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, September 30, 2013

Hudson Valley Reporter Highlights Clinton Vinyards Wine Dedicated to Hillary Clinton

Hudson Valley Reporter

Dutchess County Vineyard Dedicates New Wine to Hillary Clinton Presidential Bid

Dutchess County Vineyard Dedicates New Wine to Hillary Clinton Presidential Bid

CLINTON CORNERS, N.Y. – A Dutchess County vineyard unveiled a new wine at a tasting reception last week and its owner said the vintage is dedicated to a Hillary Clinton presidency campaign.
Clinton Vineyards owner Phyllis Feder told the crowd that the new vintage, Victory White 2012, arrived with a “political agenda,”
“We’re uncorking this new wine to demonstrate our hope that Hillary will run for the presidency in 2016,” Feder said. “We invite her supporters across the country to join this effort.”
Hudson Valley Assemblywoman Didi Barrett called Feder “the First Lady of New York State wine and grapes” when the assemblywoman spoke last week at the reception and tasting to launch Victory White 2012.
Joining Barrett at the event were Rich Kleban of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce; Laurence Gottlieb of The Hudson Valley Food & Beverage Alliance; along with Mary Kay Vrba, Lydia Higginson and Nancy Lutz of Dutchess Tourism.
Feder also received statements of congratulation from well-wishers that included County Executive Marc Molinaro; James Trezise, president of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation; Kevin Zraly, internationally noted wine educator and author; and Adam Parkhomenko, executive director of Ready for Hillary Political Action Committee.
Feder said the release of Victory White 2012 is the latest chapter in a Clinton Vineyards tradition of support for Bill and Hillary Clinton. She said Victory White was first released in 1992, inspired by Bill Clinton’s election, and a 1996 vintage was released for his re-election. Victory White 2008 also supported Hillary Clinton’s run for the presidency.
Clinton Vineyards has produced a Victory White video by filmmaker David McDonald.that can be seen on the vineyard’s website and on YouTube.

The new wine was the recipient of the Double Gold Medal at this month’s annual Hudson Valley Wine and Spirits competition.
Feder said she will make a significant contribution to Ready for Hillary PAC.
Clinton Vineyards was established in 1976 on 100 acres of Dutchess County property in Clinton Corners. Its portfolio of award-winning wines includes Estate Bottled seyval blanc table wines, méthode champenoise sparkling wines and fruit dessert wines, sourced from local HudsonValley growers, including a celebrated cassis black-currant wine, the only domestically produced cassis that has won awards in international competitions.
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Chatham Press Features Hudson-Chatham Winery

Chatham Press wrote a great feature article about the continued success of the Hudson-Chatham Winery. Writer Jacqueline LaChance wrote THE VINTNERS OF GHENT in the October 2013 issue of The Chatham Press newspaper.

EDIBLE HUDSON VALLEY Raves About The Shawangunk Wine Trail

Great article by Peter Barrett on The Shawangunk Wine Trail in the southern part of the Hudson Valley in the Fall 2013 issue of Edible Hudson Valley.

The fourteen wineries on the trail carry on a tradition of the fine winemaking established by the early settlers who brought their wine making expertise to this valley over 300 years ago. Each winery is different. Small to medium in size, all proud of their well crafted red and white wines that range from bone dry to dessert sweet. You will find sparkling wines, vinifera and French/American varietals and blends, and even some beautifully made fruit wines. This young, thriving industry has recently become well known for its prize winning wines across the nation. Throughout the year there are special events such as Lobster Fests, jazz concerts and strawberry festivals.

The Trail is easily accessible by the New York State Thruway at Exits 16, 17 and 18, from Route 17 at Exit 119 and can be approached from the south of Interstate 84 at Warwick and Washingtonville and to the north of 84 at Marlboro, Pine Bush and New Paltz.

Congrats to the members of the wine trail and to Nancy and Ray Painter of Edible Hudson Valley magazine and to editor Eric Steinman!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Fall In Love With Hudson Valley Wine 2013 Continues!!!!!! Week 4 September 27-29!!!

18 more events this weekend!!! Another series of amazing events!!! We have grape stomping at several wineries, pumpkin chucking, and much more!!! There's music, wine tastings, food, fun, and laughter!!! C'mon, Fall in Love With Hudson Valley Wine!!!

Sept 27 – Longchamp & Manza 7:00-10:00pm   PALAIA VINEYARDS

Sept 28 & 29: Harvest Celebration, Noon-5pm, Hudson-Chatham Winery

Sept 28 & 29 12-7pm Annual Harvest Grape Stomping Festival BENMARL WINERY

Sept 28 & 29 -Grape Stomp Festival ROBIBERO VINEYARDS

Sept 28 & 29 Grape Stomping BROTHERHOOD WINERY

Sept 29 & 30 Crafts at Rhinebeck Fall Festival 2013, 10am-5pm both days.  (WINE TENT)

