Hudson River Valley Wineries

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

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

Friday, March 29, 2013

Edible Brooklyn Raves About Bad Seed Cider in Highland, NY

The Edible Blog
Bad Seed Cider

December 11, 2012 | By The Editors | Photographs by Patrick Kolts

These days, some of Brooklyn’s Greenmarkets are buzzing in more ways than one. They’ve got a new—and very popular—table, heavy with brown bottles labeled “Bad Seed Cider.” Read the story for more on how Wilklow Orchards, based in Highland, New York, turned small and dinged up apples into the latest small-batch obsession.

Metroland Raves About Albany Distilling Company

In the March 28, 2013 issue of Mertoland (Albany) the capital region's alternative newsweekly, Erin Philaja profiles Matthew Jager and John Curtin and their business Albany Distilling Company. Great article. Great products!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Albany Times-Union Highlights Hard Cider and Brookview Station Winery

Sue Goold Miller of Goold Orchard shows the hard cider making process on Wednesday March 13, 2013 in Castleton-on-Hudson, N.Y. (Michael P. Farrell/Times Union)

Tapping into hard cider market
Schumer pushes legislation to expand opportunities for New York apple growers
By Kristen V. Brown
Published 8:41 pm, Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Albany Times-Union

ALBANY — U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer announced legislation on Wednesday aimed at positioning New York to capture a bigger pour of the hard cider market, by many accounts the fastest growing sector of the alcoholic beverage industry.

Schumer's plan, the CIDER Act, seeks to modify the definition of what, exactly, qualifies as a hard cider, a move that would decrease taxes on the product and, Schumer said, boost business for New York state apple growers and cider producers.

"Apples that might otherwise be sold at a loss are ripe for the cider press," said Schumer. "It seems like a no-brainer. You'd expect New York to already be at the core of cider production."

New York state is the second largest apple producer in the nation, but boasts just over 20 hard apple cider producers. Meanwhile, sales of domestically produced hard cider tripled between 2007 and 2012.
Current federal regulations provide some discouragement to would-be hard cider makers. Under current federal law, hard cider is taxed at 23 cents per gallon, but if its alcohol content exceeds 7 percent the tax jumps to $1.07 per gallon, the same rate as wine. And ciders with carbon dioxide levels exceeding 39 percent are taxed at $3.30 per gallon, the same rate as champagne.

Schumer's proposal would expand the Internal Revenue Code's definition of hard apple cider to include those with alcohol content up to 8.5 percent, while removing carbonation limits, and tax them at the lower 23 cents per gallon rate. It would also maintain the discounted 17 cents per gallon rate for the smallest producers.

Such changes had long been called for by cider producers across the state and national organizations like the National Board of Cider Makers.

Goold Orchards in Castleton first started making hard cider this past fall, citing the growing demand from customers as well as the revenue-adding potential of the product. Last year, when 98 percent of the orchard's apple crop failed, it was the orchard's non-alcoholic cider and apple wine — made with apples bought elsewhere — that kept the farm afloat.

With a faster fermentation process than apple wine and higher price tag than non-alcoholic cider, the orchard anticipates that hard cider could be a real boon for business. Hard cider also gives orchards a use for apples not quite pretty enough to sell in markets.

Schumer's proposed changes, said owner Sue Goold Miller, makes hard apple cider production "even more attractive."

Steve Ammerman, spokesman for the New York Farm Bureau, said the proposed plan would give New York apple growers more opportunity to diversify and take advantage of an under-exploited market for hard cider in the state.

"We're seeing a larger consumer interest in hard ciders, and with the number of fruit farmers in New York state we're fertile ground for this business to take hold," he said.

The number of hard cider producers in the state has already increased in recent years as the interest in hard cider has expanded. In 2011, the state held its first annual "Cider Week," heralding the craft "cider comeback."

"I think we've just started to touch the tip of the iceberg," said Goold Miller of the cider boom. "There's a huge market demand. There's going to be a huge push." • 518-454-5035 • @kristenvbrown

Read more:

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Pretty In Pink - Visit Vortex Hudson Valley Highlights the Pink Wines of the Valley for Summer

Pink is the hot wine! Visit Vortex Hudson Valley is highlighting in their Spring 2013 issue the blushes and the rose's of the Hudson Valley! Congrats to all the wineries mentioned!

Read the article online at:

Monday, March 25, 2013

David Wondrich Raves in Esquire magazine About Hillrock Estate

Hillrock Estate continues to garner great press! Here wpirits expert extraordinaire Dave Wondrich highlights Hillrock Estate Solera Aged Bourbon Whiskey in the April 2013 issue of ESQUIRE. Fantastic write up!

