Valley Vineyards Come Of Age
As the economy struggles and wacky weather compromises this year’s harvest, Valley vintners are doing surprisingly well thanks to a little local love and another killer vintage
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Just shy of five years old, Sullivan County’s first commercial winery has specialized in organic Noiret and Cayuga White grape varietals, recently adding Marquette to its repertoire. The chemical-free vineyard welcomes visitors for tastings, and features live music every Saturday. Open Sat. year-round; Sat.-Sun., May-Sept.
Sip this: Their 2007 Bear Cabernet Franc took a gold medal at the ’09 HVWC.
BRIMSTONE HILL VINEYARD
This 30-year-old facility just rejoined the Shawangunk Wine Trail. Their eight wines include a sparkling wine made in méthode champenoise, and the award-winning Noiret and Cayuga White. Tours, year-round tasting room, shop. Open May-Oct., Fri.-Mon.
Sip this: Their 2007 Cab Franc won a Gold Medal at this year’s HVWC.
Pine Bush. 845-744-2231
CASCADE MOUNTAIN WINERY & RESTAURANT
Open since the late 1970s, Cascade produces eight wines, including a Rosé, Vintage Seyval Blanc, and special spice wine. The Wine and Tapas Bar restaurant pairs Cascade wines and local produce. Tours, tastings, shop, art gallery, weddings. Open Sat.-Sun.
Sip this: Vintage Couer De Lion, a smooth Cabernet Sauvignon blend made in the Beaujolais style.
DEMAREST HILL WINERY & DISTILLERY
Wine-maker and owner Francesco Ciummo produces dozens of wines, spirits, and vinegars at his Orange County winery. Specialties include Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and fruit wines. Open daily.
Sip this: Warwick Black Pearl Local, “The Prize of [the] Vineyard.”
EL PASO WINERY
Initially founded in 1977 by an old-world Spanish wine-maker, El Paso was reopened in 1998. Featuring 20 blends from Chardonnay and Seyval to Pinot Noir. Shop, free tastings. Open Wed.-Sun.
Sip this: Barn Red, a “true Italian country red.”
Ulster Park. 845-331-8642
Columbia County’s first winery — though still in its early years — has already wowed discerning palates, winning several awards at the HVWC. The boutique winery specializes in small-batch reds and whites made from Long Island, Finger Lakes, and Hudson Valley grapes. Tastings, weddings, local artisanal cheeses and desserts. Open Sat.-Sun.
Sip this: The 2007 Hudson River Red won not only a gold medal, but Best in Category (Red Hybrid) at the HVWC (having already sold out once this summer, a fresh batch should be available this month).
Photograph courtesy of Benmarl Winery
MAGNANINI WINERY & RESTAURANT
The seven wines bottled at this Ulster County winery are made exclusively from estate-grown grapes. Specializing in French-American blends like Seyval Blanc, Chancellor, and Dechaunac. Restaurant open weekends, serving prix-fixe Northern Italian dinner paired with wines. Weekend tastings, shop, live music, weddings. Open Apr.-Dec., Sat.-Sun.
Sip this: Mirtillo, an unusual blend of Seyval Blanc and cranberry juice.
OAK SUMMIT VINEYARD
This small Dutchess County vineyard produces only estate-grown, organic Pinot Noir. Premium Tour and Tasting by appointment.
Sip this: Their silver medal-winning 2007 Pinot Noir.
ROYAL KEDEM WINERY
One of the largest kosher vineyards in the country; owned by Royal Wines, the largest producer, importer, and distributor of kosher wines in the U.S. Tours, tastings. Open Sun.-Thurs.
Sip this: Their custardy Castel White, which has been featured in Wine Spectator magazine.
SILVER STREAM WINERY
This tiny Orange County operation grows five varietals — Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Traminette, and Gewurztraminer — and produces over 500 gallons from other New York varietals. Tastings, tours. Open Thurs.-Sun.
Sip this: Their 2007 Cabernet Franc won bronze medals at the 2008 New York State Fair and 2008 NY Wine and Food Classic.
WINDHAM VINEYARD & WINERY
The Northeast’s highest elevation vineyard and winery specializes in white and dessert wines including Chardonnay, Frontenac Gris, and a coveted Ice Wine. Tastings, grape picking on weekends; wine getaway packages. Open year-round.
Sip this: New York does love a good Riesling — their 2008 took home a gold medal from the HVWC.
Next: Grab your best glass and fill ’er up at any of this year’s wine events