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

My Photo

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, April 28, 2014

Poughkeepsie Journal, Hudson Valley Wine Goddess Rave About Hudson-Chatham Winery


Beauty by the glass in Columbia County
Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from the Hudson Valley Wine Goddess blog written by Debbie Gioquindo of LaGrange. She is a certified specialist of wine and a wine location specialist in port and Champagne as designated by the Centers of Wine Origins. She also teaches classes on wine in the Hudson Valley. Visit her blog at
When I first met Carlo of Hudson-Chatham Winery he hadn’t even opened his winery. He was a year away from that. Since he’s opened it I usually make at least one if not more visits to see him and Dominique, and what they are up to.
What was once a small winery nestled in the town of Ghent, Columbia County, is growing like a wild vine.
Since it was a beautiful day we sat outside and had a glass of their rosé, or as Carlo calls it, his “orange wine.” It is made from seyval, geneva and concord grapes. The grapes were all pressed together.
Shortly after the rosé was poured we ended up walking over to the “Solera building,” which will house a maximum of 20 barrels for the purpose of making sherry. He is using the technique they use in Spain, maturing the wine using the solera system, where you gradually blend small amounts of young wines with the older stocks in such a way that it is assimilated by the older wine. It will then pick up the characteristic of the aged wine.
We then moved into their tank and barrel area. Lo and behold, they are entering into the cider realm. Ron Bixby is their new cider maker and he is from Little Apple Farm, a 5-acre, 100-year-old organic apple farm. They have made 150 cases of organic natural apple cider, which is fermented in the bottle like a Belgium ale.
The barrel room that use to house their wine, port and sherry, is now dedicated to only the red wine from the 2013 harvest. The port and sherry are over in the solera. Carlo said it’s going to be a good year, as it was a super vintage. And he’s excited!
They will be coming out this year with five Baco Noirs. They will have the Estate Baco, Reserve Baco from Casscels Vineyard, Middlehope Baco, which comes from 40-year-old vines, Old Vines Baco and the Fieldstone Baco. New to their portfolio is pinot noir and chardonnay from Peter Brengall’s Farm in Columbia County.
Also new is their Rivers Edge blend, which is a wacky hybrid blend of Berden and Chambourcin, but it tastes like a pinot noir, according to Carlo. It did have acidity like a pinot and a little raspberry on the profile.
In addition to the wine they are launching a food program complete with jams and drizzles. Look for a catalog soon or visit the food table they will have in addition to their wine table at many local wine festivals..
Carlo and Dominique are doing some wonderful things at their winery. If you are in the Hudson Valley for a day or weekend, they are a must stop and taste. Visit for more information.

“Best of the Blogs” features contents from bloggers at and does not reflect the views or opinion of the Poughkeepsie Journal. Questions or comments can be emailed to
About ‘Best of the Blogs’
“Best of the Blogs” is a feature you will find every Monday in Family/Life. The Poughkeepsie Journal hosts a variety of bloggers who write about such diverse topics as wine, food, special diets, financial aid, health, family and entertainment. Be sure to check them out online at
Read more at:

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Saratogian News: Upper Hudson Valley Fest a Big Success

Saratoga Springs City Center doors open on Taste of Upstate Wine, Food and Music Festival
 SARATOGA SPRINGS - On Saturday, visitors to the City Center could imagine themselves touring a unique wine region, with red and white wine, beer and even apple-pie moonshine to sample at the Taste of Upstate Wine, Food and Music Festival. To cleanse the palate, tasters could nibble on crackers, cheese, hot fudge and horseradish, as well as browse crafters’ stalls and discover carved wooden bowls and handmade soap.

“This fair has all my favorite things at the same time,” said visitor Lynn Bedeaux of Argyle. “Wine, cheese, chocolate, handbags and good friends.”

That’s just what the Upper Hudson Valley Wine Trail and Townsquare Lifestyle Events had planned for their first wine-tasting festival in the Spa City. The organizations partnered in what they hope will be an annual Taste of Upstate event, gathering 55 vendors — 17 wineries, two distilleries, two breweries and 27 others, including Saratoga Crackers and AC Wood. The fair also featured live music and art for sale.

“This was a mellow crowd compared with the Saratoga Beer Week gang,” said Nick Germano, live events manager for Townsquare Media and Townsquare Lifestyle Events. “No one broke down the barriers to get in, and we had many fewer broken sample glasses.”

Kathleen Weber, head of the Upper Hudson Valley Wine Trail’s Passport Committee and co-owner of Northern Star Vineyard, showed maps of the region’s vineyards and wineries, surrounded by supporting local businesses.

“We want to promote local wines and local businesses,” she said. “All these businesses are clustered around the wine trail.”

The Upper Hudson Valley Wine Trail, a group formed five years ago, as well as the region itself runs from Ballston to Lake George, taking in wineries in Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties. Currently, there are 12 member vineyards and wineries.

“Our wine trail is like a circle drawn around our places,” said Tara Nimmo, head of the Upper Hudson Valley Wine Trail’s Festival Committee and owner of Saratoga Winery. “We want the wine region to draw tourists. We promote and support one another — we can’t have oversaturation.”

Germano said, “We want to be Napa Valley, New York.”

Weber and her husband, Andy, began their Easton Northern Star Vineyard four years ago. Their Northern hardy grapes, grown from stocks, have now produced three red wines and three white: Marquette, Frontenac, St. Croix, La Crescent, La Cross and Prairie Star.

“I always wanted to have a farm,” Andy Weber said. “But pushing cows was too hard, so we started the vineyard.”

Weber said, “We can’t wait to open in August, after four years of work.”

Nimmo has been in business for 4-1/2 years. Her winery uses Seneca Lake grapes and produces a signature all-natural Melomel wine, made with local honey and fermented in a Kentucky bourbon barrel.

Red wines are a favorite of the Williams family from Philadelphia, in town to visit daughter Sarah and her boyfriend, Matt Monaco. Tom Williams and his wife, Sue, had planned on taking an actual local wine tour before learning about the festival. Tom Williams considered it one-stop shopping.

“This is our fourth adventure into wine tours,” he said.

Sue Williams enjoyed the Thirsty Owl offerings. Tom appreciated the variety of red wines.

“You could have a glass of Cabernet at every booth here, and they would all taste different,” he said. “If you had a glass of Pinot Grigio at every booth, they would all taste the same.”

He’d taken one or two glasses at every booth he’d visited so far. Sue, having had a bit less, refused to count the sips she’d had of his samples. Monaco had eight glasses, but said he wasn’t done yet.

Sarah Williams took the tasting laurels in her family: “I’ve had 10 to 15 sample glasses and a hot dog,” she said, smiling.

Read at:

A Taste of Upsate Photo Album 2014

The Upper Hudson Valley Wine Trail held a festival, the first of the season, in Saratoga, Easter Weekend to a great success! Many of the trail's members were there, as well as other wineries of the Capital region. There crowds were hot and heavy and the vendors were happy, many remarking they would return again next year. He's a small photo album of the event.










Friday, April 18, 2014

Steve Barnes, Albany Times-Union: Albany Distilling Wins National Awards

Albany Distilling wins awards for spirits
Posted on April 15, 2014
by Steve Barnes, senior writer
Albany Times-Union

The Albany Distilling Co. won received awards for its Ironweed Rye Whiskey and both the Quackenbush Still House Original Albany and Albany Amber rums. The judged competitions took place in March at the American Craft Distillers Association’s convention and trade show in Denver and the American Distilling Institute’s annual Craft Spirits Conference in Seattle. Ironweed Rye Whiskey earned a gold medal in the whiskey class from the ACDA and a bronze medal for rye whiskey less than two years old from the ADI. Quackenbush Still House Original Albany Rum and Albany Amber Rum both earned bronze medals from the ADI. Participants in both competitions came from across the United States. 

The new Albany Amber Rum is the aged version of Albany Distilling’s original white rum and is the company’s homage to the the Quackenbush Still House, Albany’s original 18th-century distillery. The rum is aged for a minimum of six months in used Ironweed Bourbon Whiskey barrels. Tasting notes from the distillery describe a taste of molasses “complemented by flavors of vanilla and spice imparted from the oak.”

Still House Albany Amber Rum is available in 750ml bottles for a suggested retail price of $42.99. Find it in better area restaurants and liquor stores. (Because it uses Caribbean molasses, the rum cannot be sold at the distillery.)
Read Steve's article at:

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Tousey The Mentor - One of the Best Dessert Wines on the East Coast

So, I was passing through Germantown a few weeks ago, while I was driving to see someone else, and decided to drop in to see what was going on at Tousey Winery. I hadn't been there in a bit, and I was curious. Ben and Kimberly Peacock, the owners, weren't there, but there was an incredibly polite and knowledgeable staffer behind the bar, who stood in quite well.
For those of you who don't know about Tousey, their winery began as a family-run enterprise (and still is today).  With Ray Tousey’s dream of turning beautiful family-owned grounds into a vineyard, the journey began.  Tousey is now run by Ben and Kimberly Peacock – Ray’s daughter, Kimberly, was the natural choice in overseeing the winery along with her husband Ben, whose wine knowledge and business know-how rounds out the team perfectly.  With Kimberly having lived in Denmark and Ben hailing from the U.K., we have a unique blend of European sensibility and Hudson Valley roots.
Even though they’re new, they have come a long way towards reaching their goal. Lenn Thompson, the Executive Editor of the New York Cork Report wrote this in January 2012:
“It’s hard not to consider Tousey Winery a major player in the resurgence of quality wine in Hudson Valley.”

And I would have to agree. Lots of lovely wines to try. But I was intrigued by something very new....

What was this new wine? The Mentor? Ah, ha! A new dessert wine. Tousey originally became known for its cassis, which is made with local honey, which is what Ray Tousey is still known for today. But then Mentor was a new step out - a port-styled dessert wine. I could not wait to try this.
This is not a traditional port, in the sense that, if your looking for a highly alcoholic grapey styled wine, you might be disappointed. But if you're up for trying something different, you might be in luck. This is more of a tawny port, but like nothing I have ever had. Big, beautiful, with a massive nose of toffee, caramel, cocoa, and dark fruits like cassis and fig and dates. It's thick and viscous. And you can chew on this wine for a good, long time. Fantastic! I was begging for a brownie and a dollop of vanilla ice cream and a warm fire as soon as it hit my palate. Or a small bowl of warm bread pudding?
If I had to, I would say this was some near a Pedro Ximénez-styled wine, with it's dark brown-ish/reddish coloring, with hint of raisins and molasses, and it's somewhat sherry like overtones. Exquisite! Deftly crafted. Strikingly beautiful! It became instantly, one of my favorite dessert wines made on the east coast.
It is another giant leap forward for a quality driven producer here in the valley. But isn't that what we've come to expect form Ben and Kimberly? You gotta try this stuff!

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Visiting Hudson Valley Distillers - And Adirondack Applejack

OK, so last Saturday, while everyone else was working hard, I went out to visit a few places. My primary stop was the first, which was to visit the newest craft distillery in the Hudson Valley, the appropriately named Hudson Valley Distillers, located in Clermont, NY! This meeting had been weeks in the planning, but the hilarious thing was I unexpectedly met them the night before at a fundraiser we were both attending in Kingston, where they were one of the absolute favorite booths.
This is a beautiful cut out on thick steel of their logo done for them as a gift from friends. The cut out will adorn the tastingroom. The whole sheet will also be used as it will also pass for an absolutely beautiful, unique sign. We al need more friends like this! Show's you the level these folks are aiming for though.
There are two couples that own this new establishment - Tom and Jennifer Yozzo and Chris and Jennifer Moyer. They are all long time friends. Tom and Chris had joked and talked about someday going into business together for many years. But when Tom retired from his law enforcement career in Newburgh, Chris was forced to put up or shut up. They told me the tory of how Chris was talking to Tom on the phone one day, traveling near Alexandria to and from his job. It took Chris an hour to get home on a 12 mile trek. Chris had had enough! Chris and Jennifer packed up their bags and moved to Clermont, NY.
"I'm retired," Tom joked. "Chris wishes he was."
My favorite thing about these folks right off the bat? They are genuine good people. Really nice and down to earth. They'll be great behind the bar or sitting down to dinner with. They make people feel welcome and at ease. That's a talent right there in and of itself.

According to Jennifer Brizzi, in the Hudson Valley Almanac Weekly, "The nine-acre farm that is the distillery’s home sits across Route 9 from Tousey Winery. On the site of the former nursery Thunderoc Farms, the renamed Spirits Grove Farm includes a farmhouse, outbuildings, four acres of apple orchards and a hundred-year-old sheep barn that the Yozzos and Moyers have been renovating since July to house the distillery and tasting area."


The place looks spectacular, though renovations were still on going as we spoke. The distillery plans on opening the week after Easter, so things are coming down to the wire. The tasting room needs to be finished, and they were painting the morning of my visit.

The photo below shows the view of the office across the upstairs catwalk/hallway. I took the photo from the founders' room, a special room set up just for the folks who helped found the new project. Were any founders there? Nope. But I did see a whole bunch plants....yep, they are going to be growing their own botanicals.  
Spirits Grove Farm was previously used as a nursery and came with a house, retail center, 100 year old barn, a four acre apple orchard, and four greenhouses. The apples will be used to make an apple based vodka and the greenhouses to grow botanicals and flavorings for their gin. Visitors will see every step of the spirits production process, growing grains and fruits, fermenting, distilling, and bottling. The barn is currently being renovated from the ground up to house the distillery and tasting room, with plans to expand the tasting room into the old nursery retail center in the future.
Currently, they have sugar cane (for small batch rum), hazelnut plants, mandarin, tangelo and yuzu (a kind of Asian citrus fruit for zest for distilling). How much do I love these guys?!

The still is an impressive one, and immediately demonstrates the goals of Hudson Valley Distillers. Already bottled and label is their new applejack, but the multiple columns tell you they have a lot more up their sleeve. Their goal is to make applejack, whiskey, gin, and vodka right off the bat. Other things like a bourbon or a grappa will probably be on the way.

Their still is beautiful and it is state of the art!

And of course I totally geeked out when they showed me they were doing wild fermentations for their cider for the applejack! I just absolutely loved that. These guys want to do everything from the ground up. They'll be growing fruits and botanicals on the surrounding acreage so that their potables will absolutely have a sense of place - of terroir!
This is an experiment, aging their applejack in chestnut instead of American oak. Too cool!

Applejack is a strong alcoholic beverage produced from apples, popular in the American colonial period. Applejack was historically made by concentrating cider, either by the traditional method of freeze distillation or by true evaporative distillation. The term "applejack" derives from "jacking", a term for freeze distillation. However, recent versions have normally been made using modern distillation. So it is with Adirondack Applejack from Hudson Valley distillers. It’s made with local apples.

"We buy our apples from Ken Migliorelli," Chris Moyer told me. Migilorelli Farm Stand is one of the biggest supplier of fruits and vegetables on the east side of the river, and of exceptional reputation. "The apples are grown and pressed right around the corner," Chris says. 

"The applejack is aged in 10 gallon American white oak barrels," Chris adds. "We distill it at a high proof, we think that makes it a little smoother while it is still young.  Kind of like the Irish talking about their whiskey, distilled three times so it is smooth."

This new distilled applejack has a beautiful nose of apples, toffee, and hints of vanilla and toast. A beautiful liquor with a nice upfront rush of apples with a nice, smooth finish. It’s medium-bodied with not too much burn. If you like lighter styled bourbons, this applejack will be right up your alley.


Chancellor Robert Livingston was an author of the Declaration of Independence, an entrepreneur that brought the steam ship to the Hudson River Valley, and the man that administered the oath of office to George Washington. He also once owned the land that we now call Spirits Grove Farm.     

OK, so now you want to buy some, but where to get it?! The folks at Hudson Valley Distillers’ products will be selling their product in local farmers markets in the valley. Of course, they will be opening their tastingroom soon. They'll be open every Fri, Sat, and Sun from 1 to 6 p.m. All other days are available with an appointment. 
Hudson Valley Distillers
1727 Route 9
Clermont, NY 12526
(518) 537-6820. 
They are getting tons of press....check it out....