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.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

FUSSYLittleBlog Loves Hudson Berkshire Wine & Food Fest

Hudson Berkshire Wine Fest Recap

June 3, 2013

FUSSYlittleNOTE: Today we’re doing something different. Below is a guest post from my friend, former cupcake co-judge and fellow Fighting Quaker Innae Park. When I couldn’t attend the inaugural Hudson-Berkshire Wine & Food Fest, she bravely stepped up and volunteered. Here is her report. It even includes pictures. - Daniel, editor of FUSSYLittleBlog
Cloudy, cold, windy and rainy. All adjectives you would normally shudder at when describing Memorial Day weekend – but it just so happened that this holiday coincided with an indoor wine and food festival. That’s right, indoor.

The first ever Hudson Berkshire Wine and Food Festival was held at the Columbia County fairgrounds in Chatham, with 16 food vendors, 9 exhibitors, 12 wineries, four distilleries and two breweries taking part.

This may not seem all that bizarre to you, but until last fall, craft breweries, distilleries, and even wineries weren’t able to sell their product at certain events where they provided tastings. Since Governor Cuomo announced regulatory changes at the state’s first Wine, Beer and Spirits Summit, that’s changed. And inevitably, my wallet is much emptier.
Enough about me. Back to the beverages!
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I began at Hillrock Estate Distillery, located in Ancram. They boast of the world’s first Solera Aged Bourbon. If that means nothing to you, you’re not alone. Here’s what I learned: Imagine a pyramid of barrels, with the youngest bourbon on top, the most aged spirit filling the bottom rows. As whiskey is drawn at the appropriate time from the oldest rows, the newer whiskey flows downward in the pyramid. As head of operations Tim Welly explained to me, “The young spirits are taught by the older spirits” as they combine.

Who knew? Life lessons from whiskey.

So what does pseudo-ageless bourbon taste like? Warm and a smidge spicy. Very rounded, and you get a touch of sherry since the whiskey is finished in old sherry casks.
For the many other unique things Hillrock is doing, check out
Harvest Spirits of Valatie was next, a core member of the Hudson-Berkshire Beverage Trail.
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More firsts for me! I sampled their applejack, pear brandy and rare pear brandy. Their spirits are made from their farm’s very own fruits. Don’t be fooled: they pack a punch and would never be seen in the presence of wine coolers. My favorite was the Rare Pear Brandy: nice and oaky, subtly sweet. There is a sharper taste of pear from the Hudson Valley pear brandy – but it will cut across your tongue.
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Then off to Dutch’s Spirits, where I got my first smackin’ of their Sugar Wash Moonshine.
It was citrusy yet sharp enough to get the blood flowing. The lingering sweetness had me exhaling deeply and enjoying the smoothness that remained. Their Peach Brandy was also a hit with me, soft and spicy, with a hint of smokiness.

Then I stopped by the two breweries: Chatham Brewing, also of the Hudson-Berkshire Beverage Trail, and Barrington Brewery. Both should expect a visit from me in the near future, especially since Barrington has a brewpub. Let me just say this: there is love in those beers. Clarity, viscosity, spices, sweetness, complexity, everything but umami found in these carefully crafted bottles. You should visit.

Did I mention I also bought this cheese that made me want to melt into a puddle? A camembert made from cow’s and sheep’s milk. Then there were tasty eats from the Local Flavor Café, mead from Helderberg Meadworks, chocolate pizzas created by a former truck driver with a sweet tooth, and tamales. Hello, food!
I am going to be bold and say this: Let it rain next Memorial Day weekend, if it means the opportunity to hit up the second annual Hudson-Berkshire Food and Wine Festival. You won’t be disappointed.

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