Hudson River Valley Wineries

This blog is dedicated to news, events, profiles and reviews of fine food and wine in the Hudson River Valley. We especially feature and spotlight the burgeoning wineries of the Hudson River Region. We accept and will relay information about releases, events, festivals and any toher happening related to food and wine in the Hudson River Valley. Send pertitnent information to

My Photo

Carlo DeVito is a long time wine lover, and author of books and magazine articles. He is the author of Wineries of the East Coast. He has traveled to wine regions in California, Canada, up and down the east coast, France, Spain and Chile. He has been a published executive for more than 20 years. He shepherded the wine book program of Wine Spectator as well as worked with Kevin Zraly, Oz Clarke, Matt Kramer, Tom Stevenson, Evan Dawson, Greg Moore, Howard Goldberg, and many other wine writers. He has also published Salvatore Calabrese, Jim Meehan, Clay Risen, and Paul Knorr. Mr. DeVito is the inventor of the mini-kit which has sold more than 100,000,000 copies world wide. He has also publisher such writers as Stephen Hawking, E. O Wilson, Philip Caputo, Gilbert King, James McPherson, John and Mary Gribbin, Thomas Hoving, David Margolick, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., John Edgar Wideman, Stanley Crouch, Dan Rather, Dee Brown, Susie Bright, and Eleanor Clift. He is also the owner of Hudson-Chatham Winery, co-founder of the Hudson Berkshire Beverage Trail, and president of the Hudson Valley Wine Country.

Friday, September 28, 2012


Sat, 29 -- Sun, 30 Crafts at Rhinebeck Fall Festival Sept 29 & 30, 10am-5pm both days. (WINE TENT)

Sept. 29 - 6-7:30PM Release of the Naked Flock Hard Cider - Original, Draft & Pumpkin, Food Pairing, Live Music APPLEWOOD WINERY

September 29th, 2012 6-10pm - Harvest Moon Pot Luck Fall Gathering BENMARL WINERY

Sept 29 - Pumpkin Chuckin contest 3pm - McMule from 6:30-9:30pm – BBQ PALAIA VINEYARDS

Sept 29 Vera and the Force – Classic Rock WARWICK VALLEY WINERY

September 29 2pm-5pm Live Music Featuring Marc Von Em ROBIBERO VINEYARDS

September 29-30 - Grape Stomping 1-4pm BROTHERHOOD WINERY

September 30 2pm-5pm Live Music Featuring Steve Wells ROBIBERO VINEYARDS

Sept 30 TMU Band - Country /Folk/ Americana/Blues WARWICK VALLEY WINERY

Sept 30 - The E. Mitchell Combo 2:30-5:30pm PALAIA VINEYARDS

Thursday, September 27, 2012

CNBC: NY to Hold Beer, Wine Summit

NY to hold beer, wine 'summit' to boost industries

Published: Thursday, 27 Sep 2012 | 2:14 PM ET
Associated Press
ALBANY, N.Y. - First yogurt, now beer and wine. Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday called for a "summit" to boost the beer and wine industries in New York just months after he began a similar event to try to make the state the nation's largest producer of Greek-style yogurt.
"The yogurt summit worked very, very well," Cuomo said. He said the beer and wine summit in late October will be patterned after it.
The beer and wine effort will involve farmers and manufacturers as well as relevant state regulators. Cuomo said private sessions among participants are expected to yield important discussions and agreements before the public summit.
The wine and beer industry, which includes growers of grapes and hops, has gained more attention from the state in recent months as Cuomo looks to it to help combat a 9 percent unemployment rate.
In June, the Legislature and Cuomo restored a tax break for small but growing craft beer brewers in New York, providing an advantage over competitors from outside the state. The package of laws also allows farmers to sell craft beer at farmers markets.
The craft beer industry in New York has doubled over the last 10 years and employs 3,000 jobs in the highly automated process, according to the industry.
Beginning Monday, the Last Store on Main Street coalition is launching its second "Fall in Love with New York Wines" promotional campaign with private funds to push New York's homegrown wines. The effort includes posters and tastings in liquor stores and often for the first time links wine growers with liquor store operators in joint promotions.
"With all the wine that New Yorkers drink, if the amount of New York wine in that total goes up by just 10 percent, it will be jolt of energy that will create jobs and opportunities all over the state," said Jeff Saunders, head of the Retailers Alliance, an association of major wine stores around the state.
He said new wineries will open and others will grow, along with tourism.
"The governor is delivering in a way that the industry has wanted for a very long time," he said Thursday.
The National Association of American Wineries has put New York at No. 2 in production nationwide among the states, still at a fraction of California's output. In New York, the wine industry employs about 5,000 on a $20 million payroll, although the industry says the wages earned from growing to retail is over $1 billion a year.
Since the "yogurt summit" this summer, the state is moving to reduce some environmental protection regulations in order to help dairy farmers increase their herds to address a shortage of milk for New York yogurt producers.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mangananini Rossa Riserva

Richard and Rachel Magnanini own this small farm winery/restaurant. What isn’t homemade at Magnanini is handmade. In fact, the personal touch is evident at Magnanini in everything from Rachel’s homemade delicacies and Richard’s blends of wines.

