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.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Stoutridge Gravitas 2008

It’s hard not to like Stoutridge Winery. They do say all the right things, do all the right things, their winery is state of the art, and Kim and Steve are good people.

So I was thrilled when I saw a wine I had never seen before….Stoutridge Gravitas. It’s an aged red made from 50% Frontenac and 50% Chancellor. Both of these are big red grapes. Many use Frontenac for port, and Chancellor is often used as a blender to add color to wines. Since Frontenac needs no help in the color department, it’s easy to understand why this is such a dark, heavy, complex wine.

Big dark berries and bursting with cassis, the Stoutridge Gravitas 2008 is a fantastic wine. This is as big and deep a wine from the Hudson Valley as I have ever tasted. Unfiltered and unfined, as many of Steve Osborn’s wines are, this is a huge wine that is aptly named. The color is a dark, opaque purple-red. And the nose is a cross between heavy stewed dark berries (dark raspberries, big blueberries, and ripe blackberries) balanced with vanilla, some spice, and a hint of earthiness. Bright prune and cassis are the dominant flavors, with solid acidity and solid tannins. A nice finish.


Congrats to Kim and Steve!

It's a Winederful Life on the Hudson Valley

In A New York State of Mind Revisited: The Hudson Valley
by Tracy Ellen Kamens
It's a Winederful Life

Tracy Ellen Kamens, Ed.D., DWS, CWE adores wine and loves to teach. So much so that when the idea to combine her love of teaching with her passion for wine presented itself, she jumped at the opportunity and founded Grand Cru Classes. She is a self-professed wine geek, but is not a wine snob. Indeed, she is an equal opportunity drinker, ferreting out wonderful wines at all price points. However, she does draw the line at anything out of a jug.

Phyllis Feder of Clinton Vineyards

A relative hop, skip and a jump from New York City, the Hudson Valley wine region is much closer to Manhattan, but much less well known than its northerly neighbor, the Finger Lakes. Yet, this region actually boasts a longer history, with America’s oldest winery—Brotherhood Winery, which was established in 1839—located within its borders. Corresponding with the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area map, this large region can be divided into three areas – Lower Hudson Valley, Mid-Hudson Valley and Upper Hudson Valley. Possessing neither the lake influence of the Finger Lakes, nor the maritime climate of Long Island, the Hudson Valley is cooler and thus, more conducive to cold-hardy European varieties and French-American hybrids, both of which are planted there. Despite its age, the Hudson River Region AVA has seen much of its growth in the past decade, with many of its wineries only a few years old. Accordingly, the region has a few well established wineries, but most are still getting their bearings.

A Modern-Day Veuve
The widowed, Mrs. Cliquot (aka Veuve Cliquot) took over the family Champagne house upon the death of her husband. Similarly, in 2009, Phyllis Rich Feder said goodbye to her husband, Ben, but not to the winery he had spent his life building. Today, she diligently keeps his vision alive, continuing to craft high quality, Traditional Method sparkling wines, along with several dessert wines, including an award-winning cassis. The Bronx-born Ben bought the property in 1969, but didn’t plant grapes until 1974, a decision further reinforced by New York’s Farm Winery Act in 1976. After studying in France at Bollinger in 1980, Ben learned to produce wines using the same techniques as those used in Champagne, but chose to focus on French hybrid, Seyval Blanc rather than the usual suspects (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier). Phyllis remains dedicated not only to Clinton Vineyards, but also to the New York State wine industry, serving on board of the New York Grape and Wine Foundation.