Sept 28 & 29 Harvest Grape Stomping Festival BENMARL WINERY

Sept 28 & 29 Uncorked and Unplugged Concert Series 2 to 5 pm at WARWICK VALLEY

Sept 29 Little Sparrow Band BASHAKILL VINEYARDS

Sept 28 – PUMPKIN CHUCKING at 3pm and  The Die Hardz 7-10pm PALAIA VINEYARDS

Sept 29 – “Whitney Rose” – Doug & Ann O’Connor – 2:30-5:30pm PALAIA VINEYARDS

And of course, for more events, go to:

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Road Warrior - David Pazdar of Pazdar Winery

One of the best known dessert winemakers in the Hudson Valley is David Pazdar. David is a very nice man. You have to say that when you start off writing about David. Because his small brand is so focused, and so driven to fun and excess, one needs to rein in the expectations he might otherwise be the Harlequin Romance line of wines of the Hudson Valley. His wine names would easily earn him the honor, if it was solely based on the names of his wines, with such titillating titles as Rendezvous, Hot Sin, Forbidden Nights, and Secret Lovers.

David’s winery is unique. He’s a one man show, that is if you don’t count his perky wife, his adorable daughters, and his father-in-law Tom ( a quiet, friendly sort, who is always found with the NY Post or NY Daily News in hand, following the Yankees). But seriously, David’s winery is small and focused. David excels at making popular dessert wines. Extremely adept at making Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay and other well-known varietals under his “House” label, David has instead focused on a wide range of small production, high quality dessert wines. His flavor combinations are among the most unique in the American wine business. Chocolate wine, wines made with chili peppers, honey and ginger, banana, and mango and pineapple are among the unique flavors offered.

Don’t wrinkle your nose, wine snobs. David is cutting edge.

With limited capital and manpower, David, a former industrial quality control executive (formerly of Pepsi), decided that while numerous wineries were busy slamming their heads against one another fighting over the limited supply of local wine lovers with offerings of Chardonnay, Merlot, and Pinot Noir, that he instead would create a small list of dessert wines, since the bigger wineries had eschewed them. This was the niche David decided he would fill.

The Pazdar Winery was started in 1995 by David and Tracy Pazdar to give consumers innovative and highly creative wines for their palates as well as top quality varietals. The "house" label comes from the original intended name for the winery "Chateau de la Forme Brise'™" A name that was created back when David was still in college. It translates as the House of the Broken Mold. They average 2-3 new wines each year. Wines are fermented in small barrels, the largest being 60 gallons. These are generally made from traditional grapes. The wines are very good.

In addition to using top quality grapes and other fruits from around New York, they use the finest spices from around the world. Some of the peaches in their fortified peach wine came from their tree. Many of the spices they grow themselves on their property. In 2007 they planted their first grape vines. Their first scheduled estate wines were planned for 2012-2013.

Through-out the year, David and Tracy gather ideas. Some come from their customers, others from reading, and others from divine inspiration. After the wines are fermenting and the farmers markets are over for the season; the fun begins. During the winter, David takes those ideas and turns them into reality. Using his skills and the taste palate of his wife Tracy (his chief taster) as well as others, he develops the new wines. This takes numerous trials, many times over a hundred. A new wine can take anywhere from a few weeks to over 5 years to come to fruition depending on its complexity.

They produced the first chocolate wine in the world (Eden’s Pleasure™). They were the first to win a 1st Place Scovie (an international gourmet food) award (Hot Sin®). They now have won more "Scovies" than any other winery in the world. Other wines winning awards have included Summer’s Ecstasy™ (a sweet peppermint wine) and some of their fruit ports.

The winery has been featured in numerous publications including the Times Herald Record, Wethersfield Post, Chile Pepper Magazine, and several newspapers in Westchester County.

David is the ultimate garagiste, and a road warrior. The winery has no tastingroom. He makes his wine in the basement and garage of their suburban house (which he recently doubled in size through new construction). There is no zoning in his residential neighborhood for such a business, so David has to sell his wares on the road. David packs his car to the brim, with little room to spare. He always drives a fuel efficient station wagon or sport utility vehicle, because he spends so much time driving far and wide. A Subaru Forrester was his office of necessity for many, many years. He recently bought a new car, a very exciting moment for him. Packed to the gills, he and Tom (with newspaper), sandwiches and thermos in hand, venture forth with the sun just rising, onto the New York State thruway headed somewhere.

David is one of the most ubiquitous winery owners in the Hudson Valley, possibly the state. You are as likely to meet him anywhere from Albany down to Westchester. You can sample his wares at several farmers markets up and down the valley. Or you can taste his wines at any one of a dozen or so festivals and pouring events. But there is nowhere David won’t go with his small specialized road show. Whether it’s the Empire State Plaza Farmer’s Market or the Finger Lakes Wine Festival, David will be there to meet you in his polo short, khaki shorts, and wire rimmed glasses. From Buffalo to Westchester, David has poured in as many towns as some of the biggest wineries in the state. And he’s always popular.

Knowing what David looks like and seeing him are two different things, because getting near enough to his stand to actually meet him is the hardest part. With his assortment of oddly titled wines, and odd flavor combinations, his is always among the busiest stands at any show, market, or festival. In fact many wineries will ask David at the end of day or at the end of an event if he was up or down, because he is so exacting. At the height of any show, regardless of where it is, David’s booth is always packed.

