and citrus nuances. Dry with a long finish. 2011 Hudson Valley Wine & Spirits Compeition, Best Hudson Valley AVA Wine.

A great article on Seyval Blanc New York state grape expert and Hudson-Chatham winemaker J. Stephen Casscles:

Baldwin Vineyards Opens this Weekend, March 31 and April 1, for their 31st Season

Hard to write a history of the Hudson Valley without including the first wave of winegrowers after the Farm Winery Act. Benmarl’s Mark Miller gets all the accolades, garnering Farm Winery License No. 1 for all his outstanding work in helping to establish the new law which made it easier for farmers to enter into the wine game.

Then came a wave of intrepid winemakers, young men and women who decided to follow their dreams. It was people like Richard Eldrige and his wife Valerie at Brimstone Hill; people like Pat and Jack Baldwin of Baldwin Vineyards; George Westmoreland at Cascade Mountain; George W. Naumburg, Jr., M.D. and his wife Michelle at the late North Salem Vineyards, and many others (apologies if I left anyone out). These people were the pioneers. These people are the shoulders every current Hudson Valley winemaker now stands on. They deserve not only our praise but our thanks and undying gratitude. The burgeoning industry we now enjoy would not have been possible if it were not for this first new wave of winemakers.

As the valley matures, and starts to reap the rewards it so richly deserves, I think it important to make sure we take the time to acknowledge them and laud their spirit of enterprise, determination, and achievement. We know them now, older statesmen in a sea of new wineries. But they too started out as a young generation of idealistic people, who wore jeans and sneakers, and worked the earth back in the day. They’ve seen more vintages than I have tasted. They’ve worked more rows of vines and fruits than I can count.

The remarkable thing is, many are still at it! Thankfully, Pat and Jack Baldwin are still pressing their fruit and turning out wonderful wines. Theirs is quite a story.

“Committed wine aficionados, Jack and Pat Baldwin started a gourmet dinner and wine tasting group and one of the most active Les Amis du Vin chapters in New Jersey. After moving to New York, they boiught a 200 year old house on the banks of the Shawangunk River in the Catskills and converted the outbuildings into a winery,” wrote famed wine writer Anthony Dias Blue. Jack is a former pharmaceutical executive. He and Pat fell in love with wine after a trip to France in 1974.

Located 85 miles northwest of NYC in the beautiful Hudson River Region, Baldwin Vineyards is situated on a 35 acre vineyard with a pasture like setting. In 1982, The Baldwins purchased the farm which had been the Hardenburgh Estate since 1786, including a stone home and 18,000 square feet of out buildings situated on 37 acres of prime alluvial farmland.

The first vineyard was planted in May, 1982, and a second vineyard the next year, bringing total vine acreage up to 10 acres. In the Fall of 1982, the first vintage was vinified using grapes purchased locally, and the winery opened in July 1983 with five wines, three of which were awarded medals at the New York State Wine Competition. By 1985, both were working full time to create a micro winery which offers a wide array of different styles of wine for the discerning palate.

“…they originally grew most of their own grapes (all but 15 percent) and ran their own winery. Although a much smaller establishment, their fruit wines put them on the map. In an Interview with Patricia Baldwin, she explained that in 1988 her husband was the first person to make fruit wine without including grapes in the drink. Strawberry was his first fruit wine, and now they make Black Raspberry, Blueberry, Apple, and Cherry all from their respective fruits alone. In 2006 and 2007 their fruit wines even got international recognition,” wrote Colleen Ryan, in a white paper entitled, “Wineries, the Hudson Valley’s best kept secret.”

Starting with their Strawberry Wine in 1985 (Best fruit wine at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition 2006 and 2007); they added Apple, Blueberry, Cherry and Black Raspberry wines which have gathered many more awards. The Black Raspberry Wine, alone, has won eight Gold Medals in various wine competitions, in addition to many other awards.

The Baldwin's philosophy on fruit wines, which began a trend throughout the entire Northeast, was to vinify fruit wines as premium varietal wines, rather than the old tradition of adding water and other less expensive fruit juices to bring down the cost. Instead of making the fruit wines dry, as was the tradition, the Baldwins finished their fruit wines so they tasted like the fruit they started from.

Baldwin also produces Chardonnay, Merlot, Riesling, Brut Champagne, Port and other dozen wines. Their wines have been reviewed favorably in Wine Spectator and the New York Times, with their famed strawberry wine gaining much of the recognition.

Baldwin hosts a Strawberry, Chocolate & Wine Festival, serving their famous strawberry and chocolate desserts along with a wine tasting of their fifteen different wines. There are sixteen Festivals scheduled for 2011. Visit their website for dates and times.

This coming weekend, Jack and Pat are back! They are opening their tastingroom doors for their 31st year! Congratulations to them. And to us…after all, we get to drink the fruits of their labor!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Gregory Dal Piaz of Snooth Raves About Six Hudson Valley Wines

Editor-in-Chief Gregory Dal Piaz recently raved about six Hudson Valley wines. Here's what he has to say, with the links to prove it!