Driven to Succeed
As an undergraduate at Fordham University, Matthew Spaccarelli used to shuttle students between the Manhattan and Bronx campuses, but an early September day found him driving a group of journalists to the Hudson Valley. While you might think that he is a professional cabbie, Matthew is actually the winemaker and general manager for Benmarl Winery. Having purchased Benmarl in 2006, the Spaccarelli family is new to the world of wine, but is no stranger to the region. When Matthew was a child, his family lived locally on an acre and a half of land that abutted a state park. He and his brother would depart early in the day with a sleeve of chocolate chip cookies, not to return again until dinner. These childhood treks instilled a love of the land in Matthew, which is evident as he talks about the new vineyards that are planned. Although he studied Political Science, he has spent several harvests in Mendoza, Argentina as a cellar rat, relegated to managing pump-overs as much due to his inexperience as due to his broken Spanish. However, his limited knowledge is clearly not an obstacle as a barrel tasting of wines from the 2010 vintage shows.

Defying Gravity
Steve Osborn prides himself on his winery’s sustainable practices. Active with Cornell’s sustainability study, the winery seeks to minimize its environmental impact and, to that end, Scott has installed a solar photovoltaic array on the winery’s roof. In addition, the winery was designed to take advantage of natural cooling, having been constructed in a hillside. Utilizing gravity flow production, Stoutridge’s winemaking practices are non-interventionist with none of the wines ever filtered or fined. Accordingly, all wines are only available at the winery due to this lack of processing and more fragile state of the wines. In 2009, Stoutridge added a distillery, thereby expanding its range of products.

Bee Mine
Beekeeper Ray Tousey fell in love with Clinton Vineyard’s Cassis and went about creating his own version with the addition of honey to balance out the tartness of the black currants. After branching out into other wines, he realized that he didn’t enjoy winemaking nearly as much as beekeeping. So, a quick call to his daughter and son-in-law, Kimberly and Ben Peacock, brought the pair home from England and to the helm of the family operation. Today, Ray and his partners can turn their attention to bees and other projects as Ben serves as manager of the winery.

Beyond wine, the area is also home to farmstead cheese producers and several distilleries including Harvest Spirits, producer of CORE Vodka and other apple-based spirits, and bourbon-producer, Tuthilltown Spirits Distillery.

Benmarl Winery, Slate Hill White NV, Hudson Valley (NY), USA, $18.00 The Slate Hill (a translation of Benmarl) White is a blend of Chardonnay, Riesling and Traminette. With high acidty, this dry wine has floral, citrus and bitter almond notes.

Clinton Vineyards, Jubliee NV, Hudson Valley (NY), USA, $30.00 Produced entirely from Seyval Blanc, this fully sparkling wine is made using the Traditional Method and is topped off with minimal dosage, resulting in a relatively dry wine. The nose is a mix of yeast and brioche, while the palate also includes apple peel and citrus.

Hudson-Chatham Winery, Chelois 2008, Hudson Valley (NY), USA, $22.00 Chelois is a French hybrid developed during the phylloxera epidemic as a replacement for Pinot Noir. Fortunately, Pinot Noir didn’t disappear, but equally fortunate is the development of this grape variety. Earthy and leafy with red fruit, this wine is vaguely reminiscent of Pinot Noir, but with a slightly foxy note.

Stoutridge, Gravitas 2008, Hudson Valley (NY), USA, $24.00 This wine is a blend of locally-grown, red grapes—Frontenc, de Chaunac and Cabernet Franc—which come together to create a dry wine with aromas and flavors of wet leaves, herbal characteristics and red berries.

Tousey Winery, Cabernet Franc 2010, Hudson Valley (NY), USA, $22.00 The grapes for this wine are purchased from Oak Summit Vineyards, which limits its own wine production to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The wine showed spice and plum aromas, which were joined by wet earth and mushroom on the palate.