From the outset, Galba, Richard's father, who worked in the vineyards when he was a youngster in Italy, has been intent on making the Magnanini Winery a family affair. It has been exactly that since the winery was established in 1983 to the first bottling a year later. In the spring of 1985, the family-style European restaurant was opened.

  Richard is a self-taught winemaker, who’s been working in the 13 acres of grapevines since he was 15 years old. He also helped build the winery and restaurant. The family connection doesn’t end with the father-son partnership. Galba’s brother, Renzo Magnanini, is a renowned European artist who makes his home in the family’s native Bologna, Italy. Renzo also has his work gracing the Magnanini Wine labels.

The property on which the vineyards and winery are located has been in the family since 1953, although it wasn’t until 1970 that Galba and Richard began planting wine grapes. “In 1965, I went to Europe. I was touring Europe and I saw American tourists drinking wines. I came back and decided to plant.” The harvest from the first planting was sold to home winemakers in the area. While the winemakers perfected their wines, Richard continued to do research on viticulture practices and winemaking techniques.

With the adoption of the Farm Winery Act in 1976, the Magnanini’s were encouraged to continue their efforts in the vineyards and eventually bottled 1,000 gallons for commercial sale in July 1984. Production at the winery has reached to 6,000 gallons. Richard and Rachel, with their two sons Robert and David, continue to work to keep the family tradition alive.

Rosso Riserva is a blend of Dechaunac and Chancellor, two French hybrids. The Riserva has been aged in oak, which gives this wine a nice structure. Its red berry and spice aromas match many foods such as grilled vegetables, poultry, and meat. I recently had this at the Hudson Valley Winemaker's BBQ.

Manganini's is a unique experience. You can go and do a tasting before the restaurant opens, but what you really want to do is stay for dinner. This family owned estate vineyard and restaurant has been a Hudson Valley foodie destination for two generations. Valentine's day is sold out. An the Hunter's game dinners are to die for. And while your supping on all manner of Italian delicacies, you wash them all down with a bottle or two of their wines. It's a fun evening.

Wine tasting is from 6:00-7:00 PM on Saturday and from 12:00-1:00 PM on Sunday They are open every weekend, April thru the 2nd weekend of December. They are also open for New Year's Eve and Carneveale, the 1st Saturday in February. Costumes are always welcome!

Adair Vineyards is located in a 200-plus-year-old National Historic dairy barn, set against the Shawangunk Mountains, with a stream running by it. The hayloft tasting room and gift shop, along with the picturesque picnic grounds, garden, and the vineyards from which our wines are crafted, make the wine tasting a must for those looking for an extraordinary experience. They encourage visitors to explore our grounds and to wander through the vineyard.

Mountain White 2011 is an engaging, semi-sweet blend of white hybrid grapes that gives off a gorgeous, floral nose, with plenty of acidity to balance out the slight hint of sweetness. A great, refreshing light, bright wine!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

DAILY FREEMAN: Blast at Tuthilltown Spirits distillery in Gardiner leaves no one hurt

Freeman staff;

GARDINER, N.Y. — An explosion and fire in the production room at Tuthilltown Spirits, where whiskey and other alcoholic beverages are made, damaged the distillery Monday morning, but did not close the business, a family member said.

“We’re OK. No one was in the building when it happened,” said Cathy Erenzo. “Luckily, there wasn’t too much damage.”

She said the explosion occurred at 10 a.m., before most employees arrived for the day. No customers were on the property, she said.

The Ulster County Sheriff’s Office said a preliminary investigation shows no evidence of foul play. Authorities said a tank containing alcohol may have ruptured, causing the alcohol to come in contact with a heat source and igniting a fire.
A lone employee in the business office at the time heard a rumbling from the production room, but left when he saw flames, deputies said.

The fire was was extinguished within 35 minutes, according to a Gardiner Fire Department assistant chief. New Paltz, Shawangunk Valley, Wallkill, Walker Valley, Modena and Clintondale firefighters assisted.

The tasting room, store and business offices at Tuthilltown remain open, Erenzo said.

Tuthilltown Spirits, at 14 Grist Mill Lane, distills vodka and whiskey made from local apples and grains, according to its website. The distillery also produces rum, eau de vie, brandy, absinthe and infusion beverages.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Steven Kolpan Praises Hudson Valley Cider in The Valley Table

In the most recent issue of The Valley Table, famed author and James Beard award winner, Steven Kolpan, praises Hudson Valley ciders. A fantastic article about the establishe and new cideries in the Hudson Valley! Fantastic!