Firstly, he has an absolutely loyal following. At the Finger Lakes people will make sure he is among their five or six first stops. He is a destination at the event for them. The come to order early to make sure they don’t get shut out. David’s wines are small production. A busy fair, and you are guaranteed to get shut out of your favorite wine. And these people want their wine. They know which wine it is they want, and they buy it.
Secondly, David’s labels and marketing. On the traditional side, wines are by color or style, i.e. reds, whites, sparkling, etc. Not with David. His wines are listed by more ethereal categories, like Chocolate, Romance and Adventure Wines, Chivalrous Wines, Garden of Eden, and so forth.

They are also unusual in that the art on the labels is hand drawn, such as Ravishing Sunrise, with two lovers entwined on a beach, or some other sexy bottle like Hot Sin with a big lipstick kiss on it.

But in the end they come for the taste. David has excelled at funky wines, but they always taste good. Try his lemoncello, it’s fantastic. Try the hot pepper wine. Incredible. Try the cherry chocolate wine. The concept almost makes one’s head spin, but it’s a winner…it tastes great and it sells like crazy.

Another example is the original Dragon’s Fury a wine made with chili peppers. It’s one of his best sellers. Fans will tell you that his chili pepper wine is the ultimate compliment to pizza. And the more exotic the pizza combination? The better the pairing! People bottle bottles. Not just one either. And they come back time and time again. So much so, that there are now four different labels in the line, each of which are popular in their own right. That’s success.

Some wine snobs scoff at David. But David has been doing this for two-and-a-half decades now. He is a full time winemaker. And his success is a testament to his hard work and the quality of his wines. Many a wine festival has come and gone, and winemakers compare receipts, and sometimes shake their heads. David smiles, packs up his meager leftovers, and piles back into his overstuffed car, and rumbles on his way to the next stop. David rarely has a bad show. If you’re lucky, you get to meet him, and taste his wines…but you’ll have to stand in line!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Richard Leahy: Summer 2013 Adventures. Act II: Hudson Valley Quickie

Richard Leahy is a wine writer and consultant who has been reporting on the wines of Virginia and Eastern North America since 1986. He became well-known in the Eastern wine industry as East Coast Editor for Vineyard & Winery Management, and is the Mid-Atlantic and Southern Editor for the ground-breaking Oxford Companion to the Wines of North America (2000), a regional editor for Kevin Zraly’s  American Wine Guide. and assisted Steve DeLong on his recent Wine Tasting Notebook. Mr. Leahy is a member of the Circle of Wine Writers, professional organization of leading wine journalists based in the U.K.
Richard was the Executive Director of the Virginia Wine Experience in London in May 2007. Richard coordinates the conference program for the Eastern Winery Exposition, a major wine industry trade show for the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern wine industries that takes place in Lancaster, PA annually in early March. - C. DeVito, Editor
With business in New England I stopped en route in the Hudson Valley to visit some wineries. I had hoped to visit three or four but became pressed for time and could only do a “quickie” tour visiting one heading east and one heading west. However both wineries were well worth the visit as I expect more of this old region is, home to the oldest continuously operating winery in the country (Brotherhood).

The Hudson Valley has long been pooh-poohed by wine sophisticates in the Big Apple, and while the Finger Lakes and Long Island regions have gained renown in the last decade with vinifera-based wines, the Hudson still has its strong suit in French hybrids, while often making vinifera wines from grapes brought in from those two other New York regions. However, the Hudson has also become a hotbed of the farm-to-table locavore movement, and the rise in its prestige for food sourcing for ambitious restaurants has shone a light on its now-respectable wine region as well.

Hudson Chatham WineryIn fact, Wine Enthusiast magazine recently had an article on the Hudson Valley which mentioned the wineries as well as the locavore movement, and one of those wineries was Hudson Chatham Winery, located about 15 minutes south of I-90 off the Taconic State Parkway south of the town of Chatham (1900 State Route 66, Ghent, NY 12075). While the winery makes perfectly fine vinifera wines from Finger Lakes fruit, its own vineyard is exclusively planted to French hybrids, a common situation in the Hudson Valley due to lack of the cold climate-moderating effect that the deep Finger Lakes or the Long Island Sound provide in those regions that allows them to plant cold-tender vinifera varieties.
Hudson Chatham Winery

I had heard that baco noir was a strong suit in the Hudson Valley, but the grape does not enjoy a good reputation. However, some baco specialists (such as Henry of Pelham Winery in Ontario) claim that if baco noir is treated with respect in the vineyard and winery, it will provide a fine red wine, and I have seen this happen, so I was pleased to discover that Hudson Chatham has an old vine reserve baco that reminded me of a fine Piedmontese red like dolcetto d’Alba or possibly barbera. On this brief visit I realized that baco noir has real potential for top quality in the Hudson Valley, and that local wineries are realizing that potential.