Whitecliff Vineyard, Awosting White NV, Hudson Valley (NY), USA, $13.00 Among the more veteran members of the region, husband and wife team, Michael Migliore and Yancey Stanforth-Migliore, founded Whitecliff Vineyards twelve years ago. Referred to as a Hudson Heritage White, their Awosting White is a blend of Seyval Blanc and Vignoles and will be the first hybrid wine served at The Gramercy Tavern. Aromas of floral and grapefruit greet the nose, while the palate is slightly off-dry, but with vibrant acidity and beautiful balance.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 14th, 2011 at 11:38 am and is filed under Grand Cru Grapevine, New York, Sparkling Wine, Tasting Notes, Wine, Wine Education, Wine Industry. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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Warwick Valley Introduces NEW Cassis Black Currant Hard Apple Cider

“One of the best cider makers in America today. Absolutely fabulous. From Doc's Draft Hard Apple Cider (great, semi-dry and effervescent refreshment) to the incredibly dry, delicate, and fragrant Doc's Draft Hard Pear Cider, to the tremendous Doc's Framboise, which is a dessert beverage that is on par with any dessert wine out there. The raspberry can be sipped on a long hot day...what a delicious enjoyment. The pear and raspberry are to die for and are absolutely unique! These two ciders rate with the great Belgian ale house, Lindemann's, whose fruit ales are among the best in the world.” — Carlo De Vito, author of Wineries of the East Coast

I wrote that in 2005, and it still holds true today, maybe even more so than ever. Luckily, living in the Hudson Valley, I have the pleasure of tasting some excellent ciders. It's a lot of fun. !
But yesterday I made a new discovery at the Bounty of the Hudson 2012 held at Applewood Winery in Warwick, NY, a stone';s throw from Warwick Valley WInery & Distillery itself. There on the table was something astonishing....a new cider I hadn;t hear about before...Cassis Black Currant Hard Apple Cider. This was a fabulous new cider. An exceptional cider made with fresh black currants.

Like they're absolutely tremendous Raspberry Cider, Warwick's new Cassis Black Currant has all the aroma of cassis, and flavor....with that wonderful berry fllavor and aroma and with the tart cassis like finish, but the apple cider itself never gets lost. The green and golden apple flavor you'd expect come through, and are never dominated. It's incredibly well balanced, and wonderfully nuanced. Spectacular! Congrats to Jason and Jeremy, and to the whole crowd over at Warwick

Sunday, July 29, 2012


The Bounty of the Hudson was held on July 28 and 29, 2012 at Applewood Winery in Warwick, NY. It was a lot of fun. Here's the photos from the event.
David Pazdar and his ubiquitous helpmate Tom.
Michael Migliore of Whitecliff,
Jonathan Hull of Applewood Winery, and
Doug Glorie of Glorie Farm Winery.

Dominique DeVito of Hudson-Chatham
Michelle Hull of Applewood Winery
Randy of Warwick Valley
Tiffany and Ryan Selby of Robibero Vineyards

BOUNTY OF THE HUDSON (more photos...)

Doug Glorie of Glorie Farm Winery
Michelle and Jonathan Hull of Applewood Winery
Randy from Warwick and Jonathan from Applewood
Dominique DeVito of Hudson-Chatham Winery

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hudson Valley Wine Goddess Television Segment on the Hudson Valley

Hudson Valley Wine Goddess Debbie Gioquindo did a great tour of Millbrook Vineyards, Benmarl Winery and Whitecliff Vineyards and Winery. Learn about a geo-thermal winery, Babydoll sheep and how it helps the environment. Hudson Valley Wine Goddess Debbie Gioquindo explores these wineries with Kim Hart for a Cablevision Special that aired on July 4.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bounty of the Hudson Wine Festival July 28 and 29, 2012

Bounty of the Hudson Wine Festival 2012

July 28, 2012 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm (Saturday)
July 29, 2012 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm (Sunday)

Applewood Winery
82 Four Corners Road
Warwick, NY 10990
Bounty of the Hudson at the Applewood Winery

Treat your taste buds to a wide array of Hudson Valley-sourced wines, foods, and artisan cheeses at the annual Bounty of the Hudson. Live music and the ambiance at Applewood Winery, this year’s hosting venue, promise to make this delightful vineyard-farm-to-table experience a culinary highlight of the summer. Buy one-day tickets on-line for this annual feast happening in the Warwick countryside on both Saturday, July 28, and Sunday, July 29, from noon to 5 p.m.