Sept 22 – Jack Higgins 2:00-4:00pm in the tree house. – The Great Lucy Look-alike contest and Grape stomp festival -3:00pm vendors of all kinds, BBQ The band “U-GUYS” 6:30-9:30pm – stomp and contest at 8:00pm PALAIA VINEYARDS

Sept 22 Wig Jam – Classic Rock WARWICK VALLEY WINERY

Sept 22-23 – Grape Stomping 1-4pm BROTHERHOOD WINERY

September 22th & 23th 12-5 PM Artisanal Hudson Valley Cheese & Wine Tasting WHITECLIFF VINEYARD

September 22nd & 23rd 12-7pm Benmarl’s Annual Harvest Grape Stomping Festival BENMARL WINERY

Sept 23 Straight Shot – Rock n Roll WARWICK VALLEY WINERY

September 22 2pm – 5pm Live Music Featuring The Brian Dougherty Band ROBIBERO VINEYYARDS

September 23 2pm-5pm Live Music Featuring Double Play ROBIBERO VINEYARDS

Sept 23 – Kathleen Pemble and the Agreements 2:30-5:30pm PALAIA VINEYARDS

Tuesday, September 18, 2012's Hudson Highlander Cup Cocktail

•2 oz Highland Park 12-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky
•1 tsp Apple butter
•1 oz Fresh lemon juice
•.75 oz Grade A maple syrup
•1 dash Pastis
•Hard cider

Garnish: Apple slice

Read more at:

Glass: Highball


Add all the ingredients except the hard cider to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice. Top with hard cider and garnish with an apple slice.

Monday, September 17, 2012

NYWGF President, Jim Trezise Reports on Hudson Valley

Several years ago, Clinton Vineyards augmented its Seyval-based line of table and sparkling wines with some intense and luscious fruit wines, including Cassis made from black currants. Ben and Phyllis Feder's pioneering vision has now been adopted by several other wineries in the Hudson Valley, making it the largest producer of artisanal Cassis in North America and the Western Hemisphere.

Now there's even a web site ( to let the world know about it. Currants may be red or black, but in either case are winter hardy and disease resistant, which means a reliable crop virtually every year. At this point, Hudson Valley wineries produce about 20,000 bottles per year, with the great majority sold right at the wineries: Adair Vineyards, Brookview Station Winery, Clinton Vineyards, Glorie Farm Winery, Hudson-Chatham Winery, Tousey Winery, Tuthilltown Spirits, and Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery.

Cassis is the key ingredient in famous Kir and Kir Royale cocktails popular in France and many other countries, including the United States. The new web site includes more than 50 Cassis-based cocktails, as well as links to all the producing wineries.

The Hudson Valley has a more diverse portfolio of adult beverages than any other region, including wines, handcrafted spirits and ciders, and now Cassis. America's oldest wine region is now enjoying a renaissance. The region also got some great coverage this week in Serious Drinks as a result of the recent Vineyard Visits we sponsored as part of our New York City promotional program.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Applewood Naked Flock Original and Pumpkin

Jonathan Hull and his wife Michele are introducing a whole new line of hard apple ciders at Applewood Winery. The Naked Flock is introducing people to a true Hudson Valley Hard Cider. "Our Cider is for people who crave unique flavor and are on the hunt for quality." Says Cider maker Jonathan Hull.

Naked Flock Ciders are available in 3 varieties, Original, Draft and Pumpkin. Naked Flock Ciders are made from Fresh Hudson Valley Apples. "With the demand for gluten free diets and local sustainable products Hard Cider has come into it's own." Says the Cider maker. "We don't add water or grape spirits, flavorings or colorants and that's why when you open it and you smell it you get a big Apple nose. It gives it a look and feel that sets it apart from the competition."

The Original Cider is fermented with Champagne yeast and sweetened with a touch of local honey. Draft is a drier style fermented with Belgian Trappist Ale yeast and smoothed over with organic Maple syrup. The Pumpkin is fermented with fresh local Sugar pumpkins.

The Naked Flock Story is an old folk tale from the town of Warwick. There was a Pastor who was great friends with Moby Dick Author Herman Melville. Melville brought the Pastor a gift from a trip to the Orient. Seeds that the Pastor planted in his garden and grew into the most beautiful Poppies that anyone in the town had seen. One day the geese broke into the garden and ate the Poppies, and yes, they were those kind of Poppies. The geese fell into a sleep so deep that they were thought dead and plucked by the pastors children for their feathers. To everyones shock, hours later the geese awoke and staggered around naked.

The Pastors own congregation was horrified by the sight and demanded the geese be slaughtered. But listeneing to the pleas of his children he decided to take a stand and defend the Naked Flock.

The brews were introduced at a big event in New York City last month to rave reviews!! Great stuff from Applewood Winery!

Clinton Vineyards Carries Home Tons of Medals from Hudson Valley Wine Competiotn 2012

Congrats to Phyllis Feder and the folks over at Clinton Vineyards for their eight medals at the Hudson Valley Wine & Spirits Competition 2012 sponsored by the Hudosn Valley Wine & Grapes Growers Assoc.

The romance of wine and the splendor of nature come together in a very special way at Clinton Vineyards regarded as “the jewel of Hudson Valley agriculture.” A portfolio of premium Estate Bottled wines and the intimate beauty of the setting at Clinton Vineyards has attracted the attention of wine lovers, writers and visitors from far and wide.