The Hudson Chatham baco noir estate old vines 2010 had an impressively dark violet color, an autumnal nose of dried cherries/plums and a bit of smoke, and smooth dark fruits on the palate with lively acid and spice in the finish.

I was also impressed with the seyval blanc 2012 (Hudson Valley) was very good, with an aromatic nose of grapefruit and melon. On the palate it was zesty with vibrant racy citrus and loads of grapefruit; a great food wine for summer.

The estate seyval block 1 2012 was barrel fermented in French oak. The nose was complex butterscotch with hints of pineapple. On the palate there was loads of zesty acidity but enough toned down by oak, with complexity and fine long minerality in the finish, a stylish wine.

The third excellent French hybrid wine showed that looking down on hybrids without tasting them first is grape racism. It was a nice surprise to taste a rare varietal leon millot 2011 (Castle Vineyard), with a nicely purple hue, clean earthiness on the nose, with smoky cherry notes, and on the palate, a fine fruit/oak balance with solid red fruits and a smoky finish.

A fun Hudson Chatham wine is their Hudson River Valley Red 2012 which is a hybrid red blend with 20% carbonic maceration and some grapes ripasso (concentrated through drying). The nose is smoky with smoky strawberry rhubarb hints. Palate is juicy with forward fruit, not sweet but easy and gently fruity.

Non-hybrid wines (with brought-in fruit) were also solid. A dry Riesling 2011 (Finger Lakes) had racy slate/flint notes with lime accents on the nose, with a palate of solid apple fruit with a grapefruit core. The wine drinks dry but is still fruity.

I was also impressed with the cabernet franc 2011 (Long Island) for a tough year; it had a light cherry nose, fragrant strawberry juice, light but clean and fresh.

I was even more impressed with the merlot 2011 (Long Island) with 24 months in 2 year old French oak. The nose is clean cherry with sage; on the palate it’s juicy and fresh and forward but dry; stylish.

DeVito is both versatile and consistent in quality. His cabernet sauvignon vintage port 2009 had classic cassis with smoky juiciness on the palate with fine tannins and well-balanced acid.

Perhaps the best red was the Empire Reserve 2010 (Merlot from Long Island, Cabernet Franc from Finger Lakes, and Baco Noir from the Hudson Valley). Bottled after 2 years and aged 6 months in the bottle, the nose has lots of cherry and dark bass notes of clean forest floor. The palate is closed but elegant, with a fresh Italian feel; stylish and promising.

The most original and impressive thing I tasted at Hudson Chatham was a cider from a 100 year old orchard with heirloom varieties. The nose was fine and complex but elegant. On the palate, it was vibrant with fine acid, fresh and crisp, but resembling champagne more than most commercial ciders, with a lively bead and tight fruit/acid balance.

After departing Hudson Chatham I had to drive to Rhode Island but returning en route to Pennsylvania I made a point of stopping in the Black Dirt fields of Warwick Valley near the New Jersey state line to visit the winery named after the Valley, which also produces Doc’s Cider.

Doc’s Cider (apple and pear) are a commercial success distributed in 22 states but I’m much more impressed with the still wines, and most especially the distilled products which are the best for quality/price ratio I’ve yet seen.

As at Hudson Chatham, Baco Noir is the local varietal star. As a table wine, it makes Black Dirt Red (NV) which is an unoaked, off-dry juicy quaffable and versatile wine. The nose is lovely clean black cherry and roses. On the palate, it is juicy and fruity with lots of zesty black cherry as good as any unoaked chambourcin.

Another successful baco product at Warwick Valley is Winston’s Harlequin Port made in a ruby style and fortified with New York brandy. The nose has chambourcin-like cherries, lots of spice and smoke, but clean. On the palate, the port is juicy, rich and lively with black cherry, pepper, oak hints and a clean finish.

Now for the star of the Warwick Valley line, the distilled products.

Bartlett Pear Liqueuer (18%) finished in oak. Nose: amazing pear and spice but no harsh heat. Palate: smooth, some sugar, nice complex oak nuances in finish. Original, stylish.

Black Currant Cordial (18%) Nose: wow! Amazingly vibrant fresh currants. Palate: juicy, zesty, bursting with lively fruit/acid balace, juicy and full but fresh finish. Outstanding.

Grappa (40%). Nose: subtle and fine, no hot alcohol esters. Palate: incredibly smooth, no coarse or burning texture, just smooth and fine all the way. Great value for $15/3735 ml. Gold medal in a major competition this year.

For a winery seemingly out on the edge of nowhere, Warwick Valley has a lot to offer, as does the Hudson Valley as a whole.

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Visit Vortex magazine: Ye Olde Hard Cider is Hipster Cool

Ye Olde Hard Cider is Hipster Cool

And the Valley's Flowing
Was Paul Revere a hipster? How do we connect these two? In his day, Paul imbibed a lot of cider (like all Americans of the period), and today it’s the preferred alcoholic beverage of the hippest foodies in Brooklyn and Manhattan. For centuries, the Hudson Valley has been producing apples for New York City and the Eastern Seaboard. Thousands of acres of apples are cultivated, and apple growers form the backbone of the region’s agricultural heritage and current farming community.
Sara Grady, director of special projects at Glynwood (a kind of sustainable farming think tank), points out that apple orchards have provided continuity and stability in the valley, saying, “Fruit growing is the only sector of agriculture where you can frequently see three or four generations of succession in the Hudson Valley. It’s a profound statement.”

