New York Wine & GrapeNews
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Whenever you want to know what’s going on in New York state craft beverage, you really should start with the Hudson Valley. The Hudson Valley is the home of the oldest continuously operating winery in America, Brotherhood Winery, and the home of the oldest continuously operating vineyards in America, the old Caywood Vineyards, now a part of the legendary Benmarl Winery. Of course, the original farm winery movement began in the Hudson Valley. Farm distilleries, farm breweries, and farm cideries all began in the Hudson Valley as well! One of the most advanced vineyards on the east coast was planted by Whitecliff Vineyard & Winery, with all the latest techniques and technology with input from Cornell, UC Davis, and a host of other leading industry experts.
But more importantly, people often forget where the Hudson Valley is. While many people tend to think that the land just north of Westchester is the Hudson Valley, it actually extends all the way up to Albany and just beyond.
There is no other food and wine destination like the Hudson Valley, with its numerous small family farms making cheese, meat, bread, and other artisanal foods, to be paired with local wines, beers, spirits and ciders. It is a veritable food-lover’s Disney World.
Often thought of as a sleepy backwater, the current Hudson Valley craft beverage scene is the hottest in New York state! There are five wine and craft beverage trails in the region: the Shawangunk Wine Trail is the oldest, followed by the Dutchess Wine Trail. From there we go to the intrastate Hudson Berkshire Beverage Trail, the Capital Craft Beverage Trail (the largest), and the Upper Hudson Valley Wine Trail. The Hudson Valley has the most diverse offerings of wine, beer, cider, and spirits in the state.
On the wine side, there’s all kinds of things going on. There’s the Hudson Valley Cabernet Franc Coalition, which features estate Cabernet Francs from a half dozen of the region’s wineries. The region is also home to some of the state’s best quality fruit wines, especially apple and cassis, from producers like Baldwin Vineyards and Brookview Station among others, as well as quality premium red and white wines.
And there are some amazing individuals and ideas going on as well. There are people like Stephen Casscles, grape historian and winemaker at Hudson-Chatham Winery, who has seemingly single-handedly brought about a renaissance interest in heirloom and historic regional grapes and varietal wines. There’s Matthew Spacarelli who is making terrific wines at Fjord Vineyards while having his vineyards grazed by sheep. There are wonderful vinifera wines from Milea Estate Vineyard, Tousey Winery, Millbrook Vineyards & Winery, Glorie Winery, and Nostrano Vineyards. There are also highly acclaimed wines made using unique varieties from Clinton Vineyards, Victory View Vineyard, Fossil Stone Vineyards, Bashakill Vineyards, Clearview Vineyard, Clermont Vineyards, and others.
You can taste incredible Albarino, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinto Noir, Cabernet Franc, and Tocai Fruliano. Or you can sample fantastic Baco Noir, Chelois, Marquette, Traminette, Frontenac, and Frontenac Gris.
These wines have won gold from as far away as San Francisco, and further, as well as garnering press in places like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Wine Enthusiast, and many other outlets.
If you’re not visiting the rolling hills of the Hudson Valley, to see one of the continent’s greatest rivers, to glide through her rolling hills in summer or winter, or experiencing the grandeur of her fall, and sampling Hudson Valley wines, then you are just missing out!
Carlo DeVito, Co-owner