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, March 30, 2014

Thoughts on Steven Kolpan's Call for a Signature Grape in The Valley Table

Steven C. Kolpan is a professor of wine studies at the Cuinary Institute of America.  He holds the The Charmer Sunbelt Group Endowed Chair in Wine and Spirits. Like Kevin Zraly before him, Mr. Kolpan began his life in wine as the sommelier and Maître d'hôtel at Depuy Canal House, which was one of the two or three hottest restaurants outside NYC for many years. He writes regularly on wine and art for, The Valley Table, Wine from Spain News: International Cookbook Revue; The National Culinary Review, The Daily Freeman, Up River/Down River, The Woodstock Times, among many.
And his writing has won numerous awards including awards from Wine & Spirts, a James Beard Award, the Georges Duboeuf Wine Book of the Yea and many other. And of course, he is the author of several highly acclaimed and successful books, such as Exploring Wine: The Culinary Institute of America's Complete Guide to Wines of the World, WineWise, Italian Cooking at Home and A Sense of Place: An Intimate Portrait of the Niebaum-Coppola Winery and the Napa Valley

I should also point out that Exploring Wine is one of the best selling wine books of all time. It is without question, the mostly high adopted book used by wine professors throughout North America and has sold in the hundreds of thousands of copies through three editions. It is a massive tome, that is easily a reference for the popular reader as well.


The reason I am going on about Steven is because while the Hudson Valley is rich with wine writers (and there are a great many of them - thankfully!!!) undoubtedly Steven and Kevin Zraly stand tallest among the crowd as of this writing (I apologize if I am missing someone...I haven't had my morning cup-o-joe yet). Of all the major wine writers in the US, Steven has been the most active in the Hudson Valley and deserves kudos for it! He deserves immense gratitude from the winemakers of the Hudson Valley! I am a huge fan!

More than any other major wine writer, Steven ha tasted more Hudson Valley wines, followed our industry with great care, visited the tasting rooms, promoted the successful wines on air on WAMC, and has judged at numerous events. And he backs up his reviews. The Culinary Institute carries a dozen Hudson Valley wines on their wine list. And the credit needs to go to Steven.

Steven is a lovely man. He is friendly, has a dry sense of humor, and takes wine and food seriously. I have lunched with him several times, and see him often at wine tastings in the valley as well as major portfolio tastings in New York City.

Recently, in the March-May issue of The Valley Table, Steven published an article, "Should the Hudson Valley Adopt a Signature Grape?" Steven, as can be expected, handled the question with great care and diplomacy. But ultimately, he came down on the side of YES. He's not the first to talk or write about this question here in the valley. But his is certainly among the voices, due to experience an accomplishment, that should be heeded most.

He pointed out that some world class wines are already being made in the Hudson Valley. And throughout the article recommended wineries up and down the valley worth trying and drinking. But he also pointed out that the Finger Lakes have claimed Riesling, and that Long Island has Merlot, and that the Hudson Valley has not yet adopted a single grape in a more forceful way.

Steven rightly points out that Seyval Blanc is definitely the most widely planted white, but that there are plantings of Riesling and Chardonnay. On the red side Cab Franc, Pinto Noir, and Baco Noir seem also to be planted in equal amounts. He suggests we pick a grape and rally around something, preferably vinifera.

I think Steven Kolpan is absolutely right. I took a long way coming to it. But I have my own version of how it should be. Firstly, with whites, there is no question that Chardonnay and Riesling plantings are on the upswing. And four or five years form now, both will be staples on most quality wine lists. On the red side, Pinot plantings are on the rise, as are Cab Franc plantings. It is starting to happen already. And as a winemaker, and valley blogger, I have every intention of pushing those new wines as they come online.

I have three caveats though. First is, I think that any region also needs the diversity we have, and that we shouldn't be ripping out anything in particular. We shouldn't make Cab Franc the star to the exclusion of other grapes (which Mr. Kolpan does not advocate in his article). I think diversity in any US wine region remains a driving force. But we should ADD to our plantings. There's not enough fruit in the Hudson Valley to fulfill the current demand. I love Pinot Noir, but it is finicky and grows better from the mid-Hudson on down. It's harder for northern climate vineyards. Cab Franc seems to be the future of the Hudson Valley, and I am happy for it. But I also see a Hudson Valley that continues to push Pinot Noir and Baco Noir.....and here's why.