Cider is amongst the oldest fermented alcoholic beverages known to man. Cider or cyder or cidre is fermented fruit juice, most commonly and traditionally apple juice, but also the juice of peaches, pears ("perry" cider), or other stone fruits. Cider varies in alcohol content from 2% ABV to 8.5% or more in traditional English ciders. In the United States and much of Canada, the alcoholic version usually carries the moniker “hard” to acknowledge its alcoholic content.

“Ciders once ruled all other drinks in taverns and farmsteads in early colonial America. Apple seeds were brought over on ships from Europe along with centuries of cider making traditions that quickly spread through the New World. With the westward expansion of pioneers and the help of "Johnny Appleseed", orchards were planted on most farms with the dual purpose of establishing proof of cultivation and homesteading and providing a source of cider. Fermented ciders were consumed in this region more than any other drink bar none,” writes Slyboro Cider House owner Dan Wilson, who is among the leaders of the cider revival in the Hudson Valley. It is estimated that typical Americans of the period took in an average of 34-35 gallons of hard cider a year.

According to Wilson, a combination of things led to the demise of cider in American culture, including prohibition, the urbanization movement during the industrial revolution that led to the abandonment of many orchards and agricultural customs, and the influx of German immigrants who introduced beer into our culture.

But cider is making a comeback! “English and French ciders are becoming increasingly common in the United States, as artisanal cider makers … use heirloom French and English cider apples and similar production techniques to create ciders that rival those of Europe,” reported Imbibe magazine. Even eminent wine professor and best-selling author Steven Kolpan of the Culinary Institute of America opined, “Hard Cider: What’s Old is New Again.”

Indeed, today cider is on the cutting edge. Not only can you get great traditional hard cider, but you can also try ciders that have been barrel-aged, hopped (with local hops), or spiced, as well as apple wines (usually much higher in alcohol) and iced ciders (think thick, unctuous dessert wine). And these new ciders can be found in Brooklyn and Manhattan—with foodies and gourmets lining up to try them all—from trendsetting restaurants to places like Murray’s Cheese in the Village.

The longest-tenured, continually producing cider maker in the Hudson River region is Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery with its Doc’s Hard Apple Cider line. It is the most popular and most widely distributed of all Hudson Valley ciders. Doc’s offers not only a mouth-watering traditional style, but also one tinged with raspberry, one that is hopped, and one with pumpkin (usually in fall).

Now there is a massive new birth. It is led by cider makers who have toured England, France, and Spain, trying different ciders, speaking with their European counterparts, trading information, and finding knowledge. They are using traditional cider apples from these regions as well as rediscovering Hudson Valley heirloom varieties as well.

The result? The Hudson Valley is brimming with cider! The Hudson Valley is the epicenter of the cider revival on the East Coast. Nowhere else is there this kind of concentration of cideries anywhere else. Longtime wine maker Jonathan Hull’s Applewood Winery is also a producer of the wildly successful Naked Duck line of ciders. New, cutting edge cideries like Arron Burr Cider, Kettleburough Cider House, and Bad Seed Hard Cider are solely dedicated to this new art form. They are making serious ciders with exciting new profiles. These aren’t sweet, apple-y hard ciders. Some are made using completely new forms of cider making.

Elizabeth Ryan, whose cider from the Hudson Valley Draft Cider Company has been featured on Martha Stewart, is another spokesperson for the renewal of cider in the Hudson Valley. She helped found Hudson Valley Cider Week, which will be held October 18-27. This annual event has become one of the keystones in the marketing of Hudson Valley agro-tourism. The promotion features grand tastings, restaurant cider dinners, symposiums, and much more.

So, who knows, maybe Paul Revere wore a pork pie hat, got inked, and wore Ray-Bans on his fateful ride. Maybe not. But there’s no doubt that he was hip, and, by drinking cider, you’d not only be drinking a bit of history, but you, too, could bring out your inner hipster!

For more information on Hudson Valley Cider Week, visit

A list of Hudson Valley producers:
Aaron Burr Cider
Annadale Cindery
Applewood Winery
Bad Seed Hard Cider
Breezy Hill Orchard
Brookview Station Winery
Hudson-Chatham Winery
Kettleborough Cider House
Slyboro Cider House
Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery

Who was Johnny Appleseed?
John Chapman (September 26, 1774 – March 11, 1845), often called Johnny Appleseed, was an American pioneer nurseryman who introduced apple trees to large parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, including the northern counties of present day West Virginia. He became an American legend while still alive, due to his kind, generous ways, his leadership in conservation, and the symbolic importance he attributed to apples.

Apple Cider Drinks:
Hudson Valley Cider Kir Royale
• Hudson Valley cassis
• Hudson valley cider
Fill champagne flute with cider, and add splash of cassis. Garnish with blueberries.