Congrats to the team at Hillrock!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Hudson Valley magazine Highlights Three Local Wines!

The newest issue of Hudson Valley magazine featured three local wines! Cereghino-Smith, Millbrook, and Tousey wineries all had wines highlighted in the current issue! Congrats to all of them!

Albany Distilling - Great New Rum and a Great Bourbon!

Distilleries in the Hudson Valley are popping up like mushrooms. Wow! Here’s one of the newer ones I am just getting to….Albany Distilling. They are a great outfit!
Now, I am a massive William Kennedy fan, and any business that names something after Ironweed has to have some real cajones as far as I am concerned. Kennedy's novels came out while I was in college and they are still among my favorites, and brought to live a town and an era long gone, and indelible.  So, I thought to myself this better be good.

The Albany Distilling Company is a modest operation, producing craft spirits one small batch at a time. It is located in downtown Albany, not far from the site of the city's original 18th century distillery. Owners John Curtin and Matthew Jager are proud to be a part of New York State's rich heritage of spirit production. They are located right next to the Pump Station in downtown Albany.

They have several products…but I’m only going to write about two of them today.
Recently they released Quackenbush Still House Rum. Albany has a long history of rum production which dates back to the 18th century, when the Quackenbush Still House produced rum for both local residents and wayfaring soldiers. Back then, Caribbean molasses were mixed with water from the Hudson River and allowed to ferment with wild yeasts in huge, open wooden vats (the remains of which can still be seen at the New York State Museum) before being distilled and bottled. Albany Distilling’d Original Albany rum follows this tradition, with a recipe from that era and molasses from the Caribbean - but with an updated production line (and different water).

They plan on other small-batch rums that will be similar in nature to this one, with different stylings. Something to look forward to.


Another one I like from Albany Distilling is Ironweed Whiskey. Nearly a century after Prohibition ended Albany's rich tradition of distilling spirits, Ironweed whiskey captures the both the essence of a bygone era and the spirit of modern innovation. Made exclusively from whole grain, water, and yeast, Ironweed acquires its rich color and much of its distinctive flavor from time spent aging in oak. It is produced in small batches using New York State grain, and great care is taken on every step along the way; it is truly a craft spirit, from mill to bottle.

Albany Distilling is making some killer stuff. Legs Diamond and the whole cast of characters may now stand down. Now, I think I'll pour myself a glass of Ironweed, and read some William Kennedy.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Hudson-Chatham Winery Releases 2011 Chelois

Hudson-Chatham Winery Launches
2011 Chelois
Casscles Vineyard

Hudson-Chatham invites you to celebrate the release of this very special wine with us on Saturday, March 23. They opened a bottle a week ago for themselves and were very happy. At a tasting of NY wines in New York City this past week, it received rave reviews. Helping them celebrate will be Lisa from Block Factory Tamales in Germantown. Her fresh tamales made with local ingredients are amazing, and will pair perfectly with the Chelois.

They look forward to seeing you at the winery, 12 to 5 pm.

Calling All Bordeaux-Styled Wines in the Valley - Come to Me!

Recently, on my East Coast Wineries blog, I wrote a piece entitled DOES THE FUTURE OF EAST 
COAST WINE LIE IN BORDEAUX?  In it I wrote that Americans had become obsessed with varietals. Originally, the US wine industry used the varietal idea to differentiate itself from Francs and Italy, and it worked. But in the east, the best course of action and the best results I’ve experienced have been blends for the most part.
Here’s a sample:

But in the east, this practice, especially with red wines of exceptional quality, is difficult. Because of varying weather, cold winters, shortened seasons, etc. these cool climate growing regions, especially New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, all of which make gorgeous wines, find their wines vary accordingly. In California for the last 10 years the concept of vintage has become obsolete. However, France and Italy still have the same issues as the east. The weather is too variable for them not to find some importance in the vintage.

With the rise in popularity of cool climate wines, and the increasing reputation of wines from New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, how do we ensure fine quality reds on an every year basis? …. The great reds of Europe tend not to be single varietals, but blends. What that blend mix should be I will not get into here (that’s a whole other article), just to say that red blends seems to me the sure fire way to create 90 point plus reds for the east coast. And thus create the final stage of serious red wine to make the east coast a serious and collectable wine producer in the world.

