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, May 26, 2013

Regsiter Star: Hudson Berkshire Wine & Food Festival 2013 a Hit!

Food and wine fest a hit despite deluge
Posted: Sunday, May 26, 2013 12:30 am
By John Mason
Hudson-Catskill Newspapers 

CHATHAM — A wine-and-food festival? Perfect for a nice, sunny day. That’s not what they got Saturday at the Columbia County Fairgrounds, but despite the incessant rain, the first-ever Hudson-Berkshire Wine & Food Festival was packed.

It was just the first of two days, but some vendors were already nearly sold out, said organizer Dominique Devito of the Hudson-Chatham Winery, one of the sponsors. The event was scheduled to continue from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today.

It has the advantage, for a rainy day, of being set in two buildings, so except for the walk to the car, you can stay dry.

Karen Gardy, director of the Hudson-Berkshire Beverage Trail, said the festival was three years in the making. It was only possible after Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s summit on beer, wine and spirits in November. At that time, the rule that prohibited beer and spirits producers from selling their products off-site was lifted.

“For the distillery, this is a new thing for me,” said Derek Grout, owner-operator of Harvest Spirits Farm Distillery at Golden Harvest Farm in Valatie. In the past, he said, he could advertise his product by having a table at a festival. “Now, instead of just spending my time and spirits, I can recoup some of my costs.”

Grout said the festival exceeded his expectations, “not just by the number of people, but the quality of the people. Everyone appreciates wine; many are buying bottles to take home.”

Grout said he’ll take apple jack, which drinks like whiskey, to a party, but his favorite of his beverages is the pear brandy, which takes more of an education. The peach jack, he said, was a runaway hit Saturday.

For those whose temptation is chocolate, Hoosick Falls had let Mark Shaw escape for a day with his chocolate pizza slices flavored with such combinations as bacon, potato chips and cheddar, and chipotle, black pepper and cinnamon. Another pie, flavored with key lime, chipotle and lemon zest, took second place out of 1,000 vendors at the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Show in Orlando in September.

Shaw is a truck driver who began making chocolates as holiday gifts, then people started reordering.

The promoters of Saturday’s festival were outstanding to work with, he said. The event started slow, then took off. He was also at last weekend’s Classic Car and Motorcycle Show in Hudson, which was much slower, he said.

Ben Peacock and Kimberly Tousey own and operate Tousey Wineries on Route 9 in Clermont. Kimberly’s father, Ray, started the business with a Cassio black currant wine in 2007; Ben and Kimberly took over the management in 2010.

In their vineyard south of the Rip Van Winkle Bridge on the Hudson, they grow Riesling, Chardonnay and pinot noir grapes. They have a new facility with a tasting room, and are becoming recognized. Peacock said he believes their Riesling is the only Riesling made from 100 percent Hudson Valley grapes.

The pinot noir, which will be bottled in July, is “well sought after, known as a great pinot noir,” he said.

Tousey will not hold its Riesling exclusivity long; Doug Glorie, of Glorie Winery in Marlboro, Ulster County, is harvesting his first crop of Rieslings this year. He also grows seyval blancs and cabernet francs on seven acres.

Asked which is his favorite among the Glorie wines, he said cabernet franc, because he’s a dry wine drinker. But the Candy Ass Red pays the bills, he said, as easily evidenced by the parade of people coming up for tastes of it.

Demonstrating the variety of palate pleasers on hand were the crew from Grandpa Pete’s Gourmet Tomato Sauce of Catskill, offering samples of four kinds of sauce. Charlie Serro said his father, Pete, used to come up to the family’s business, Pollace’s Resort, and make his spaghetti sauce.

After Pete passed on, the kids wanted the sauces to keep going, Serro said, so they began jarring them five years ago. They’re gluten-free and use all-natural, high-end ingredients, with recipes from his grandmother.

Scott Craumer, a brewer for Barrington Brewery out of Great Barrington, was moving constantly: he said he wouldn’t be able to eat till it was over.

“We’ve had lots of sales today,” he said. “I’m actually surprised.” They have several variietes of craft beer, such as a Northern England farmer’s ale, that’s a little sweeter, he said, a Dortmunder German lager, a stout. They get their hops from Germany, England, France, the Northwest, and they grow enough for four to five batches.

All their grain for the farmer’s ale comes from Maine, Craumer said.

The Chatham Brewery is hoping to increase the amount of hops it gets from the dozen or so local growers, said co-owner Tom Crowell. Gov. Cuomo is instituting incentives for brewers to buy from local growers.

The brewery will be expanding in a major way this summer, increasing its output seven-to-10-fold, Crowell said. They’re getting the plumbing set up at their new location, 59 Main St., the site of the former Mini-Chopper, dollar store and ice creamery. Meanwhile, most of their brewing is being done at their old location at the other end of the block.

“We haven’t been able to meet the demand or take on new accounts for awhile now,” he said. “The microbrewery sector is seeing 16-to-20 percent growth; we’ve been doing 25-to-30.”

He, co-owner Jake Cunningham and brewer Matt Perry expect to hire three or four new people in the coming expansion. They’ve gotten good support from the Columbia Economic Development Corporation, Crowell said.

Not to be forgotten among the beverages on tap this weekend is Peter Voelker’s mead. He owns Helderberg Meadworks in Duanesburg.

Mead, he said, is the world’s oldest beverage, starting 7,000 years ago with the Chinese. The Vikings popularized it in Europe.

“I make it with honey and I age it with oak,” he said. Voelker uses different kinds of oak. A barrel that’s been more charred might give a sharper taste, he said, and a less charred barrel might have more complexity.

He’d been making mead for himself for 10 years before he set the Meadworks up eight years ago.

“I always wondered why I couldn’t find anything like this in a store,” he said. “I did it because I love it.”

Louise Roback had been practicing law for a quarter of a century before she decided to follow her heart and become a full-time baker in March. Now she operates Fresh Start Bakehouse in Stuyvesant. She apprenticed to some “fabulous bakers” in San Antonio, Texas, she said, and now she’s baking out of her home, and selling her wares at the Chatham farmers market at 59 Main St., the New Lebanon and Coxsackie farmers markets, and is hoping to place her desserts in restaurants and stores like the Chatham Real Foods Market.

She said she likes to make fruit pastries that are not overly sweet, so the flavor of the fruit is allowed to come through, such as her fig bar with raspberry preserves.

She likes to use not so much sugar in her pecan pie, but will add a good chocolate. She buys cacaoberry chocolate and currants in large quantities.

But she’s proudest, she said, of her frangipane tart, which she called “very delicious.”

Gardy said the day was “very successful. It’s a very enthusiastic crowd of folks. It’s a wonderful weekend. I am enthused beyond belief.”


To reach reporter John Mason, call 518-828-1616, ext. 2500, or e-mail



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