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.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Times Herald-Record Features Coppersea Distillery - Newest In Hudson Valley

New Distillery in Ulster Savors Old Fashioned Ways
Specialty malt's key in creating its line of spirits

By Jessica Dinapoli
Times Herald-Record
Published: 2:00 AM - 07/28/13
WEST PARK — A time traveler from the 19th century who stumbles out of a vortex and into the old chicken coop off Route 9W would likely know where he landed.
The barrels filled with fermenting fruits and grains would be the first clue he had been teleported to a distillery. The next would be the heat the hand-hammered copper still throws off, and the grain mills sitting upstairs.
That's the point of Coppersea Distilling, said Angus MacDonald, the master distiller at the new business. The old-fashioned distillery went into production last year, and sells its spirits at the Kingston Farmers' Market, some restaurants and a prominent New York City liquor store.
Process enhances flavor
MacDonald has eschewed modern conveniences to craft a specialty product. Instead of commodity malt — an industry term for grain — Coppersea workers undertake an arduous process called floor malting.
"It's the way that people approached this 150 years ago," MacDonald said, adding that almost every town had a distillery through the 19th century. "It's a historically accurate process."
Floor malting local grains gives the liquor trickling out of the still more flavor, said distillery manager Christopher Williams.
Floor malting involves spreading grain out over the floor, and constantly raking it.
Local grain is hard to find, since many Hudson Valley farmers long ago gave up growing it because it wasn't profitable, MacDonald said. In some cases, MacDonald and Williams have taught farmers how to grow grain, and will buy the crop before the seeds are even in the ground.
Taste unique to the region
The effort pays off, because the local grain creates a "Hudson Valley terroir," or flavor characteristics specific to the region, Williams said.
Because the spirits are more flavorful, Coppersea hasn't aged all of them. Aging spirits in barrels usually adds taste, MacDonald said.
Astor Wines& amp; Spirits in New York City, where Coppersea's products are available, praised the distillery's New York Raw Rye in its tasting notes, saying the liquor will change drinkers' minds about unaged spirits.
"The challenge, the perception in the market, is that older is better," said Coppersea CEO Michael Kinstlick. "That's not necessarily true."
Monastery once owned building
In another throwback to old-school distilling, Coppersea workers also hand-char barrels they use for their aged spirits, which haven't hit the market yet.
A couple of dozen barrels, some filled with a green malt rye, are lined up in the distillery's attic, nicknamed "The Church" after the pulpit left there from a prior owner of the building, the Holy Cross Monastery.
MacDonald, who lives in New Paltz, found the building a couple of years ago, when it was being used as an auto repair shop.
"I said, 'That would make a great site for a distillery,'" said MacDonald, who has spent his adult life researching spirits. His family has a history in moonshining, both in his ancestral home of Scotland and in the U.S. MacDonald said his grandfather flew hooch from Canada to New York City during Prohibition.
Coppersea was still in its infancy when MacDonald stumbled across the structure. He had considered starting a distillery since at least the early 2000s, but plans only started to come together in late 2010, when Kinstlick started talking to potential investors. Kinstlick and MacDonald knew each other through an online distilling community.
Last year, MacDonald and Kinstlick got their government licenses, and had already signed the lease for the former chicken coop. They've been distilling since then.
Kinstlick, who has a business background, hopes to produce a couple of thousand cases annually next year, and widen the distribution network.
For MacDonald, Coppersea is a passion project.

New York Times Highlights Tuthilltown Distillery and Benmarl Winery


In a recent article entitled 36 HOURS IN THE HUDSON VALLEY by Freeda Moon (July 28, 2013)the New York Times highlighted visits to Tuthilltown Distillery and Benmarl Winery among many other items. A nice call out for these two wineries in the lower Hudson Valley. Congrats to them!!!