It’s obviously not just blending. It’s taking into account a blending of not just wines, but of techniques, massaging the various wines in American, Pennsylvanian, Hungarian, and French oak. We need to consier aging like the Spanish do for a minimum of one year, or two years, or three. The idea is to help raise the bar to guarantee better quality. I don’t think it needs to be standardized, but I think it needs to become standard practice.

As recently as last year, I heard winemakers from several east coast states complaining about the consistency of their own red varietals, as if blends were not as serious a sign of success and succeeding singularly with Cab Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot etc.

And this is why I think the future of east coast wine lies in Bordeaux. For these wines to be as heartily desired as their European counterparts, the east coast needs to “creatively adapt” some of the best practices of Europe to ensure a whole generation of superb red wines.

The great houses of Bordeaux blended their wines because like those winemakers here on the east, the quality of their varietals was not consistent. The idea was to blend Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot, and Malbec and Petite Verdot, and many other grape varieties in different mixtures to fill in where the holes of one varietal aided another. The other practice was to hold back a certain amount of wine each year to blend in with the wine next year, thus establishing a consistent flavor profile from year to year.

These practices hold sway even today. And French wines have never been more popular or collectible. The Top two growths don’t let most wine writers taste their top wines any more. The wine writers, no matter how effusive, cannot help increase the astronomical prices they are already getting, especially through the Hong Kong/Asian markets, where the popularity of wine has skyrocketed with the burgeoning Chinese middle class.

Ripasso is another style which east coast winemakers should employ more often. Pressing new grapes over the desiccated skins of previously crushed grapes, and adding them to the masceratin, helps add favors to your wines, and increases their fullness and roundness.

And we need to embrace the notion of terroir…at least of our own terroir. Dirt and location and sunshine and air drainage all make a place unique.

Truly, some of the best reds of the east already follow this pattern and I strongly urge other winemakers to consider this trend. And I strong recommend to consumers that you try some of these very good blends!

The valley should have a lot more dry red blends. For all the same reasons Virginia, Maryland, and other east coast regions are doing it. To make better quality reds, more consistently, that will compete in the marketplace.

Wonderful Bordeaux styled dry red blends and meritages available in the Hudson Valley currently include:

Benmarl Proprietor’s Reserve
Brimstone Hill Vin Rouge Superior
Hudson-Chatham Empire
Whitecliff Vineyards Sky Island Red

Glorie Farm Winery Synergy

Robibero 87 South


Benmarl Proprietor's Reserve 2010 - Fantastic!

Ok, so I was at the NY Drinks NY event, and Matt Spaccarelli of Benmarl Winery pulls out this black labeled wine, and I was thinking to myself, “What’s that? Something new?”

Indeed it was. It was their 2010 Proprietor’s Reserve! This is a meritage-styled wine from Benmarl winery, the folks who made Baco Noir famous! Man, I had to get me some of that! But it was a crazy show, and I was finding it hard to get over to the table. At the end of the night, Matt approached me with a bottle in hand. He offered me a trade, and I took it like a child takes a cookie off the top of a fresh baked plate of ‘em!

So when I got home last night, Dominique had made terrific Bolognese pasta sauce with peas over angel hair. I was ready. I pulled out a nice Reidel wine glass, popped the cork on this new wine, and settled back.

This 2010 vintage, a medium bodied dry red, is a blend of 82% merlot, 10% petit verdot, 3% malbec and 5% cabernet franc. Stewed dark fruits, dried cherries, and black pepper all come through on the nose as promised. The dark fruits come across the palate as well, with big hits of dark raspberries, dark cherries, dark plum come across with hints of vanilla and spice. Nice tannins provide classic structure. But the deep fruits linger a nice long time.

A great wine! Wonderful. Would love to see more meritages in the valley! This is a great reason why!

Pasta and Sauce - The Great Mac Attack April 20, 2013

The Hudson Berkshire Beverage Trail is be sponsoring the Pasta & Sauced event April 20, 2013. This year's theme is THE GREAT MAC ATTACK! Each participating location will have complimentary pasta along with all the fabulous wines, beers, and spirits that one can enjoy!

Everybody loves Mac and Cheese. ! Sip and Sample your way around the trail Sat April 20th at "The Great Mac Attack" Pasta Passport Day. Tix just $20. .. Don't forget to vote for your fav dish..!

Participating locations include:
Brookview Station Winery
Chatham Brewing
Furnace Brook Winery
Harvest Spirits

Come on down and have a ball!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Pasta Primo Event April 13 & 14th, 2013

Pasta Primo Vino is just around the corner (April 13th & 14th)! Visit 13 wineries, sampling wine & pasta at each. Use our discount code to save 25% (HVWCmarch) when purchasing the tickets.