Snake Bite
• 1/2 pint lager
• 1/2 pint hard cider
Add beer, then cider. Garnish with a slice of orange.

Stone Fence
• 2 ounces gold rum
• 6 ounces hard cider
Fill pint glass with ice. Fill with cider. Add rum. Stir lightly and serve. Garnish? Apple slice!

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Fall In Love With Hudson Valley Wine 2013 Continues!!!!!! Week 3 September 20-22!!!

14 more events this weekend!!! Another series of amazing events!!! We have grape stomping at several wineries, wine & cheese parings, and much more!!! There's music, wine tastings, food, fun, and laughter!!! C'mon, Fall in Love With Hudson Valley Wine!!!
Sept 20 – Al Westphal – 7:00-10:00pm   PALAIA VINEYARDS

Sept 21 & 22  12-5 PM Artisanal Hudson Valley Cheese & Wine Tasting  WHITECLIFF VINEYARD

Sept 21 & 22  Grape Stomping BROTHERHOOD WINERY

Sept 21 Marc Von Em music BASHAKILL VINEYARDS

Sept 21 Golden Oldies Car Show sponsored by Combined Insurance BROOKVIEW STATION

Sept 21 – HARVEST FESTIVAL and grape stomp! – 10:00-5:00pm  PALAIA VINEYARDS


Sept 21 2nd Annual Fundraiser for DCSPCA 11am-6pm ROBIBERO VINEYARDS

Sept 21 Straight Shot – Rock n Roll WARWICK VALLEY WINERY

Sept 22 Uncle ShoeHorn – Acoustic/Folk/Americana WARWICK VALLEY WINERY

Sept 22 The Blue in Green Jazz Quartet ROBIBERO VINEYARDS

Sept 22 – Joe Frazita – 2:30-5:30pm PALAIA VINEYARDS

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Glens Falls Post-Star Highlights Harvest Season in Upper Hudson Valley

First time for everything: Across region, wineries begin grape harvest

 VictoryViewVineyards 1.jpg

Blue skies greet pickers at Victory View Vineyards during the vineyard's grape harvest in Easton Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. (Ashleigh Abreu - Special to The Post-Star)

Oct 18, 2013    SCOTT DONNELLY --

 VictoryViewVineyards 3.jpg
Victory View Vineyard harvest
The region’s growing winery industry has brought a relatively new crop to the fields of Warren, Washington and Saratoga counties.

An area better known for apples, corn and pumpkins is fast becoming a grape producer, with new wineries adding more vines each year. It’s a trend enabled by science, and Gerry Barnhart, co-owner of Victory View Vineyard, is among the first in the region to go “all-in” on a bet the region can grow all the grapes needed to support a winery.

“I would expect we’ll get somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 tons of grapes this year,” Barnhart said late last week, as he was getting set for a weekend of harvesting at his winery on state Route 40 in Easton.

While machines can be bought to harvest grapes, Victory View Vineyard’s grapes are hand-harvested, Barnhart said. Friends, family and neighbors help with the effort.

“At the end of the harvest day, we put on a big meal and try to make it not just a work session, but a good social event,” Barnhart said.

The work requires pickers to move up and down both sides of the rows of vines, carefully removing grapes and putting them in picking lugs, which hold about 30 pounds of grapes each.

A tractor towing a cart full of lugs takes the grapes to machines that crush them and remove the stems. That starts a process that will result in several varieties of bottled wine next year, Barnhart said.

This year’s harvest is coming later than last year’s, he said.

“Last year, we had just a phenomenal growing season and were able to harvest just about perfectly ripe grapes the first week in September,” Barnhart said. “If you look at long-term averages, this year is probably closer to normal.”

When it comes to grapes for making wine, sugar content and acidity are the hallmarks of a good crop. Barnhart said both are coming along well, despite a season marked by strange weather.

Rainy weather, like that experienced throughout the area in June, is a bigger concern later in the grape-growing season.

“In 2011, we had tropical storms Irene (August) and Lee (September) come through, and that was pretty devastating on our harvest,” Barnhart said. “Grapes are like tomatoes, in that they’ll soak up so much water they’ll break open. This year, I think it’s going to be a very good year.”

June’s wet weather did hurt at least one local winery.

Ken Denberg, owner of Natural Selection Farm Winery in Cambridge, said June’s rain kept him from protecting his vines from black rot, a fungal disease.

“I was not able to keep up with my spray program,” Denberg said. “And the Marquette variety ... seems to be susceptible to just about everything in the world that you don’t want.”

The Marquette grape, created by the University of Minnesota to be cold-weather resistant, makes up about half the Natural Selection vineyard, Denberg said. Other varieties did better, although he likely suffered a 50 to 60 percent crop loss this year.

The rest of his vines produced very well, and Denberg said he expects some good wines to result. Natural Selection opened three years ago, and its vines range in age from two to four years.

