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.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

New Home, New Bottles, New Brews For Chatham Brewing

Chatham Brewing has moved! And that's not all that's new that's going on for Chatham Brewing! They've moved, they've got new bottles, and they have new brews! Hey, that's co-owner Tom by the new sign in Chatham!

Firstly, they are still in Chatham of course. They are now in the building across from the world famous Crandell movie theater, home of the Chatham Film Fest!

Ans they have their Matthew Vassar Brewer's Cup banner hanging proudly for their 2012 win!

They are also making jellies from their brews. They are fantastic!

And more importantly they are making new , more sophisticated brews, and selling them in bottles! The Bourbon Barrel Brown is Brown Ale aged in Bourbon barrels. Lot's of complexity and!

My personal absolute favorite was the 8 Barrel Reserve. This is a stout aged in Bourbon barrels. This is a reserve of only eight barrels. Fantastic! Big with lots of dark malt flavor and that classic bourbon nose!!!

For those who prefer a more classic trapist stile ale, there's the new Tripel Belgian Style Ale. This has all the yeasty goodness you're looking for!!! Wonderful!

This winter, Chatham Brewing is running a farmer's market. Here's Chatham Brewing partner Jake selling Old Chatham Cheese.

Brewmaster Matt manning the tasting station!

It wasa great visit, and the beers are better than ever...along with someof your old favorites like Blonde and Scotch Ale! Great new stuff going on at Catham Brewing!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Poughkeepsie Journal Raves About Hudson Valley Wine

Green Gourmet: Discover locally made wines
Poughkeepsie Journal
1:44 PM, Nov 10, 2012   |  Written by Judy Eisele

The Hudson Valley is home to many wineries. It's a great time of year to get out and enjoy what local wineries have to offer and stock up for holiday meals. / Living & Being file

Many people aren’t aware that the Hudson Valley has more than 20 local wineries, many of them family-run, that produce everything from sparkling wines to dessert wines and liqueurs.

It’s a beautiful time of year to enjoy a leisurely drive to local wineries.

The holidays are right around the corner, so why not support the local wineries and pick up some extra bottles for friends and family members. Who doesn’t enjoy a nice bottle of wine with dinner?

Here are some local wineries:

• The Brotherhood Winery ( in Washingtonville is America’s oldest winery. Jean Jacques began planting grapes on the land in the early 1800s. It was originally named Jacques Brothers Winery and renamed Brotherhood in 1885.

• Palaia Vineyards & Winery in Highland Mills ( is family owned and operated and has live music every weekend.

• Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery ( in Warwick also offers brandies, liqueurs and hard cider.

• Applewood Winery (, also in Warwick and also known for its hard cider.

• The Millbrook Vineyard & Winery ( in Millbrook was established in 1984.

• Oak Summit Vineyard ( in Millbrook only produces pinot noir.

• Robibero Winery ( in New Paltz is one of the newest wineries in the Hudson Valley, established in 2010.

• Clinton Vineyards ( in Clinton was established in 1977.

These are only a few of the many wineries in the Hudson Valley. Many of these wines are served in local restaurants, so consider checking them out.

Read the whole thing at:

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Dutch's Spirits is one of the Hudson Valley's Hottest New Stories

When I arrived on my first visit to Hillrock Estate Distillery in Ancram, NY, I found two people in deep conversation at the table – Jeff Baker, the owners of Hillrock, whom I expected to see, and Ariel Schlein, co-founder and President of Dutch’s Spirits, who I did not expect to see, but was a pleasant surprise. Areil was there to tour the new distillery just as I was. But it was a great introduction to Dutch’s Spirits, one of the other new distillery happening in the Hudson Valley!
Since the death of mobster Dutch Schultz in 1935, rumors have proliferated about the whereabouts of his buried treasure up near the craggy ranges of the Catskill Mountains – one of his favorite getaways.
For those uninitiated with Schultz, Dutch Schultz (born Arthur Flegenheimer; August 6, 1901 – October 24, 1935) was a New York City-area German-Jewish American mobster of the 1920s and 1930s who made his fortune in organized crime-related activities such as bootlegging alcohol and the numbers racket. Weakened by two tax evasion trials led by prosecutor Thomas Dewey, Schultz's rackets were threatened by fellow mobster Lucky Luciano. In an effort to avert his conviction, Schultz asked the Commission for permission to kill Dewey, which they declined. After Schultz disobeyed the Commission and attempted to carry out the hit, they ordered his assassination in 1935. You might have seen a movie about him entitled Billy Bathgate.
But there’s more to the story than just naming the distillery after a famous mobster. There’s a more interesting tie-in. In 2010, a different kind of fortune was unearthed in the town of Pine Plains, New York. Unlike the many other searches made over the previous decades, here lay a find discovered almost eighty years earlier. Less than a mile from the town center stood a 400 acre swath of land known as Harvest Homestead Farm, owned and operated by the Adams family for generations. It was in the heart of this land, beneath a nondescript bunkhouse atop a hill, that the treasure was buried. It wasn’t the legendary suitcase of gold or cash. It wasn’t a trove of jewels or stacks of bonds.  It was a find much more rare and valuable to its beholders. Discovered on this farm were the foundations of a sprawling complex – a clandestine distillery, the likes of which had never been seen before.