Established in 1977, proprietor Ben Feder was inspired by the tradition of small European Estates when he focused on cultivating Seyval Blanc and producing white wine, champagnes, made in the classic methode champenoise and late harvest dessert wine on his 15 acre vineyard. In recent years the portfolio has been expanded to include luscious pure fruit dessert wines, made from locally grown fruits, with sexy names like Romance, Embrace and Desire. Our Cassis is the only black currant wine made in the United States to win gold medals and Best of Classis the Los Angeles International Wine Competition.

Clinton Vineyards
Gold - Cassis
Silver - Jubilee
Silver - Romance
Silver - Romance
Bronze - Peach Gala
Bronze - 2010 Seyval
Bronze - Embrace
Bronze - Desire

Again, Congrats!


Sept 15 & 16 – 2012 Capital District Apple & Wine Festival, Altamont Fair Grounds WINE TENT

Sept 15 – Evan Teatum – Playing in the tree house from 2:00-4:00pm. – Nailed Shutt outside 6:30-9:30 BBQ PALAIA VINEYARDS

September 15 Wine, Women & Song 2-5pm A Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Fundraiser Wine & Cheese Party – BROOKVIEW STATION WINERY

September 15 Movie Night Movie and a glass of wine. Wood fired pizza. HUDSON-CHATHAM WINERY

Sept 15 Longchamp & Manzo Duo – Finger Style Guitar/ Rock / Blues /Folk WARWICK VALLEY WINERY

Sept 15-16 – Grape Stomping 1-4pm BROTHERHOOD WINERY

September 16, 11am–5pm 22nd Annual Taste of New Paltz, Ulster County Fairgrounds, New Paltz, NY

Sept 16 Soylent Blue – Classic Rock WARWICK VALLEY WINERY

Friday, September 14, 2012

Chris Matthews Writes About the Best Hudson Valley Wines (Right Now)

Chris and Kathryn Matthews

Best Hudson Valley Wines (Right Now)
Posted on September 25, 2011
By Christopher Matthews

Here at Upstate-Downtown, we’ve been distracted lately by some unruly house guests, namely Irene and Lee. And while we didn’t fare as badly as our neighbors on the west side of the Hudson River, in the Catskills, or to the north, in Vermont, we took a far greater hit than most in New York City, replete with extended power outages, roof leaks, flooded basements, downed trees and general mayhem.

But life goes on, and taking a break from drying out our basement a couple of weeks ago, I once again served as a judge at the Hudson Valley Wine and Spirits Competition (2011), which took place at the 10th Annual Hudson Valley Wine and Food Fest at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck, NY.

There were some surprising results.

Clinton Vineyards "Jubilee" Sparkling (NV)

The biggest eye-opener of the day probably came out of my panel: our sole ”Double Gold” selection (i.e. a unanimous Gold Medal choice by panel members) was Clinton Vineyards’ “Jubilee”, a Champagne-method sparking wine made from 100% Seyval Blanc, which had depth, complexity and a persistent, refreshing mousse. One of only three Double Golds in the entire competition, “Jubilee” would certainly stump some aficionados in a blind tasting of (true) Champagnes and quality sparkling wines. And it took honors not only for Best Sparkling, but also Best Overall Hudson Valley Wine (made with Hudson Valley fruit). It’s a nice homage to the late Ben Feder, Clinton Vineyard’s founder/owner, who championed Seyval Blanc, a hardy French-American hybrid, as an excellent grape for the Hudson Valley’s challenging climate.

Relative newcomer Bashakill Vineyards (Sullivan County) easily took the Best in Show distinction (and Best in Category – Red Wine) with its Double Gold-winning 2010 Black Bear Cabernet Franc. Cabernet Franc generally does well in New York State’s cool-climate wine regions, and I believe it’s the most viable red vinifera variety overall for the Hudson Valley. Bashakill’s 2010 Black Bear shows just how good NY State Cab Franc can be: concentrated, with good structure, soft tannins, deep briary fruit and length, drinking well now, but with potential to improve in the cellar.

For Best White, it came down to two Chardonnays from a strong field. Chardonnay is another stalwart Hudson Valley performer that also showed well the last time the competition was held, in 2009.

The narrowly winning wine was no stranger — Millbrook Vineyards & Winery’s 2009 Proprietor’s Special Reserve Chardonnay. With ripe yellow fruit and nicely integrated oak nuances of spice and vanilla, it’s a stylish, well-made white. A flagship winery for the Hudson Valley, Millbrook also won the 2011 Winery of the Year award, the first time this distinction has been awarded.

The runner-up for Best White, Oak Summit’s 2010 Chardonnay, was a study in contrast: fresh and zippy, with green orchard fruit and no trace of oak. I actually preferred Oak Summit’s version, but both wines deserved their Gold Medals.

Three standouts: Bashakill Cab Franc, Millbrook and Oak Summit Chardonnays

In a twist, a spirits component was added to this year’s competition, reflecting the rise of micro-distillers in the Valley. The winner, a familiar sight in many shops for its small, squat bottle, was the other Double Gold winner in the contest: Tuthilltown Spirits Hudson Baby Bourbon.