The Marquette grapes did better at Victory View, although fungal disease management took a lot of effort because of the weather, Barnhart said. His winery also has LaCrescent, Frontenac, Lacrosse and Marechal Foch grape vines, all of which were bred in laboratories to be cold-resistant.

For Tony Oliva, owner of Oliva Vineyards on Route 4 south of Fort Edward, the bigger issue was a Memorial Day weekend frost that destroyed the vulnerable blossoms over much of his three-acre vineyard.

“We were anticipating our best crop this year, and then we had the frost, and it basically killed everything,” Oliva said.

Though Oliva Vineyards is not an estate vineyard — the business buys crushed grapes from growers in the Finger Lakes region — Oliva said he has plans to expand.

“Our goal was always going to be 10 acres,” he said. “That is still our plan.”

Jim Tresize, president of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, said it’s common to see large differences in grape crops over small areas. Though the “Minnesota varieties,” as they’ve come to be called, are proving viable from the Thousand Islands region to Lake Champlain, the impact of smaller weather events can be profound.

For example, in the Finger Lakes region, the lakes create a microclimate on the hills above the water that’s suitable for many grape varieties.

“A lot of times, even within a region like the Finger Lakes, the grape harvest can vary from lake to lake,” Tresize said.

The traditional grape harvest happens from early September to early October, depending on the variety. And from here on out, dry, sunny days are what wineries need, Tresize said.

Sunshine now helps sugars in the fruit concentrate and avoids problems like grapes bursting because of too much rain.

Statewide, Tresize said he has heard varying reports about this year’s harvest, although generally, it appears to be a good one.

“The next month is going to be the key,” he said.

At Victory View, the region’s only operating estate winery — meaning all its wine comes from grapes grown at the vineyard — Barnhart expects to begin bottling wine from this year’s crop in the late spring or early summer.

The winery’s first vintage, available now, was the product of an acre of grapes of different varieties harvested a year ago. Barnhart is looking to a bigger crop in coming years, after another 180 vines of Frontenac were planted in May.

Victory View, Natural Selection and Oliva are among the wineries that make up the Upper Hudson Valley Wine Trail. More information is available at

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Christopher E. Matthews Lauds Hudson Valley Wines at Recent Wine Competition 2013

kathryn & chris
The following post was taken from Upstate-Downtown by Christopher E. Matthews. Matthews has always been one of my favorite bloggers. He's objective, fair, and I like his sensibilities a lot! I find myelf reading him as much as possible. He was a judge at the recent HV Wine Competition 2013, and he blogged about his thoughts on the Hudson Valley wine scene. I've highlighted a couple of sentences within the text. THESE ARE MY HIGHLIGHTS,NOT THE AUTHOR'S. Although, they are the author's words and thoughts. A great piece, and I thoroughly suggest you read Upstate-Downtown, a fabulous blog written by two absolute pros in the food and journalism world. One of the better HV blogs! Thanks, Christopher!
- C. DeVito, Editor
Gold Galore at 2013 Hudson Valley Wine & Spirits Competition
Posted on September 13, 2013  by upstatedowntown   
By Christopher Matthews
Last weekend I had the honor once again to be a judge at the Hudson Valley Wine and Spirits Competition. The tasting started early on a gorgeous September morning at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds, where the golden sunshine outside was matched by the copious gold medals awarded in the 2013 competition.
This year’s contest featured more wineries, more entries and, proportionally, much more Gold and Double Gold winners than in recent years. In fact, over 35% of the 2013 medal winners were either Double Gold (15%, and certainly a record number) or Gold (20.5%), compared with 19% in 2012 — a welcome sign that the quality of wine-making in the Hudson Valley is on the rise.
That was also my own impression from the wines tasted in my panel, as well as from fellow judges at this year’s competition. “I found that there were a lot of wines I would like to take home with me,” said one of my panelists. High praise, indeed! Apparently, local efforts via the Hudson Valley Wine and Grape Association to raise the region’s wine quality, including rigorous peer review of wines (aiming to identify faults) before they are released, are paying off. And a better vintage in 2012 across New York State, compared with the 2011 “Irene” vintage, probably didn’t hurt either. (Many Hudson Valley wineries source fruit from other New York regions; demand for local grapes exceeds supply.)
While the number of Gold (and Silver!) medals was a surprise, the winner of the Best Overall Hudson Valley Wine (made with Hudson Valley fruit) was not: Millbrook Vineyards & Winery, for its 2012 Tocai Friulano Proprietor’s Special Reserve.
 Millbrook's winning 2012 Tocai Friulano
Millbrook's winning 2012 Tocai Friulano
Undoubtedly the Hudson Valley’s flagship winery, Millbrook also won Winery of the Year for the second year in a row. But this time, there was plenty of competition nipping at its heels, in particular from Hudson-Chatham Winery, which won three Double Gold’s (and nine medals in total), including its stellar 2010 Merlot Reserve, the winner of Best in Show and Best in Category – Red Wine; and its Bannerman’s Castle Amber Cream, which earned Best Dessert Wine.
 Hudson-Chatham at the Hudson Valley Wine and Food Fest
Hudson-Chatham at the Hudson Valley Wine and Food Fest
Brotherhood “America’s Oldest” Winery showed well overall, too, winning Best Sparkling for its B-Sparkling (NV), and Best in Category – White Wine for its 2012 Riesling. The runner-up to the Brotherhood Riesling (in a razor-thin vote) was Benmarl Winery’s knockout 2012 Semi-Dry Riesling, a Double Gold winner from my panel (made from Finger Lakes fruit), with pretty stone fruit on the nose and palate, and great length.
Riesling has the potential to do well in the Hudson Valley’s challenging (and chilly) climate, so it’s heartening that the two top whites in the contest were Riesling varietals, even if they weren’t produced with Hudson Valley fruit. And more local plantings of Riesling will be coming on stream in the near future, including from Millbrook.
The Hudson Valley’s spirits sector is growing leaps and bounds, leveraging off the fine local fruits and grains of the region, from farm to still. And Hudson Whiskey’s Manhattan Rye, the only other Double Gold winner out of my panel, was the overwhelming choice for Best Spirit — intense and complex, with notes of vanilla, spice and dried fruit.
Hudson Whiskey's Manhattan Rye
Hudson Whiskey's Manhattan Rye
Speaking of local produce, the Hudson Valley has some excellent fruit wine producers, none better than Baldwin Vineyards, which won Best Fruit Wine for its “Trilogy”, made from 100% red raspberries.
A big thanks to Debbie Gioquindo and her band of stalwart volunteers for organizing the contest and tastings.
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Monday, September 16, 2013