From the article:

6. Tasting Trails
Housed in a former grist mill, the Tuthilltown Distillery became New York State’s first post-Prohibition whiskey distillery in 2007, selling its four-grain bourbon, Manhattan rye and single-malt whiskey under the Hudson Whiskey label. On weekends, tours are offered at noon, 2 and 4 p.m. ($15, including a three-spirit tasting). If wine’s your thing, the Shawangunk Wine Trail ( highlights 14 wineries, including Benmarl Winery, which claims to be the oldest vineyard in the country. The Hudson Valley Cider Alliance ( is yet another beverage-centric option.

Bounty of the Hudson 2013 (PHOTO ALBUM)

The Bounty of the Hudson 2013 held at Whitecliff Vineyards this last weekend of July was a smashing success! Well run and well attended, the event was hosted by the Shawangunk Wine Trail. Lots of great wine and wonderful food and music. A tremendous time was had by all!




See you all next year!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Upper Hudson Valley Wine Trail is in Full Swing! Enjoy!


A visit to our wineries offers hospitable winery tasting rooms where you taste new northern grape varietals and old-world classics and often meet the owners. Taste their wines, meet their people, discover their natural beauty, visit historic sites and local attractions!
From “Grandma Moses country” in Washington County to “horse racing country” in Saratoga County & the “Queen of American Lakes” in Warren County, they’re less than a half-day drive from New York City, Boston, and Montreal and only a short drive from Albany and Glens Falls, NY and western VT! From the beauty of the Adirondacks to the excitement of the Capital Region, they’re rich in historical and cultural attractions.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Happy Bitch Releases Two New Wines

Debbie Gioquindo has been on the Hudson Valley wine scene for a long time. She’s a grade A wine pro with marketing chops, and a palate that matches. Her ascent in the wine business has been almost straight up! Originally a blogger, she has been a steward, a judge, and held her own wine competitions around the state, as well as being a regional brand director, and now she has her own wine label. Flat out, she knows what she’s doing and she knows her way around. Her label, with friend Keryl Pesce, is Happy Bitch Wines, a woman-owned and focused wine brand. The brand was even featured in the New York Times.
They released two new wines in June 2013. The new wines, a Sauvignon Blanc and Pink Chardonnay, are a follow up to the semi-sweet Rose that launched the wine brand in November of 2011.
The Pink Chardonnay (96% un-oaked Chardonnay and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon) is refreshing and has nice minerality with flavors of green apple and a hint of red berry. 
Why a Pink Chardonnay?
“We’re all about happy. Creating it, spreading it, and sharing it.” says co-founder and author of Happy Bitch, Keryl Pesce. “Adding a splash of Cabernet Sauvignon to the Chardonnay not only creates a great tasting wine and pretty pink color, it’s just more fun. It definitely makes for a happier glass of wine!”
The Sauvignon Blanc is crisp and refreshing with topical notes, soft acidity and a hint of lime. It is nicely balanced without being too grapefruity or grassy.
Both wines are sourced from Maule Valley, Chile and will be bottled in the United States.
“Our Facebook fans, Twitter followers and women we meet in person have been asking us to bring them more wines. We love and appreciate our “fans”, and we listen to them. We’ve taken their requests and input, held multiple tasting trials and are so excited to now offer these two new wines.” says co-founder Debbie Gioquindo, CSW and wine blogger known as the Hudson Valley Wine Goddess.  
How will their target market like the new wines?
“We had a few sample bottles and have given a few people sneak previews. When the unanimous response was for their faces to light up and ask us when they could get the wine, we knew we were on the right track.” says Gioquindo.
“It’s so fun to be in a position to make your own rules.” Says Pesce. “Add to that, the fact that we are women, we really know our market, and we intuitively know what’s going to fly.”
The two wines will be available in New Jersey in June of 2013 and are distributed by Shorepoint Distributing Company in Freehold, New Jersey. Beginning July of 2013, the two wines are available in New York State through Empire Merchants North.

The wines will retail between $10.99 - $12.99.