Hudson-Chatham Baco Noir Old Vines 2010
Lightly scented with notes of black plum, grape and wood spice topped with a touch of muskiness and a touch of dried cilantro. Bright on entry, this is medium bodied with a nice base of supple tannins. The fruit is fairly intense, picking up the black plum notes from the nose, yet a touch simple. More wild plum notes on the palate are joined by well-measured oak and blackberry notes that lead to the light, fresh black-fruited finish. Very well done in a style that gently recalls Northern European red wines. Very gluggable. 85pts

Read more:

Whitecliff Chardonnay 2010
Nicely gentle on the nose with a subtle complexity married to fine freshness. Notes of apple, apple skin, orange, herb and lime great the nose with support from a very gentle shading of oak. This is very bright in the mouth. It explodes in lightweight vibrancy with big acids that stretch out the apple, herb and slightly earthy flavors on the palate before showering fresh citrus fruits on the moderately long finish. Perhaps not terribly complex, this is succulent, balanced and just terrific. 91pts

Read more:

Benmarl Cabernet Franc Ridge Road Estate 2010
A bit spicy on the nose with nice notes of rose stems, pink peppercorn, mineral red fruit and a touch of salt with hints of melon rind. On the palate this shows a fine mineral edge, it’s small scaled but very well balanced and transparent with lovely ripe raspberry fruit. The tannins are quite ripe and the acid fully integrated. On the back end this shows a lean nature, slightly austere though very fresh with cranberry and cherry pit fruit that carries through on the modest finish. 86pts

Read more:

Brotherhood America's Oldest Winery Dry Riesling 2010
A bit sweet smelling and slightly oily with a nutty, cashew-like quality to the ripe sweet orchard fruits that have a touch of pit/backing spice to them. Drier than the nose would lead one to believe and in fact really fairly dry with rich, fairly fresh fruit in the mouth. This really offers up wonderfully aromatic apricot fruit in a lighter bodied style with nuanced honey and spice notes adding detail. There’s just enough sugar here to balance out the acid, leaving this quite dry feeling and pretty delicious. 87pts

Read more:

Tousey Pinot Noir 2010
A lovely, pale wine. This smells wonderful. A bit stemmy with a slight pine needle cast to the bright, red-fruited nose that is complex and delicate at the same time. On entry this has a fine leading edge of sweet red fruit, wild strawberry tone and more stemmy accents and a darker base. The texture is quite elegant and bright with the tannins firm yet layered under the ripe fruit. The long finish continues the theme of strawberry, herb and some cherry with maybe a bit of creamy oak rounding things out. Tense and a bit severe even, this is just lovely Pinot and it makes a statement. 90pts

Read more:

Millbrook Tocai Fruliano 2010
Clean and crisp with bright, cleansing acidity backing up nice citrus and kiwifruit character on the nose with just a hint of lime blossom. This is a touch lean in the mouth but refreshing and has a wonderful springtime appeal. 86pts

Read more:

Watch the Vitrual Tasting on Wednesday, March 21, 2010 at 8pm.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Hudson Valley Chardonnays Come Into Their Own

If the Hudson Valley is the closest thing New York state has to the Burgundy region (and I would posit that is being recognized as that more and more), then one needs to consider the white wines of the valley. The valley produces a wide range of white wines from Tocai Fruliano to Seyval Blanc, and others.

But the most direct correlation to Burgundy styled wines of the whites is Chardonnay. Chardonnay has really started to take hold here in the valley, and it is proving to be a great and credible region, with some incredible characteristics.

The valley was formed thousands of years ago, when the receding Wisconsin ice sheet gouged a deep ravine up the eastern border of what is now New York state, not far from its New England neighbors, Connecticut and Massachusetts mainly. As it withdrew its icy hand, scratching like fingernails on chalkboard over the state’s northbound rocky spine of the Catskills, it deposited river rocks all along the many farms on both sides of the river.

The terroir of the Hudson Valley is then mostly large and medium round river stones, slate, and some clay. Other compounds emerge from vineyard to vineyard, but these three elements are never very far. A common joke amongst Hudson Valley vineyard owners is that they grow rocks better than anything else.

One of the things many of the region’s best chardonnays have in common is a certain minerality. Whether the vintners do a stainless steel version, with lots of fruit and mineral, or a more complex, Burgundy styled white, made left on lees, with a malolactic touch of creaminess, and hints of toasty oak, these wines come from a place. Using Matt Kramer’s term, they have a “somewhereness” to them.

The best chardonnays of the valley, hands down are: Oak Summit Chardonnay, Millbrook Chardonnay, Tousey Chardonnay, Whitecliff Chardonnay, Cereghino-Smith Chardonnay, and Brotherhood Chardonnay. No order is implied here. These are wines that have won major awards or have gotten review attention from major media and received excellent scores. These are the ones the experts have raved about. Places like the New York Times, the Wall St. Journal, and other newspapers and magazines.