Hudson Valley Wineries Thrive in Finger Lakes

The 2012 Finger Lakes Wine Festival has come and gone, ut the memories live on! It was an absolute blast! The busies show in recent memory. and the Hudson Valley was represented.

Hudson-Chatham Winery was there.

Brotherhood Winery was there.

Happy Bitch wines was there with Debbig Gioquindo and her husband Paul. They were handing out cool stickers that it seemed every woman was wearing.

The ubiquitous David Pazdar was there as well, working the Toga Party as well as the rest of the festival.

Great job representing, guys!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Hudson River Valley red has always been one of the most popular wines produced by Huson-Chatham Winery. Both a revolution in it's blending and in it's packaging, the wine has been a major hit. Winner of several gold medals for it's quality and taste, the wine always won the People's Choice Award for 2010 for it's label depicting the Hudson River. Every year the Hudson-Chatham winery chooses a new paiitng form the Hudson River School of Painting for the label to it's flagship table red. The wine was recently featured in the New York Times.

Hudson River Valley Red 2011 is a change of blend, combining Baco Noir, Chelois, Leon Millott, Marchel Foch, and Merlot made in a ripasto style (Italian and Spanish style), meaning it combines grapes (some of which have already been pressed once before) to add flavor, texture, and complexity. It is a light bodied red, with bright cherry and vanilla aromas. The wine was aged in French oak for six months. It is a great food wine, with bright acidity and medium tannins, it is a beautifully balanced wine with lots of fruit up front, but a bright, dry finish that lingers on the palate.

This year's label celebrates the Hudson River Sloop with one of the Hudson River's most famous painters, Francis Augutus Silva, who painted dozens and dozens of canvansas with the Hudson stretched out across them. Hudson-Chatham Winery worked directly with the Brooklyn Museum to make this fantastic painting available for this special edition of this wine.

Francis Augustus Silva (1835-1886)
Born in New York City, Francis Augusta Silva was forbidden to paint artistically by his father so he became a successful sign painter. Unfulfilled, at the outbreak of the Civil War, he enlisted in the New York State Militia, serving until 1866. Soon after the war he listed himself as 'artist' in New York, devoting himself to marine views. He was made a member of the Water Color Society in 1872, and of the Artist Fund in 1873. Essentially self taught, early success awarded him the privilege of exhibiting with the National Academy of Design, the Brooklyn Academy of Art and the American Institute of Art.

He was most prolific in the 1870s. He painted extensively of the Hudson River, including scenes at New York Bay, Haverstraw Bay, The Palisades, near Kingston, and near the Catskills. Traveling frequently to his favored locations for subject matter, Silva's works often show both New York and New London harbors, Westchester, Narragansett Bay, and a single known western work of Lake Michigan. Later in life, he traveled to Venice, creating marine views there. Around this time he arrived at his mature style, often directly compared with the "vigor and breadth of Winslow Homer".

“Silva, a New Yorker born in 1835, served as a captain in the Civil War before embarking on his artistic career, which ended with his death from pneumonia in 1886. It is interesting to contemplate his paintings against the background of war and the accelerated postwar industrialization,” wrote journalist Ken Johnson in the New York Times, on June 7, 2002, referring to a retrospective of the artist’s works.

Just before his death, Silva was one of a several artists who had been feted at the Lotos Club in New York City in February of 1886, where a good selection of his works was on exhibit. The Lotos Club, one of the oldest literary clubs in the United States, was founded on March 15, 1870, by a group of young writers, journalists and critics, which at that time was located at 149 Fifth Avenue at 21st Street.

According to his obituary in the New York Times, April1, 1886, “He had rooms in the Studio Building, on West Tenth Street, but his wife and family lived at Long Branch, where the painter was accustomed to pass much of his time. He had been sick for a short time only.”