The Hudson Valley is making some of the best reds in New York state. Our current Cab Francs, Pinot Noirs, and Baco Noirs are fabulous Burgundy-styled reds on the east coast. We are making soft, approachable, medium bodied reds like no one else, and at prices few can match (we're probably underpricing our wines). We make great wines. But adding to that reputation by making more good red will absolutely help get the message out. We are uniquely situated, by geography, to make these wines, and excel at them. Mr. Kolpan rightly points all this out.

My second caveat is this, let's try not to make big California/West Coast Cab Franc, but to make lighter, Loire-ish styled Cab Francs, that are more like Pinot Noirs than Cabernet Sauvignons. Up and down the east coast I am disappointed with Cab Franc varietals that are soaked and soaked, trying to get deep color and richness of flavor. The problem is that most of these wines would have been much better being pressed and made lightly, so as not to pick up many of the off flavors Cab Franc can often give off, especially if any of the fruit is not as ripe as it might have been in a warmer climate. This would be the best of all possible worlds. Bright cherry, spice, hints of vanilla - good. Herbaceous-ness, green bell pepper - bad.

My third and last thought is that every winery in the valley should be making one good solid blend. Blends were originally made in cool climate regions to cover up the holes of individual wines. Some wines produce great fruit but lack finish. Or have great fruit up front, a nice finish but no middle. The concept was to blend two or three wines to make a much more classic, well balanced, elegant wine. I think this kind of treatment continues to be the salvation of other eastcoast wine regions like Virginia, and Maryland, where the trend has been incredibly successful.

I hope these caveats don't seem pissy. As an editor, blogger, and winemaker, I have thought often of this question, and it has been a sore subject since I arrived in the valley, as agreement and knowledge did not allow us to make these things happen. I believe that the valley has improved its winemaking knowledge and it's vineyard keeping knowledge. And that now is the time to move forward in a big way. I think the valley is ready!

I urge all Hudson Valley winemakers to read Mr. Kolpan's article if they haven't already. I suggest we rally around his suggestion of Cabernet Franc (and Pinot Noir) and move forward with our Loire-ish/Burgundy message of beautiful, well-balanced, soft approachable reds.

Most of all I want to thank Mr. Kolpan for his continued support and advice. I have spoken with many valley winemakers, and all have remarked on this note. I think his is an important voice, both nationally as well and regionally, and we not only welcome his involvement, but would love to include him more often. That's not just from me - that from the whole winemaking community in the valley!

Here's a direct link to the piece:

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Hudson Valley Farm Beverage Producers Show at 5th Annual Benedictine Health Foundation Sample, Sip & Savor

Sample Sip & Savor
The BENEDICTINE HEALTH FOUNDATION’S 5th Annual Sample Sip & Savor this past Friday, March 28, 2014, 5:30pm until 8:30pm was a great success, and several Hudson Valley Farm Beverage businesses were proud to support it. The event was hosted by Scott Dutton Associates, Architects, 15 Canfield Street, Kingston, NY. The event featured local wines, spirits and brews with hors d’oeuvres and desserts from local restaurants to support a local cause: The Rosemary D. Gruner Memorial Cancer Fund and the Oncology Support Program at HealthAlliance.

There was also a live jazz performance by The Peter Einhorn Group


These were the Hudson Valley wines, beers, and spirits businesses who attended:
A great time was had by all! The drinks were amazing, the food incredible, and the band was great! Super time!
The History of 15 Canfield Street
Everett & Treadwell Company, established in 1869, was a valuable wholesale trade company in Kingston dealing in flour, grain, and provisions, In 1891, they erected a four story brick commodities warehouse on Broadway where they operated a mill with a capacity of 40,000 bushels of grain. It was one of the largest and most important houses of its kind in the Hudson Valley. The building later became well-known as Canfield Plumbing Supply.

Scott Dutton Associates, Architect, bought the historic Everett and Treadwell building from the Shultz family in February 2000. Since the initial purchase, they have been in an almost continual state of renovation. Scott and his wife, Terese, have 5,000 sq, ft. loft on the top two floors, and the remainder of the building is occupied by their firm, The Devereux Foundation, Keeplan Winter Sports & Ken Perkins, Master Picture/Artwork Framer.