Financed by Schultz and built by rotating teams of local workers during the last gasps of Prohibition in the spring of 1932, this massive underground distilling operation produced thousands of gallons of moonshine against the idyllic backdrop of rural Pine Plains. Here, a sprawling network of interconnected tunnels, bunkers and false chimneys ensured, for short while at least, that detection by the authorities was avoided. The “hooch” was produced in an elaborate distillery cleverly secluded in an old cow barn, and constructed of steel reinforced concrete, valves, and pipes scattered throughout the property. Spring houses supplied water from underground aquifers, and a swimming pool served as a cooling reservoir. Tunnels spread throughout the farm, serving as secret passageways between the structures for its workers and as a means of speedy exit in case of trouble. An open secret to his own family, co-founder Alex Adams’s grandfather, Charles, worked the farm at the time as a young “potato harvester.”
Despite their best efforts, the production of moonshine in a sleepy country town did not escape detection. After numerous previous failed attempts, just after dusk on Monday, October 17, 1932, Federal agents raided the site. Among the items found were two 2,000 gallon stills in operation, two high pressure boilers, over 15,000 gallons of mash, 10,000 pounds of sugar, two Ford trucks, one Reo truck, and a Lincoln sedan. Two workers were arrested, and two days later, twelve federal agents returned to destroy all of the equipment seized.
Over the next 78 years, the farm would undergo many changes. Its owner, Patrick Ryan, was a retired New York City policeman, which may have played a part in his avoidance of prison for harboring the distillery. After the raid, he quietly reverted the property back to its turkey farm origins. In 1969, the house fell to Janet and Charles Adams, the same “potato harvester” who had worked at the distillery over thirty years earlier. For forty more years, the Adams family kept watch over the farm and its buried secrets. Then, in the Spring of 2008, Charles’s grandson Alex Adams and close friend Ariel Schlein learned of the passage of the New York farm distillers’ law. They decided it was time to write another chapter in Dutch’s history.

In July 2011, after an extensive archaeological survey and review, the site was added to the New York State Archaeological Inventory as a “Bootleg Era Bunker Complex”, while the New York State Historic Preservation Office deemed it eligible for inclusion in the State and National Register of Historic places. Now, almost eighty years later, Dutch’s Spirits is building a new distillery in the footprint of the original bunkhouse site – the foundations of which are still being unearthed.
The spirits were originally distilled and blended at another distillery while the new works are being secured and erected at Shultz’s old “digs.” The new facility will be opened to viewing in the spring, and then hopefully by fall, they will be fully operational…and more importantly, visit-able.
The current aim of Dutch’s Spirits? To become a self-sustaining farm operation and agritourism destination specializing in artisanal hand-made spirits. Our first products, produced locally in New York State, include Dutch’s Spirits Sugar Wash Moonshine, Dutch’s Spirits Peach Brandy, and Dutch‘s Colonial Cocktail Bitters. They welcome you to join them on their journey as they rebuild this historic site.
Ariel Schlein (Founding Partner & President) is spearheading the vision behind Dutch’s Spirits. An avid triathlete, Ariel has spent years swimming, cycling, and running the Hudson Valley, spawning a well-worn love affair with the land. Owing to his friendship with Alex Adams, his passion for the region and its history blossomed through the discovery of the treasure that lay beneath Harvest Homestead Farm. His free time is spent furrowing through old newspapers, maps, and photo libraries, cornering archeologists, or exploring Dutchess County’s burgeoning food, wine and spirits landscape.
Alex Adams (Founding Partner) was born and raised in Poughkeepsie, New York, a short drive from Pine Plains where his family farm – Harvest Homestead Farm – has lain for eighty years. His father, a prominent local land use attorney, was raised near the farm alongside four siblings, two of whom currently call the town home. Alex’s grandfather worked the land as a young “potato harvester” when the original distillery was in production.
 Ethan R. Kelley (Sales & Marketing) has 18 years of full time experience behind the bar – from nightclubs and pubs to high-end lounges and cocktail havens. Most recently, he was the Beverage Director for Brandy Library in TriBeCa, Manhattan – one of the most revered spirits collections in the world. A well-respected teacher on the subject of spirits, Ethan has developed spirits lists for notable bars and restaurants across the country, and instructed members of the industry from bartenders, marketing professionals, and sales forces.
The two products I tried were Sugar Wash Moonshine and Peach Brandy.
Dutch’s Spirits Sugar Wash Moonshine is a nod to that bottled lightning made in Dutch’s cavernous distillery, its stills burning beneath the fields of Harvest Homestead Farm in Hudson Valley, New York. This handcrafted, 100% Cane Neutral Spirit was produced in small batches from pure Demerara sugar using artisan copper pot stills. This is a light, clean very smooth spirit. In the glass bears aromas of cotton candy, molassas, and other spices. Nice notes of butterscotch and vanilla and a hint of maple syrup. There is nothing sweet about this incredibly drinkable white whiskey. It goes down very easy!  40% ABV
Dutch’s Spirits Peach Brandy is an ode to the old Dutch settlers. Peach brandy was originally a farmhouse product made with surplus fruit, peach brandy was one of the most popular spirits in America throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. Dutch’s Spirits Peach Brandy is handcrafted in the same traditional 19th century style. Each bottle of this limited batch is hand labeled and numbered. Distilled in artisanal copper pots and aged in a combination of toasted and charred oak barrels, the brandy gives off the immediate smell of peach cobble, with the fruit and the bread coming through, but other aromas also evolves, such as vanilla, tropical fruits, and maybe a hint of gingerbread. Brown sugar and spice also come through on the palate, but for as much as the nose smells deceivingly sweet, the brandy is as dry as a bone, with lots of spice on the finish. For all the packaging and descriptions, this is a dry brandy of very good quality! Also, begging to be made into cocktails!!!! 40% ABV
They also make a bitters I didn't get to experience. Very exciting though. It's distributed by a nmber of organizations, especially into the very exciting Manhattan and Brooklyn bar scenes.