YNN Announces Baldwin and Old Chatham Win NY State Fair Wine & Cheese Pairing 2013!

Surprising pair wins wine and cheese competition               
NEW YORK STATE FAIR -- Fairgoers got a taste of what New York State has to offer when it comes to wine and cheese.

A competition for the best pairing of the two items was held on Saturday at the Chevy Court pavilion. The first place prize went to Baldwin Vineyards for their Strawberry Wine paired with the Old Chatham Sheepherding Company's Camembert cheese.

The New York Wine and Grape Foundation President said he was surprised by the winning combination, but not because of its excellent taste.

"Fruit wines generally don't pair well with cheeses, or with other foods for that matter. But the Camembert Cheese from Old Chatham, also from the Hudson Valley, was just perfect. And we finally got to that match and it was a match made in heaven. It was unbelievable," said Jim Trezise, New York Wine and Grape Foundation President.

Congrats to the folks at Baldwin Vineyards!!!!

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Newest Issue of Hudson Valley Wine magazine is out now!!!

The new issue of Hudson Valley Wine magazine has hit the tasting rooms and liquors stores and restaurants of the Hudson Valley.
HUDSON VALLEY WINE magazine is an oversized, full-color publication that promotes the wines and wineries of the Hudson Valley region – home to almost 30 wineries and the oldest largest wine-producing region in the nation. It is distributed twice a year, free of charge, and best of all it is printed on 100% recycled paper made right here, in the Hudson Valley.

Publishers Bob and Linda's goal is to connect consumers to this world of locally-crafted wine, by offering an insider’s view to the people and the stories behind the wines and to encourage visits to the wineries. They are committed to promoting agri-tourism, environmental sustainability, and to supporting local business enterprises and the arts communities.

HUDSON VALLEY WINE magazine is the first of its kind in the region – one that offers useful, reliable, authoritative, timely, and interesting information for people to learn about what makes the Hudson Valley wine-producing region unique. It is the ultimate resource guide for wine enthusiasts looking to explore the wines and wineries of the historic Hudson Valley.

Great new issue!!!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Barrel Samples from Glorie Farm Winery - Amazing!

So I was at Glorie Farm Winery the other day when Doug Glorie asked me if I wanted to try a barrel sample of a couple of his reds. I of course gave an enthusiastic, "Yes!"

The first one I tried was the 2012 Marquette Estate. The nose was a bog bowl of blueberry cobbler! Absolutely gorgeous! A big, jammy wine with nice acidity and balance. Great structure. A very, very good wine. Rhone-ish in it's inspiration. One of the best Marquettes I have tried.

The second was the Cabernet Franc 2012 Estate. This was another classic. Glorie has an excellent history with Cabernet Franc. Their last few years have been an upward trajectory, with quality and taste just going up, up, up. Some wineries have a knack for certain fruits. Glorie has been doing something right with Cab Franc for a while. This new Cab Franc was a step-up even for them. This is a very, very Burgundian Cabernet Franc, with a bright red/cherry color, cherry and raspberry note, with hints of graphite, and vanilla. Beautiful, bright fruit up front and lovely acidity and tannnins make this a classic, well balanced light-to-medium bodies wine. Fantastic!!!

Doug has always considered himself a grower first. I have to say, this year he has some of the most beautiful fruit I have ever scene. Over the last two or three years, Doug and his staff have changed the way they grow their grapes. And it has made a huge, huge difference, and for some fantastic fruit! 

Congrats to Doug and the staff for growing great fruit. And to Kristop Brown, the winemaker, for two spectacular reds I can't wait to see bottled!!!