Most Righteous Bourbon

I separated out the vodka from the bourbon review at Catskill because the two products are so uniquely different, and such absolute worlds apart, I did not think it made sense to do them together. So, if you will, consider this part two or a continuation of the review of Catskill Distilling. They are making absolutely stellar product! reported, “Catskill Distilling Company’s Most Righteous Bourbon is the result of a collaboration between Sachs and Lincoln Henderson, the creator of Woodford Reserve Bourbon and Gentleman Jack Tennessee Whiskey. Sachs sources a mash of 70% corn, 20% rye and 10% malted barley from Cochecton Mills, a local farm in upstate New York, and then mills the grains inside his 5,000 square-foot distillery.”

According to Monte, “We’ve taken the best of Kentucky know-how and mixed it with New York ingenuity to produce our first, limited release aged spirit – a smooth, beautifully spicy, brilliant bronze bourbon.”

Seems a lot of folks agree. Caskers concluded, “Most Righteous Bourbon has a nose of caramel and fudge, with initial notes of butterscotch, toffee molasses and dried fruits. The flavors give way to slightly spicier notes of cinnamon, ginger and a touch of spice before leading to a soft, smooth finish. Most Righteous Bourbon earned the Gold Medal at The Fifty Best Tasting Competition in 2012 and was “highly recommended” in the F. Paul Pacult’s Spirit Journal.”

I had this bourbon, and I have to agree. This is a big, warm, brown bottle of just gorgeous bourbon.

Peace Vodka from Catskill Distilling

Monte Sachs is the mater distiller at Catskill Distilling. He’s passionate about two things – chemistry and distilling. And he believes that local ingredients make the difference in quality and taste.

Located moments from the site of the original Woodstock Music Festival (now Bethel Woods Center for the Performing Arts), the Catskill Distilling Company honors the rich history of the Sullivan County Catskills – a unique blend of tradition and revolution.

According to, "Over three decades ago, Monte Sachs — Catskill Distilling Company’s founder and distiller — attended veterinary school at the University of Pisa in Italy. After class each day, Sachs would meet with an Italian farmer named Bernardini, who taught Sachs how to distill grappa."

“He taught me about the importance of sourcing quality ingredients from small farms and about how the shape and size of a still is reflected in the weight and mouthfeel of the spirits,” says Sachs.

The Catskill Distilling Company’s inaugural bottle, Peace Vodka, is a wheat vodka distinctive for both its complexity and refinement. A delicate balance that reminds you why smaller is better and that there is no substitute for passion

The water is from the Catskill Mountains, and the grains, purchased at a nearby mill, are returned as mash to a nearby farm to feed a herd of red stag. From the locally-grown grains to fruit from local orchards and botanicals grown on site, the Catskill Distillery embodies the spirit of the farm distillery and demonstrates a strong commitment to the local agricultural community.

The custom-made copper stills, the work of master European craftsmen, were designed to accommodate a variety of distillation techniques. They are a work of art that serve as the backdrop to the tasting room at the Catskill Distillery.

According the the notes from Astors Wines & Spirits, “This brand new vodka is loaded with delicious aromas and flavors. That’s right, vodka with flavor and aroma!! And don’t get me wrong this is not a flavored product, or some anonymous harsh ethyl alcohol pumped off of a grey factory line, just plain old vodka made in small batches at a small distillery on a farm in the Catskills. The local New York wheat used for Peace produces a spirit that is simultaneously complex and refined. Multiple passes on the nose reveal new surprises of aroma including, sweet cream butter, soft caramel, pure vanilla bean, and baking bread. You will be highly delighted to find all these flavors intact on the palate wrapped up in an impossibly smooth and luscious mouth-feel that’s as close to liquid silk as I’ve ever come across. So good, everybody should try this. An eye-opening bottle”

It’s a very, very good vodka….and I highly recommend it!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Millbrook Pinot Noir 1993

From the staff at Millbrook - Why we love our job: John Graziano recently tasted the staff on a 1993 Proprietor’s Special Reserve Pinot (estate fruit). “Tasted like an old Burgundy” said David Bova (GM), adding that it, “Reaffirms the fact that Millbrook wines age quite nicely with proper cellar conditions.” What's your oldest cellared Millbrook wine?


Monday, March 11, 2013

Hudson Valley Wineries Participating in New York City's Premiere NY Wine Event - NY Drinks NY 2013

Congrats to the Hudson Valley wineries participating in 
NY Drinks NY 2013!

