Hudson River Valley Wineries

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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.


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