Happy Bitch is a brand that began when Keryl Pesce put her ex’s affair and subsequent divorce to good use and wrote the book “Happy Bitch” to help other women overcome challenge and live happier. Living well IS the best revenge!

After being downsized, wine educator and blogger known as the Hudson Valley Wine Goddess, Debbie Gioquindo, CSW, responded to Pesce’s Tweet asking for thoughts on producing a Happy Bitch wine. Seeing an opportunity to flip off the corporate world and follow her passion for wine, she teamed up with Keryl.

For more information, please visit


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Bounty of the Hudson July 27 and 28, 2013 at Whitecliff Vineyards

Shawangunk Wine Trail is pleased to announce that Bounty of the Hudson, the Trail’s annual summer wine festival, will take place on July 27 and 28 at Whitecliff Vineyard in Gardiner. Bounty of the Hudson is the biggest annual gathering of the Hudson Valley’s wineries and producers.
Because the Hudson Valley’s wine industry has experienced rapid growth, this year’s Bounty of the Hudson will be the Shawangunk Wine Trail’s largest ever. For the first time, the event will gather 20 to 25 Hudson Valley wineries in one place instead of the usual 15 to 18, making it easy to discover the best of the region. In addition to participation by area restaurants, local farmers will also participate, making this a true farm-to-table wine and food festival. Culinary Institute graduate Chef Shawn Hubbell will prepare small plate dishes that will each spotlight a different Gardiner farm, including Brookside, Brykill, Full Moon and Kiernan Farms for meats, Meadow View for vegetables, and Hurd for fruit. The farms’ products will also be available for purchase.

Pictures from pervious Bounty events!
This year’s festival at Ulster County’s Whitecliff Vineyard will also showcase the beauty of the Hudson Valley with its 26 acres of vines and dramatic view of the Shawangunk Mountains.
“We are honored to host Bounty of the Hudson here at Whitecliff Vineyard, and we could not be more excited to have the Hudson Valley’s major wineries all in one place,” said Yancey Stanforth-Migliore, owner of Whitecliff Vineyard. “"We're particularly happy that our local community of Gardiner has so many amazing farms producing organic vegetables and free range, organic meats. It will allow this Bounty to include a unique opportunity to taste local wines together with truly local foods. We're taking ‘terroir’--the way the climate and soils of a place effect the character of wines, the foods, and the way they complement each other--to a new level with this year's event!"
Bounty of the Hudson will also include live music, with the Michael Hollis Jazz Quintet performing on Saturday, and the Bernstein Band Quintet on Sunday. The festival will take place from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 27, and Sunday, July 28, at Whitecliff Vineyard at 331 McKinstry Road in Gardiner. Tickets will soon be available at
Attending wineries include:
·         Adair Vineyards
·         Adirondack Winery
·         Applewood Winery
·         Baldwin Vineyard
·         Benmarl Winery
·         Brimstone Hill Vineyard
·         Brotherhood, America’s Oldest Winery
·         Brookview Station Winery
·         Cereghino-Smith Winery
·         Clearview Vineyard
·         Demarest Hill Winery
·         Glorie Farm Winery
·         Hudson-Chatham Winery
·         Palaia Winery
·         Robibero Winery
·         Stoutridge Vineyards
·         Tousey Winery
·         Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery
·         Whitecliff Vineyard & Winery
About Shawangunk Wine Trail                                         
Shawangunk Wine Trail, proudly located in the Hudson Valley, is composed of 14 distinct wineries. The wineries along the Shawangunk Wine Trail range from large to small and feature a variety of award-winning red and white wines, from sparkling and fruit wines to sweet and bone dry blends.

About Whitecliff Vineyard:
Whitecliff Vineyard is a family-owned winery that has been internationally recognized for producing fine wine. By winning “Best White in Show” with its Riesling in 2010 at the San Francisco International Wine Competition, Whitecliff beat out 1300 entries from all over the world and brought a distinguished international wine award home to the Hudson Valley. Whitecliff recently built one of the first geothermal wine production facilities in the state. For more information, visit