Tuthilltown Spirits' Hudson Baby Bourbon

In the 2009 competition, the Pinot Noir category really impressed, but not so much this time around — vintage variation is the coin of the realm in the Hudson Valley. And the red hybrids, like Baco Noir, were also not as strong overall in my view, with a notable exception: Hudson-Chatham’s delicious, medium-bodied and food-friendly Gold medal-winner, the 2008 Chelois.

Despite being the oldest wine region in the country, the Hudson Valley is still trying to find itself as a wine region, given the difficult climate and the small (but increasing) number of wine grape growers in the valley. But the top wines from this competition clearly show that quality wines can be produced in the Valley, and they set a high bar for the local wineries.

This entry was posted in Hudson Valley, Spirits + Cocktails, Wine and tagged Bashakill Vineyards, Clinton Vineyards, Hudson Valley Wine and Food Fest;, Hudson Valley Wine and Spirits Competition 2011, Hudson-Chatham Winery, Millbrook Vineyards and Winery, Tuthilltown Spirits Hudson Baby Bourbon. Bookmark the permalink.

Thursday, September 13, 2012 Recommends Five Hudson Valley Wines

Serious Eats is a very popular and highly ranked and acclaimed food and drinks blog. It's one of the hottest out there. A wonderful notice of recognition for the Hudson Valley.

5 Hudson Valley Wines to Taste This Fall
Sep 13, 2012
Pameladevi Govinda

The Hudson River region of New York produces a number of notable wines made from French hybrids, essentially a cross of Vitis labrusca (the species of grapevine native to North America) grapes and Vitis vinifera (the more familiar European species). The area has a centuries-old custom of growing grapes and making wine—Brotherhood Winery was established in 1839 and is the nation's oldest continuously operating winery—but it's the new wave of winemaking that shows promise. Here are 5 Hudson valley wines to seek out this fall, whether you're up north to view fall foliage or just looking for interesting bottles in local NY stores.

Clinton Vineyards Seyval Naturel NV
On the east side of the Hudson River, Clinton Vineyards has been around since the 1970s and the focus is on one grape only: the singular Seyval Blanc, a French hybrid grape that grows in the cool climate regions of England and North America. High acidity and crisp character lends itself well to the production of sparkling wine, as exhibited in this cheeky, vivacious Champagne-method bubbly, which has a tart lemony taste and waxy finish. It makes a mouth-watering aperitif.

Benmarl Winery Apis 2010 Skin Fermented Chardonnay
Located in Marlboro, on the west side of the Hudson River, this idyllic 37-acre estate grows Lemburger (also known as Blaufränkisch), Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, and Baco Noir (another hybrid grape), as well as hosting a few beehives (Benmarl also produces honey) and roaming sheep that munch on weeds (natural herbicide!). Benmarl recently stopped using insecticides in the hope that beneficial insects will help keep the soils healthy and dynamic. In 2010 they experimented with a long skin contact white wine by keeping Chardonnay grapes on the skins for 4 days during fermentation. The wine went through malolactic fermentation in barrel, spent 14 months in used French oak barrels and was blended with about 25 percent of a barrel-fermented Chardonnay that had no skin contact. We tasted the wine after three weeks of bottling, the result was a deep golden hued wine with perceptible tannic structure and a saline mineral finish.

Tousey Winery 2011 Rebellion Rosé
Further north up the east side of the Hudson, Tousey makes honey and produces wines that have a clear European influence (the winemaker is from England). They make a lovely Riesling, with hints of white flower, lemon peel and chamomile, from one hundred percent Hudson Valley fruit, but it's their Blaufränkisch pink that we particularly enjoyed for its invigorating acidity, hints of menthol and fresh red berries. The grapes spent ten hours fermenting on the skins before pressing. Winemaker and owner Ben Peacock tells us that Blaufränkisch does particularly well in NY due to its affinity to cool climate regions.

Millbrook New York State Chardonnay 2011
It's not unusual for the region to vinify grapes from other winemaking areas of New York State. This bright, clean Chardonnay is made from about one-third fruit from Pellegrini vineyard on Long Island, one-third from Hazlitt Vineyard in the Finger Lakes, and one-third from estate-grown fruit at Millbrook, on the east side of the river. According to the winemaker, Long Island fruit provides aromatics, while the Finger Lakes gives flinty flavors, and their own fruit offers more body and texture. Fifty percent of the grapes were barrel fermented, while the rest fermented in stainless steel.

Hudson-Chatham Winery Empire 2009
From a winery that is pretty far north up the Hudson Valley, this is a blend of Merlot from Long Island, Cabernet Franc from the Finger Lakes and Baco from the Hudson Valley. Unfiltered and un-fined, the wines are blended and then aged in three separate lots: French oak, American oak and stainless steel. When the wine is almost two years old, it is blended, bottled and aged for another six months before release. Think of this wine as a Bordeaux-style blend with a little local character.