Got to go again next year!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Hudson Valley Hops at Albany Institute of Art April 12, 2014 4-7PM

Times Hopping and the Albany Institute of History & Art Present:
Hudson Valley Hops 2014

Come join the third annual Hudson Valley Hops, a celebration of the history of brewing in Albany and today's craft beer industry in the Hudson Valley. There will be an exhibition of historic local brewery artifacts, a series of talks by beer historians and brewery experts, local craft beers, good food, and a commemorative glass for participants.
$25/Albany Institute members; $30/general public
Please call (518) 463-4478 for more information.
Breweries include:
  • Adirondack Brewery
  • Brown's Brewing Company
  • Chatham Brewing LLC
  • C.H. Evans Brewing
  • Druthers
  • Old Saratoga Brewing Company
  • Ommegang Brewery
Sponsors include:
  • The Ginger Man
  • Hilton Albany
  • The Hollow
  • Lionheart Pub
  • Mazzone Hospitality
  • The Restaurants at the Desmond
  • Spectrum Theatres
  • Times Union
  • Washington Tavern

Hudson Valley Mercantile Highlights Hudson Valley Distillers

The March 2014 issue of Hudson Valley Mercantile featured the newest distillery in the Hudson Valley this month with a great cover shot and a super feature story. Very excited about this newest kid on the block. Going down there this weekend to see for myself!! Great article, enjoy!

Lettie Teague Profiles Hudson-Chatham Winery Owner in Wall Street Journal

Carlo DeVito in the tasting room at his Hudson-Chatham Winery
 in Ghent, N.Y Richard Beaven for The Wall Street Journal
Uncorking the City: Wine and Books
Lettie Teague Talks Both With Carlo DeVito
It's a brave man who chooses a life in the wine business. Or the book business, for that matter. Carlo DeVito is clearly more courageous than many, as he has actually chosen to pursue both.
The 51-year-old Mr. DeVito recently stepped down as editorial director and vice president at Sterling Publishing in New York to start his own imprint (Warren Street Books) and to work with three others (Cider Mill Press, Quarto USA and Burgess Lee) while overseeing his winery, Hudson-Chatham in Ghent, N.Y. "The commute was killing me," explained Mr. DeVito, who was traveling more than five hours a day between his home in Columbia County and New York.
While the wine business is a relatively recent venture, Mr. DeVito has enjoyed a long and prestigious publishing career. He's worked at top houses like Simon & Schuster, Penguin and Running Press and published a wide variety of titles, though he has a particular affinity for books on wine, spirits, cider and beer.
Mr. DeVito has published many such titles over the years (60 to 70, by his own estimate). Perhaps his most famous—and certainly his most successful by far—title was "Kevin Zraly's Windows on the World Complete Wine Course," which has sold millions of copies over the years. (In an email, Mr. DeVito called it "The Joy of Cooking" for wine.)
"There is Kevin and there is everyone else," said Mr. DeVito over a recent lunch in Midtown Manhattan. Mr. DeVito had nothing but praise for the charismatic Mr. Zraly, who he said managed to make the complex subject of wine approachable and fun in a way that has yet to be fully equaled by anyone. The only books that even "come close" to Mr. Zraly's work, said Mr. DeVito, are "The Wine Bible," by Karen MacNeil, and the "Wine for Dummies" books by Ed McCarthy and Mary Ewing-Mulligan.
These are three of the most successful wine books for "beginners," according to Mr. DeVito. It's a category that's quite popular among authors and publishers, but that is also incredibly competitive. As Mr. DeVito said: "Very few beginners' books do well."
And yet book stores seem to have more beginners' wine books than anything else. Clearly, publishers keep churning them out. Why so? "I guess you keep thinking you're going to find the next new wine name," said Mr. DeVito with a laugh.
And "doing well" means some pretty modest numbers when it comes to wine books. A successful wine book sells around 20,000 copies, according to Mr. DeVito. "But you'd be surprised how many books fall below that number," he said.
Some of Carlo DeVito's wines Richard Beaven for The Wall Street Journal
Another even smaller number is the amount of money advanced to the authors—a figure that has only gotten lower over the years, said Mr. DeVito. What sort of an advance could a writer be expected to earn? As little as $15,000 or even $10,000? Or less, replied Mr. DeVito: "But authors tend to earn back their advances—and some of them even earn royalties too."
I asked him how the publishing world had changed since he started out (besides the advent of Amazon, of course). The distribution channels had certainly changed, replied Mr. DeVito. Even the significant book stores had changed. The most important stores 20 years ago—B. Dalton and Walden—are all but forgotten. Barnes & Noble was less important back then.
What is the real impact of Amazon? Is it really the behemoth that everyone believes it to be? Not entirely, said Mr. DeVito. "There are a lot of mom-and-pop stores, gift shops, small book shops. We've had several gift shops that led with some titles—and with wine books, it's the book stores that lead the charge." Publishers need to have penetration in all such "channels."
As for wine books today, Mr. DeVito sees increased interest in "hyper-local" wine books—books on the wines of Virginia for that state's wine drinkers or Texas wines for Lone Star readers. He could even imagine producing a book on Michigan wine. Mr. DeVito cited "Summer in a Glass," a book by Evan Dawson that focused on the wines of the Finger Lakes, as an example of a hyper-local book that did very well.
There is also a demand for wine books that address an "intermediate to expert audience," according to Mr. DeVito. He cited a reference book on Burgundy that sold quite well despite a hefty price tag. "There is a big audience of wine geeks out there," he said.
The younger generation of wine drinkers (and readers) pose a particular challenge: "They're more focused on the Internet than books and magazines," said Mr. DeVito. They also eschew words like "gourmet." (Actually, Mr. DeVito made the point a bit more bluntly, saying: "The word 'gourmet' is dead—just like the magazine.") Young wine drinkers are interested in "farm-to-table" and local wines, he said.
As the co-owner (with his wife Dominique) of a 3,000-case winery whose wines have earned a loyal following and won favorable reviews, Mr. DeVito has a particularly informed perspective on these locavore drinkers—many of whom are visitors to his winery. They're drawn to Columbia County not just by the wine but the food, said Mr. DeVito. The region is rich in artisanal products—including some of the top cheese makers in New York state. It's a wonderful community, if a sometimes arduous life.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Hudson Berkshire Beverage Trail Pasta Event April 26, 2014