These chardonnays are made with complexity and a drinkability that begs for seafood, whether its shellfish or trout almandine, fresh Hudson Valley artisanal cheeses, salads, soups, a great risotto, or a hot herb-roasted chicken. Served slightly chilled, these whites show big fruits up front like green apple, apricot, honeysuckle, melon and other classic characteristics. The best of them, like the ones above, have a delicateness that makes them elegant, nuanced, and refreshing.
I can’t pretend to have tried all the other chardonnays in the Hudson Valley, as much as I would like to. Upon searching, there are more Chardonnays than even I expected. And many of them are very good (I’ve tasted a bunch) and very, very drinkable. Chardonnay is in fact the most widely produced white wine in the valley.

The Oak Summitt, Tousey, and Millbrook were grown on the east side of the river not far from each other, and have big, lovely fruit forward characters, but delicate flavors and beautiful finishes. And the Brotherhood chardonnay, though made on the west bank of the river, is actually grown on the east side north of Tousey in Columbia County. Tousey’s future chardonnays will also come from that same vineyard.

The Whitecliff is estate grown, and a delicate, flinty white dry wine with wonderful acidity and elegance. And the Cereghino-Smith is blended with a hint of Viognier, giving it a wonderful nose and tremendous fruit forward profile, with a clean, crisp finish.

Other quality wines include Robibero Chardonnay, Palaia Chardonnay, Warwick Chardonnay, Benmarl Chardonnay, Hudson-Chatham Chardonnay, Bladwin Chardonnay, El Passo Winery Chardonnay Ledge Rock Hill Chardonnay, El Paso Chardonnay, Basha Kill Wood Duck, Clearview Chardonnay, and Pazdar Chardonnay.

I strongly recommend you try a Hudson Valley chardonnay and taste what the valley has to offer!

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Virtual Tasting is Wednesday March 21 at 8 p.m. EST.
Editor-in-Chief, Gregory Dal Piaz will host a tasting of New York's Hudson Valley


Live from the Millbrook Winery in scenic upstate New York.

Our next Virtual Tasting is Wednesday March 21 at 8 p.m. EST. RSVP now!

Just a scant hour north of Manhattan lies the Hudson Valley, practically a suburb of New York City, where a world of wonders waits to be discovered. From artisinal cheese to heirloom apples, it is a region rich with traditional delicacies. Do you want to know the best thing about the Hudson Valley?

It's the wine!

Wine in the Hudson Valley has come a long way over the past decades. The vibe remains pretty much the same, think Sonoma circa 1960, but the wines are really evolving. While a decade ago hybrid grapes may have made the most successful wines, today we're looking at Chardonnay and Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and even some groovy outliers like Tocai Friulano!

Sound exciting? Well it is! What's even more exciting is that I'm going to be tasting some of the best wines live during Snooth's next virtual tasting.

Join Carlo Devito, author, emissary, winery owner and president of, and me for an hour of discovery and exploration as we talk about the history of the Hudson Valley and all that is making it one of today's most exciting and vibrant wine producing regions.

Bring any bottle of Hudson Valley wine you can find! We'll be taking live questions about the Hudson Valley and the wines produced there. Come join the party next Wednesday March 21st at 8pm. We'll be waiting!

Go here to link in live!

Wines included will be:
2010 Benmarl Cabernet Franc
2010 Whitecliff Chardonnay
2011 Millbrook Tocai Fruliano
2010 Hudson-Chatham Baco Noir Old Vines
2010 Brotherhood Dry Riesling
2010 Tousey Pinot Noir

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hudson Valley Wineries Shine at New York Drinks New York at Astor Center Grand Tasting Tonight!

New York Drinks New York Grand Tasting at Astor Center Tonight!!!

All over Facebook and Twitter people are talking about New York Drinks New York Grand Tasting at the Aster Center tonight. From the New York Times' Howard Goldberg to the widely published Amy Zavatto of Edible magazines fame, and to fans of local wine. The New York Cork Report will be retweeting and posting reviews of wine writers and fans there on the ground. Smart phones will be blinking plenty as Grand Tasting goers will tweet and post about their favorite wines or biggest surprises. Retweets and posts and facebook postings will continue during the course of the event.

Tonight, at the GRAND TASTING writers and consumers will taste hundreds of wines from more than 35 New York producers from the Finger Lakes, Niagara Escarpment, Long Island, Hudson River Region and Thousand Islands.

Fine New York cheeses and local hors d'oeuvres provided by Astor Center, 399 Lafayette Street (at E. 4th Street)

Monday, March 12, 2012
5:30 to 8 pm

Tickets are not available at the event. THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT! That is a success! For as long as I have been covering wines on the east coast, there has never been such a talked about tasting event of any east coast wine. And in our nation;s wine capital! This is the kind of event, and leadership, the New York wine industry has been hungering for...and here it is.

Congrats to all involved from the NYWGF to the wineries themselves!

Here's a list of Hudson Valley wineries featured tonight!
Benmarl Winery
Brotherhood Winery
Clinton Winery
Stoutridge Winery
Millbrook Winery