About the Author: Pameladevi Govinda is a New York-based freelance writer whose contributions have appeared in Imbibe, Vibe, Decanter, Daily Candy, Spain Gourmetour and more. She has also worked and written for some of New York's best wines shops including Astor Wines & Spirits and Chambers Street Wines. She currently writes and sells wine for Thirst Wine Merchants in Brooklyn's Fort Greene area.

Thanks to the The New York Wine & Grape Foundation for the recent tour of the region.

Read more at:

Hudson Valley Announces New Cassis Website

The Hudson Valley wine scene is starting to emerge with several passionate and great stories…none of which is more exciting than the making and selling of quality artisanal cassis and black currant wine.

According to wikipedia, “Crème de cassis is a blood-red, sweet, blackcurrant flavored liqueur, and is an ingredient of kir or a kir royale, both of which are considered an apéritif. The modern version of the drink first appeared in the Burgundy region in 1841, displacing “ratafia de cassis” from prior centuries. It is made from blackcurrants crushed into refined alcohol, with sugar subsequently added. While crème de cassis is a specialty of Burgundy, it is made in other cities of France, as well as in Luxembourg and Quebec.” It is also made in the northeast, especially after the folks at the Cornell Extension, and other agricultural extensions in New England, have extolled the berry’s virtues for many years.

Currants, red and black, are winter hardy, and not susceptible to many of the diseases that plague grapes. A great crop for cold weather regions. So the untapped currant crop was good news for winemakers and consumers. As a result, numerous northeast wineries have a quality currant fruit base to draw from, and thus, more and more wineries are making cassis.

Almost 20,000 bottles of artisanal cassis will be sold in the Hudson Valley this year! The Hudson Valley is the number one producer of artisanal cassis in North America and the Western Hemisphere. All of these are handmade wines, crafted by gifted artisans, and experiencing explosive growth. Word is getting out.

Cassis (or black currant wines and cordials) are traditionally used to make Kir and Kir Royale, one of the most classic cocktails in the world. But cassis is also excellent as an ingredient in many other drinks. It’s also a fabulous dessert wine, that pairs incredibly well with chocolate. And of course, cassis is great to sip on all by itself.

Treat yourself to a Hudson Valley Kir by blending Hudson Valley cassis with some Hudson Valley sparkling wines from Brotherhood, Clinton, Hudson-Chatham, or Whitecliff!

Hudson Valley Cassis producers include:
Adair Vineyards
Brookview Station Winery
Clinton Vineyards
Glorie Farm Winery
Hudson-Chatham Winery
Tousey Winery
Tuthilltown Spirits
Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery

This new website includes profiles and links to all the producers, current articles about Hudson Valley cassis from the press, more than 50 cassis cocktails, as well as all the news going on in the Hudson Valley about cassis, including new products and upcoming events.

Enjoy a glass of Hudson Valley cassis!

Cassis Is Cover Story on New Hudson Valley Wine magazine

In the new issue of Hudson Valley Wine magazine, J. Stephen Casscles writes on cassis. The history of the fruit in the Valley as well as how to make are both covered in the piece.

Remember to check out the Hudson Valley Cassis website:

Read more at Hudson Valley magazine:

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Cabernet Franc Taking Root in the Hudson Valley

The recent Hudson Valley Wines & Spirits Competition 2012 sponsored by the HVWGA and held at Rhinebeck Fairgrounds last week at the Hudson Valley Wine & Food Festival 2012 revealed a growing trend eemerging in the Hudson Valley - Cabernet Franc.

Cabernet Franc is now made by a number of wineries, and many are estate grown. Many fo the Cabernet Francs defintely nod more toward a lighter rtyled French version rather than the heavier California style. They are filled to the briom with bright cherry, good fruit, zippy acidity and well balanced tannins. They're not big and heavy, but are medium-bodied wines that go great with food! They're winning awards and they're getting great reviews. And more and more...they're being grown right here in the Hudson Valley!

Glorie Farm Winery 2010 Cabernet Franc won Best Red Wine, beating out perennial champ Millbrook Cabernet Franc. Both make estate wines. Benmarl's Cabernet Franc also did well.

Other wineries who make Cabernet Francs include:
Brimstone Hill
Clearview Vineyards
Hudson-Chaham Winery
Robibero Cabernet Franc
Stoutridge Cabernet Franc
Tousey Winery
Whitecliff Vineyards

Try a Hudson Valley Cabernet Franc!

Brookview Station's Whistle Stop White Just Keeps Chugging Along

Brookview Station first burst ipon the seen just a few years back with a big wine at the Hudson Valley Wine Competiotn with it's Gold Medal winner, Whistle Stop White. It's gone on to bring home one medal after another ever since.

Then, just this past weekend, the wine won another gold medal at the Hudson Valley Wine & Spirits Competition 2012 sponsored by the HVWGA.

This is a semi-sweet apple wine with lots of great fruit and zippy acidity.

