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.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Hudson Valley Distillers Spirits Grove Fine Shine Applejack

Recently, I attended, along with a lot of other people, a great event at Hudson Valley Distillers Cocktail Grove Cocktail Lounge, an after hours mixer for the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce!! Lots of people there. Most amazingly, there was also the unveiling of a new product -Hudson Valley Distillers Spirits Grove Fine Shine Applejack.
Tom and Chris met at Bloomsburg University more than 20 years ago, and we've been talking for years about what kind of business they should start when Tom retired from his job as a police officer. Tom retired in January 2014, so they decided to stop talking and make it happen.

Tom and both their wives Jennifer and Jennifer, are gluten intolerant so beer was out. A winery seemed too capital intensive and the vines take too long to grow, so that was out. Consumer interest in locally sourced spirits and recent favorable legislation for farm distilleries in NY made a distillery the best choice. They decided to start a farm distillery, source as many ingredients as possible from our farm, and create unique, high quality distilled spirits.

In August 2012 Chris took a job where he could work from home and moved Jennifer and the boys from VA to NY. Tom retired in January and the goal was be operational in March 2014.  Their m
ission is to produce a line of unique distilled spirits from Hudson Valley ingredients. So far they have made Applejack and Vodka made from Hudson Valley apples
Cocktail Grove Cocktail lounge at Hudson Valley Distillers
Behind the bar they had fabulous help...including Jennifer, Chris's wife (right)
But at this particular event, they unleashed their newest spirit....Hudson Valley Distillers Spirits Grove Fine Shine Applejack. Essentially it's their version of Moonshine.
According to Wikipedia, "
Moonshine, white lightning, mountain dew, hooch, and white whiskey are terms used to describe high-proof distilled spirits that are generally produced illicitly. Moonshine is typically made with corn mash as the main ingredient. The word "moonshine" is believed to derive from the term "moonrakers" used for early English smugglers and the clandestine (i.e., by the light of the moon) nature of the operations of illegal Appalachian distillers who produced and distributed whiskey. The distillation was done at night to avoid discovery.

Moonshine was especially important to the Appalachian area. This white whiskey most likely entered the Appalachian region in the late 1700s to early 1800s. Scots-Irish immigrants from the Ulster region of Northern Ireland brought their recipe for their uisce beatha, Gaelic for "water of life". The settlers made their whiskey without aging it, and this is the same recipe that became traditional in the Appalachian area.

Years after these initial settlers, moonshine served as a source of income for many Appalachian residents. In early 20th century Cocke County, Tennessee, farmers made moonshine from their own corn crop in order to transport more value in a smaller load. Moonshine allowed them to bring in additional income while at the same time cutting down on transportation costs. Moonshiners in Harlan County, Kentucky, like Maggie Bailey, made the whiskey to sell in order to provide for their families.

In modern usage, the term "moonshine" ordinarily implies that the liquor is produced illegally; however, the term has also been used on the labels of some legal products as a way of marketing them as providing a similar drinking experience as found with illegal liquor.
Kelley Slagle f Farm to Glass Tours and HV Distillers' Chris Moyers
Jen (tall blonde to left) is Tom's wife. Fab crowd!

Moonshine has been the fastest growing segment of the craft distilling craze. It's become insanely popular! Hudson Valley Distiller's version of moonshine was super, super smooth. Not a lot of burn going down, but just enough. Feint whiff of apple on the nose. Easy to drink, and super for cocktails!!

Drink up! And congrats to Chris and Tom, and Jen and Jennifer!


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11:06 AM  

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