 Schultz's Spirits has plans for a number of other fun and exciting products. Another very cool addition to the very, very hot and happening scene going on in the Hudson Valley, where wine, beers, ciders, and spirits are making a huge impact, and makign the region one of the hottest on the east coast!


A Visit to Hillrock Estate Distillery

Yesterday, I had the extreme pleasure of visiting Jeff Blake, owner, and Tim Wlley, Head of Operations, at Hillrock Estate Distillery in Ancram, NY. This is a magnificent jewel box of a distillery. According to Jeff, this is the only field to glass, comepletely verticle operation in North America. That's right, Hillrock grows it's own barley, wheat, and rye and makes distillates from their own farm grown cereals!
Everything about this complex is extremely well executed. For those who have traveled a bit on the east coast, Hillrock is very close to Boxwood (VA) in terms of sheer beauty and sophistication. Incredible!

This is a picture of the malting house, where the grains are soaked, and then germinated and and then smoked (when they smoke grains) and kiln dried.  This building is also use for storing whiskey in small casks.

The bar is an extremely old bar from an old restaurant in the northern part of back road Dutchess County. Almost 100 years old.

This si a small, 10-gallon solera. This series of casks is filled, drained, and refilled several times of year. All Hillrock products go through an initial small wood aging before being blended into large quantities.

The room with the copper is fantastic, and is showcased just off the bar, through a set of French doors.

This is another of the soleras, based in the malting house.

This is grain germinating on the malt house foloor. The grain is soaked in warm water, and then spread across the floor, as if in a zen garen. The grain must be raked every 8 hours, for three days. Warm begins to build as energy is expended by the seeds, as they germinated, sending out little tendrils.

This is a sample of the grain picked up from the floor. You can see the tendrils starting to protrude from the husks. The room smells like oatmeal or bread.
This is a resevoir off the still where the distillate, after running through a condenser, bubbles up before flowing to a large tank. The distillate is clear, and the liquid is now cooled.

Owner, Jeff Baker

Tim Welly, head of operations, and all around good guy. He is pasionate about his job. 

Hillrock Estate has out their Solaera Aged Bourbon right now, but will come out with a small selection of small-batch items over the next year. The quality is exceedingly great. We tried some samples not only of the Solera Bourbon, but of several of the newer products in production. Fantastic!
Hillrock firmly confirms that the Hudson Valley is one of the new, and up-and-coming  distilling regions in the US. And helps to anchor the wine, beers, ciders, and spirits industry that has absolutely exploded in the Hudson Valley!

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Wine Enthusiast Raves About Hillrock Estate Distillery

The newest issue of Wine Enthusiast has a wonderful review of Hillrock Estate Distillery in Ancram, NY. Another sign Hudson Valley distilling is coming on strong.

Edible Hudson Valley Features Tuthilltown Spirits

In the Winter 2012/2013 issue of Edible Hudson Valley Peter Barrett wrote a fantastic feature on Joel Elder and Tuthilltown Spirits. According to Barrett, "There has never been a better time to explore and enjoy spirits, and we're blessed with some serious talentin the Hudson Valley region."
Great piece!
Congrats to Peter, Eric, Nancy and Ray at Edible Hudson Valley!
And congrats to Joel and Ralph at Tuthilltown Spirits!

Edible Hudson Valley Highlights Catskill Distilling Company

The folks at Edible Hudson Valley did a sort of small version of a distilling issue when they highlighted Catskill Distillery and Tuthilltown Distilling in the same issue!
The piece below is from the new Winter 2012/2013 issue. Laura Silverman wrote the article entitled "High Spirits in the Catskills"
Nice to see this kind of coverage of Farm Beverages in the Hudson Valley!!
Congrats Laura, Eric, Nancy and Ray!
And congrats to the fine folks at Catskill Distilling Company