"Many people scoff at the category without even exploring the wines within it, but I'm enthusiastic to try and learn about anything, including fruit wines in the Hudson Valley -- and there are a lot being made there," wrote Lenn Thompson, Editor-in-Chief of the New York Cork Report. "And you know what, I think this Brookview Station Winery Whistle Stop White ($13) has its place, even if it's not something I'd want to drink every day.The nose is simple, showing fresh-cut apple and something lightly floral. It brings more of the same to a medium-bodied palate that shows a bit of sugary sweetness at first, but finished almost dry, with a little rustic apple skin bitterness that actually worked quite well."

Try this great fruit wine from the Hudson Valley!

Congrats to owners Sue and Ed, and to Karen as well!

Quotes taken from the review:

Cereghino-Smith Little House White

Cereghino-Smith is one of the most unique wineries in the Hudson Valley. They make superb wines, and they do it with a left-coast vibe, mixing west coast and east coast fruit. I love the sense of independence there.

I have long been a fan of their Little House red, a blend 58% Petite Sirah from the West (Lodi, California) and 40% Cabernet Franc from the East (Finger Lakes) with 2% Petite Verdot create a big yet beautifully balanced wine. Aged for 14 months in hybrid American/Canadian Oak barrels. So when I saw their table at the recent Hudson Valley Wine & Food Festival 2012, I was shocked to see Little House White!

Little House White is 84% Sauvignon Blanc and 16% Viognier. More opulent then the typical Sauvignon Blanc with notes of white pepper. Crisp, clean, and with a wonderful refreshing feel. Fantastic!

Congrats Paula and Fred!

Monday, September 10, 2012

2012 Hudson Valley Wine & Spirits Competition Results

The HVWGA held the annual Hudson Valley Wine Competition 2012 at the Hudson Valley WIne & Food Festival at the Rhinebeck Fairgrounds just this last Saturday. Wines from up and down the valley were entered.

Winery of the Year
Millbrook Vineyards & Winery

Best in Show
Millbrook Vineyards & Winery 2010 Proprietor's Special Reserve Chardonnay

Best Overall Hudson Valley Wine (made with Hudson ValleyFruit)
Millbrook Vineyards & Winery 2010Proprietor's Special Reserve Chardonnay

Best Sparkling
Clinton Vineyards Jubilee

Best in Category - White Wine
Millbrook Vineyards & Winery - 2009 Proprietor's Special Reserve Chardonnay

Best in Category - Red Wine (Tie)
Whitecliff Vineyard & Winery 2010 Petit Verdot
Glorie Farm Winery 2010 Cabernet Franc

Best Spirit
Tuthilltown Spirits Hudson Four Grain Bourbon

Best Red Hybrid Hudson-Chatham 2010 Chelois
Best White Hybrid 2011 Robibero 87 North
Best Rose -Tousey Winery 2011 Rebellion Rosé
Best Fruit Wine Brookview Station Winery -Whistle Stop White
Best Dessert Wine Clinton Vineyards Cassis

Medals by Winery

Bashakill Vineyards
Silver - 2011 White TailBronze - 2011 Wood Duck
Bronze - 2011 Dragon FlyBronze - 2010 Estate Bald Eagle

Benmarl Winery
Silver - 2011 Rosé
Silver - 2010 Slate Hill White
Silver - 2010 NY Cabernet Franc
Bronze -2010 Estate Cabernet Franc
Bronze - 2010 Proprietors Reserve
Bronze - 2011 Seyval Blanc

Brimstone Hill Vineyard
Silver - 2010 Chardonnay
Bronze - 2008 Foch
Bronze - 2011 Cayuga White

Brookview Station Winery
Silver - Whistle Stop White
Silver - The Conductor's Cassis
Bronze - 2011 Sunset Charlie
Bronze - PomonaClearview Vineyard
Bronze - 2011 - Estate Divinity NY 81
Silver - 2010 Estate Cabernet Franc

Clinton Vineyards
Gold - Cassis
Silver - Jubilee
Silver - Romance
Silver - Romance
Bronze - Peach Gala
Bronze - 2010 Seyval
Bronze - Embrace
Bronze - Desire

Glorie Farm Winery
Gold - 2010 Cabernet Franc
Silver - 2010 Black Currant
Bronze - 2010 Synergy

Hudson-Chatham Winery
Gold - 2008 Chelois
Silver - Merlot
Silver - 2010 Hudson River Valley Red
Bronze 2010 Old Vines Baco Noir
Bronze - 2010 Baco Noir Reserve
Bronze - Paperbirch Bannerman's Castle Amber Cream

Millbrook Vineyards & Winery
Double Gold - 2010 Proprietor's Special Reserve Chardonnay
Gold - 2011 Tocai Friuiano
Silver - 2010 Proprietor's Special Reserve Cabernet Franc
Bronze - 2010 Pinot Noir Block 5 East

Oak Summit Vineyard
Silver - 2011 Chardonnay

Robibero Winery
Double Gold - 2011 87 North
Silver - 2011 Merlot
Bronze - 2011 Artic Riesling

Tousey Winery
Silver - 2010 Queen of Clermont
Silver - 2011 Rebellion Rosé

Tuthilltown Spirits
Gold - Hudson Baby Bourbon
Gold - Hudson Single Malt Bourbon
Gold - Hudson Four Grain Bourbon
Silver - Hudson NY Corn Whiskey
Silver - Hudson Manhattan Rye Whiskey

Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery
Gold - American Fruits Black Currant Cordial
Bronze - Warwick Rustic American Gin

Whitecliff Vineyard & Winery
Gold - 2010 Petit Verdot
Silver - Brandy
Bronze - 2011 Reserve Chardonnay
Bronze - Rosé

Special thanks to Debbie Gioquindo who organized the event on behalf of the HVWGA. An excellent panel of judges, and a well run event.