Hudson Berkshire Beverage Trail Pasta Event
Saturday, April 26, 2014

Saturday, April 26, 2014, you can do special tastings of the wonderful hand-crafted wines, beers, and spirits made by the venues on the Hudson Berkshire Beverage Trail for the special price of $20 ($5 for designated drivers). Purchase a Trail passport at the first location you visit, and bring it along as you “ramble” the Trail. Each venue will conduct a special tasting for passport carriers, and will feature a special pasta dish to go with it. Trail members are: Hudson-Chatham Winery, Chatham Brewing, Harvest Spirits Distillery, and Brookview Station Winery in New York, and Furnace Brook Winery in Massachusetts.

Passport Members get:
complimentary free tasting flights of wine, beers, and spirits at all locations on the specified date
free pasta samplings

This is a great value! Passports will be available for $20 on the day of the event at each participating venue!

Special Designated Driver Passport: $5 with complimentary pasta! 

Hudson Berkshire Wine & Food Festival May 24-25, 2014

Save the date: May 24-25, 2014
Columbia County Fairgrounds, Chatham NY
The 2nd Annual Wine and Food Festival will feature the five beverage trail members plus other regional wineries, distilleries, cideries and craft breweries. Sat., 11am-6pm / Sun. 11am-5pm.
There will also be delicious foods for sale and sampling including gourmet cheeses and creameries, baked goods, grass fed meat producers and more! Throughout the weekend there will be special guest appearances and book signings, seminars of wine and food pairings, home brewing, and cheese making by some of the region’s foremost experts.
Tasting Ticket
Includes admission, souvenir tasting glass and all the wine, beer and spirits you care to taste for one price.

One Day Tasting – $25.00
Click on "Purchase Tickets" tab to buy online.s.
The Hudson-Berkshire Beverage Trail is the premiere beverage trail in New York State and the Hudson Valley. The trail extends from Southeast of Albany down to Hudson, New York and features handcrafted, award-winning and celebrated wines, beers, and spirits.
Pictures from last year's event...
Josephine Proul from Local 11
It's the only event in the Hudson Valley that features artisanal foods, wines, beers, spirits, and ciders from both the Hudson Valley and the Berkshires!


Fred LeBrun of the Albany Times-Union

The festival was a major success drawing thousands of people from as far away as Boston
and New York, as well as Connecticut and New Jersey, and was jammed packed despite soggy, torrential rains.




CIA Trained Chef Mike Castellano
Seminars were well attended with everything from cooking classes and demonstrations by local well known chefs, as well as beer and wine seminars. Speakers included Fed LeBrun, The World Wine Guys, and Chad Polenz.













Read the review from THE REGISTER STAR of the wine festival:








Tarot by Prudence



Festival Goers Sarah and Sal Robles


The World Wine Guys Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jensen of Wine Enthusiast, and a author of THE FIRE ISLAND COOK BOOK and THE COMPLETE WINES OF THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE.

Chad Polenz, of Chad's Beer Reviews and the Albany Times-Union