Jim Trezise wrote in this weekend's edition of The Wine Press (3/2/13), "Sold Out! Sorry, folks, but our NYDrinksNY tasting on March 18 at Astor Center in Manhttan was sold out right after last weekend's Wine Press went out.  Our inaugural tasting last year also sold out, but not nearly as early, so clearly the word has gotten out.  The private tasting for trade and media in the afternoon is also full, a rarity in New York City where so many invitations to tastings are extended.  It's a tribute to our agency, First Press Public Relations, as well as to the quality of New York wines and their spreading reputation."

That's great news for New Yorkers and New York wine!

The Second Annual NY Drinks NY Grand Tasting at Astor Center takes place on Monday, March 18, 2013 from 6 to 8 PM.

Taste more than 200 wines from 41 New York wineries from the Finger Lakes, Long Island, Hudson River Region, Niagara Escarpment, Lake Erie and Thousand Islands. Fine New York cheeses and other local fare provided by the New York Wine & Culinary Center.

New York City has long been one of the main crossroads of wine in the world. It's denizens have been drinking imported wines since the colonies were first founded...that's almost 400 years of mported wines. But New York state has been making making wine for centures. And it's been making great wine for decades!

New York offers a variety of wines from fine Sauvignon Blancs, Rieslings, and Chardonnays, to Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Pinot Noir, to fine blends, to dessert wines and fruit wines. And the quality and taste are better than ever before. Many of the participating wineries have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Wine Enthusiast, Wine Spectator,, and many, many more!

NY Drinks NY is easilly and quickly become the premiere wine event in the New York wine promotional calendar, and the kind of sigature event New York wine has been deserving of! The show performs double duty, by showcasing New York state wines for press, media, bloggers, as well as liquor store owners, resteratuers, and many others professionally involved in wine. And the evening portion of the event gives New York wine enthusiasts the opportunity to sample the ares of it's artisnal quality producers. This is a win-win everytime!

If you missed the opportunity to participate in the Monday night event, I strongly urge you to seek out some of the "Partner Events" in and around New York City all this week to sample some of the wineries who will be featured this March! Click on the link here to find out a place and date easiest for you!

Kudos to Jim Trezise, First Press Public Relations, and most of all, to all the New York wineries that make New York wine one of the most competitive wine regions in the world....and one that is moving forward.

Patricipating wineries include:

Benmarl Winery
156 Highland Avenue
Marlboro, NY 12542

Clinton Vineyards
450 Schultzville Road,
Clinton Corners, NY 12514

Hudson-Chatham Winery
1900 Route 66
Ghent, NY 12075
518-392- 9463
Verity Wine Partners

Millbrook Vineyards And Winery
26 Wing Road
Millbrook, NY 12545

Stoutridge Vineyard
10 Ann Kaley Lane
Marlboro, NY 12542

Friday, March 01, 2013



Beginning Saturday, April 13th, this six (6) part experiential Winegrowing Boot Camp series is open to just 20 students who’ll participate in hands-on viticultural tasks and winemaking studies associated with the growing and making of Millbrook’s exciting Northern Italian white grape variety – Tocai Friulano. 2013 Dates: 4/13, 5/18, 6/1, 7/13, 10/19. 2014 Dates: 3/15

Under John Graziano’s watchful eye, students will tend to their own personal assigned Tocai vines located in Millbrook’s “Lollipop Hill” vineyard block. Each Saturday seminar will see participants rolling up their sleeves and plunging into vine pruning and tying, bud break, leaf pulling, harvesting and eventually, bottling.

Each participant will receive lunch, including a glass of wine, after each vineyard seminar during May through October at Millbrook’s Vineyard Grille. The program also includes a seat at the winery’s annual Tocai Celebration luncheon (May 18) and Harvest Party luncheon (October 19). A final closing luncheon will occur in March 2014 to celebrate the bottling of the wine. Boot Camp Participants will walk away with hard-earned fruits of their labor: a case (12 bottles) of the finished Tocai wine and the privilege of saying they helped make it!

OPTION 1: $795* (participant provides own transportation)
OPTION 2: $895* (includes shuttle service from Poughkeepsie train station but does not include round-trip price of Metro North train tickets)

*Cost includes all seminars, vineyard equipment, lunches, and one case (12 bottles) of personalized Tocai wine. Participants must be physically fit to provide manual labor in the vineyard. Participants must be able to lift 40 lbs.

To sign up visit (800-662-9463 x11)