Read more at:

Warwick Valley Black Dirt Bourbon

As you know, I am a long time fan of Warwick Valley's pproducts. The quality is high and the imagination to keep pushing the brand is there.. Jason Grizzanti an Jeremy Kidde are a pwerhouse, in the Hudson Valley, or anywhere else in NY state or the east coast for that matter. It's proved to be a solid duo who has delivered at every next step they've taken. Their success is a success for the Valley too!

Their newest brainchild is Black Dirt Bourbon. They released it with a party at the winery on September 7, 2012. It's 70% corn and 30% roaasted barley, and it's smells amazing! Lot's of cereal, sweetness on the nose, but the bourbon delivers on taste!

I had a tug at the Hudson Valley Wine & Food Festival 2012! Fantastic! What an incredible elixir! Awesome!

Great job, guys!

New Issue of Hudson Valley Wine Magazine is out now!

The Fall/Winter 2012 issue of HUDSON VALLEY WINE magazine debuted at the Hudson Valley Wine & Food Festival over the weekend.

It's their fattest issue yet! And it's filled with great articles like a new one on Cassis by Steve Casscles, Wendy Cripell, and Debbie Gioquindo, and many more!

Get one at your participating winery or food shop asap!

Friday, September 07, 2012

Glorie Gets New Tastingroom, New Logo, New Wines

Expansion continues to be the theme of the Hudson Valley. In the last 36 months numerous wineries in the valley have expanded their facilities, whether in their tastingrooms or in their production areas, to handle increasing demand. The recent additions at Glorie Farm Winery shows that the trend is not losing momentum!

In a recent visit, Doug and MaryEllen Glorie showed me their new tasting room area under construction. While the finishing touches aren't quite where they want them, the room is ready, when necessary, to handle the overflow crowd when the need arises. A large and long temporary bar has been put in place, and the new room is larger than the original tastingroom. With lots of windows to look out their spectacular view as you sample the farm's wines in a lovely way to spend an afternoon.

But that isn't all! Doug and MaryEllen unvieled their new logo. It's already on their glasses and emblazoned on t-shirts, etc. It's everywhere...and it's great! This new logo will be on all their premium estate wines, signaling that you are drinking their very best wines.

It occurs to me now that I have a lot of pictures of Doug, who is not the prettier of this dynamic duo, but I didn't have any of MaryEllen from this trip. We'll have to fix that next time!

Now of course, while I was there, I had to taste something! So there is was.....Synergy with the new logo blaring on the label. Synergy is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. While their new winemaker Kristop Brown didn't make the individual wines, he was there to put the final product together. And the impact is instant.

The new Synergy 2010 is fantastic, and easily becomes the shining new star of the Glorie line! An extremely sophisticated wine, with notes of dark cherry, dark raspberry, a hint of leather and mocha and a wisp of vanilla. A wonderful wine!

Another great step forward for the Hudson Valley!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012


The Hudson Valley Wine Country is announcing the largest and most ambitious program of events ever in the history of the Hudson Valley wine region. Starting this weekend, on September 8, 2012 with the Hudson Valley Wine & Food Festival and the HVWGA Wine Competition all the way through to November 18, 2012, concluding with the Capital Region Harvest Festival in Albany, Hudson Valley vintners have scheduled more than 60 events throughout the valley for folks to enjoy.

The Hudson Valley has seen explosive growth in its wine industry in the last few years,, with wineries expanding, and new ones opening, and has also seen a renewed interest in the oldest wine region in the US.

With wineries recieving recent reviews in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast,, Hudson Valley Magazine, The Valley Table, and the Edible magazines, Hudson Valley wines reputation are at an all time high...and only going upward.

Thousands and thousands of people will rive through the Hudson Valley countryside this fall, looking at the leaves, stopping at farms for apples and pumkins. It's a great time to seak out one of more than 40 wineries in the Hudson Valley and try the fantastic wines that are being made here.

For more information about the wineries and events, details, and sponsors go to:

And have a great time!

Monday, September 03, 2012

Chatham Brewing and Crossroads Brewing Featured in Berkshire Homestyle

In this month's issue (September 2012) of Berkshire Homestyle Ned Depew features Chatham Brewing and Crossroads Brewing in a large piece entitled "Beer - It's Not Just For Breakfast Anymore."

Great article for both breweries. Fantastic.

To read more, go to: