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.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Times Union: Capital Region Wineries Grow

Grape Expectations
It's not easy going, but Capital Region gains wineries
How difficult is it to operate a vineyard in the Capital Region?
Very, says Joe Messina, who lost 85 percent of the grape crop at Amici Vineyard in Valley Falls during last summer's tropical storms.   

"This year," he said last week, "is looking better. Thank god we had a storm last night. The drought is definitely having a serious amount of stress" on his vineyard.
Such is the life of Capital Region vintners.

Yet, new wineries are opening, some with their own vineyards, and while the Capital Region isn't yet wine country, it does have nearly a dozen active wineries, where you can find a range of reds and whites.
The newest is Capoccia Vineyards & Winery on Balltown Road in Niskayuna, where Justin Capoccia, one of the owner's sons, says they've planted an acre of land with 340 vines.

They produced about 7,500 bottles from last year's grape harvest, Justin said. It was he who first encouraged the rest of the family, which has long made its own wine, to do it commercially.
The Capoccias offer wines ranging from cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc to chardonnay.

While the Capital Region's wineries are relatively small, the industry in New York state last year had sales of nearly $4 billion, according to figures from the New York Farm Bureau.
Bureau spokesman Steve Ammerman said the state has about 300 wineries, a number that's growing quickly.

"We had more new wineries in the past five years — 118 — than in the two decades prior," he said.
Johnston's Winery in Galway grows blueberries and raspberries that go into some of its wines, but depends on vineyards in the Finger Lakes and California for its grapes, said owner Kurt Johnston.

"It's too cold to grow the vinifera grapes," he said. "We can get to minus-30 degrees in the winter."
While Johnston produces about 2,000 gallons — or 10,000 bottles — of wine a year, he augments his business by selling equipment to people who make their own wines.

The Saratoga Winery & Tasting Room, on Route 29 west of Saratoga Springs, buys its grapes from vineyards in the Finger Lakes.
Demand has been growing about 25 percent each year, said Kelsey Whalen, the winery's manager, and the winery now produces about 2,000 cases annually.

With relatively small production, availability of Capital Region wines can be quite limited.
Some wines are available only from the winery, while others can be bought in local liquor stores or ordered at some local restaurants.

Recent legislation signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo also allows the state's so-called farm wineries, farm distillers and farm brewers to sell each other's products. The "farm" refers to the raw materials, such as hops, grapes, berries, corn, or grain being grown within New York state.
"It's good for consumers," said Jim Tresize, president of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation. "They can do one-stop shopping for New York products."

While some consumers may clamor for more availability of local wines, perhaps allowing them to be sold in supermarkets, "the best sale a winery can make is right at its winery," Tresize said. "It keeps 100 percent" of the sale price.
Wineries typically discount their wine prices by a third when they sell them to restaurants or liquor stores, while selling them through a wholesaler means a discount of half the price, Tresize said.

And while wineries have mixed opinions about whether supermarkets should be allowed to sell wine — the New York Wine and Grape Foundation doesn't take a position — Messina of Amici Vineyard is strongly opposed.
"If wine goes in supermarkets, it will not be New York state wine," he says. He believes big-box stores and supermarket chains will be more likely to stock wines from Australia or South America.

"We can't make wine as inexpensively as they can in South America," he said, and thinks small wineries will be better served by retail liquor stores, calling them "the last vestige of independent business in America." • 518-454-5323

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