“Silva's touching scenes of sailboats floating on peaceful New England waters or the Hudson River, irradiated by the ruddy light of rising or setting suns and populated by lonesome, contemplative figures, are less realistic depictions of modern life than consoling fantasies of divinely sponsored retreat and convalescence. Images of rougher seas or, in one of the most compelling pictures, a thunderstorm breaking over the Hudson near Nyack, only add other dimensions to a hopeful if bittersweet vision of natural beneficence,” continued Johnson.

His luminous paintings are appreciated for their 'meticulous realism' with a tranquil atmospheric element. In his manipulation of color while avoiding 'artificial prettiness', he instead intensified the genuine effects of nature while expressing personal emotion. Silva became known as one of the leaders in the American Luminist movement, of the second generation of the Hudson River School. However, Silva is rightly also considered alongside foremost American seascape artists A.T. Bricher and William Trost Richards. Silva represents the pinnacle of American sea painters.

The painting chosen for the label was “The Hudson at the Tappan Zee,” 1876. Oil on canvas, 24 x 42 3/16 in. (61 x 107.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Dick S. Ramsay Fund, 65.10. It was chosen because the painting features a Hudson River Sloop.

“Sloops greatly affected Hudson River Valley commerce, specifically through the late 1700s and early 1800s, thus impacting American development as a whole,” wrote Blaze Interligi in the Spring of 2009 in a research paper entitled “Hudson River Sloops.”
“The sloop has a single mast with a fore and aft rig placed further up on a shallow hull. They ranged from sixty to even one-hundred-and-forty feet at the largest, depending on the type of sloop,” continued Interligi. “On the Hudson, owners and shipwrights made specific adaptations to the sloop for Hudson River navigation. For example, they utilized red cedar for the sides and white oak for the bottom because the red cedar could withstand exposure to the elements better than the oak, but oak has the ability to hold up against the rocks and sand of the Hudson Rivers.

Similarly, upright masts enabled quicker lowering of sails to prevent the often sudden strong gusts of wind from blowing the craft out of control.”
“A golden age of Hudson River sloop commerce took advantage of this extensive American waterway to ship between the two main centers of business on the river, Albany and New York City. Albany was geographically advantageous because through the mid to late 1700s it was at the center of trade with western territories and Native Americans. Fur, lumber, flour, and peas, all came from trade with Native Americans or even smuggled from the French. The ships were specially adapted to be large for the bulky cargo they often carried. Similarly, the river opened up travel and trade through Albany to other states northeast of New York State including Connecticut and Massachusetts,” wrote Interligi.

“Cargo was a main component of Hudson River sloop commerce but was paired with passenger travel as an equally important business for sloop operators and owners. Sloops were adapted to support passenger travel specifically because it provided comfortable and speedy transportation up and down the Hudson River…This is not to say the ships were small, the size of vessels had to be considerable because the ships could carry passengers and cargo, but these were river going ships and not oceanic vessels.”

The Sloop Clearwater
In 1966, folk music legend and environmental activist Pete Seeger, in despair over the pollution of his beloved Hudson River, announced plans to “build a boat to save the river.” At the time, the Hudson was rank with raw sewage, toxic chemicals and oil pollution; fish had disappeared over many miles of its length. Seeger believed a majestic replica of the sloops that sailed the Hudson in the 18th and 19th centuries would bring people to the river, where they could experience its beauty and be moved to preserve it. Inspired by that vision, the organization began with the launch of the sloop Clearwater in 1969 —a majestic106-foot long replica vessel. Clearwater, America’s Environmental Flagship, was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 2004 for its role in the environmental movement, and is among the first vessels in the U.S. to conduct science-based environmental education aboard a sailing ship, creating the template for environmental education programs around the world. More than half a million young people and hundreds of thousands of adults have experienced their first real look at an estuary’s ecosystem aboard Clearwater.

The mission of Clearwater is to preserve and protect the Hudson River for the benefit of its eco-system and human communities while creating new environmental leaders for a sustainable future.

Read more about Hudson River Sloops at:
Read more about the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater at:

Previous labels of Hudson River Valley Red: