Don’t drink and drive! The Hudson Valley may be awash with top-shelf vineyards, but it can be hard to sample the fruits of the region’s viticulture without dragging along a sober-minded friend to take care of transportation. Enter Cornwall native and enterprising oenophile Tania Dougherty and her tour company, the Little Wine Bus, which specializes in corporate and group tours of local wineries. The ultimate designated driver, the Little Wine Bus chauffeurs customers between tastings at select Hudson Valley wineries while also providing gourmet lunches and snacks, educational programs, and even karaoke and other entertainment. Booking a tour requires a party of five or more, but smaller groups can reserve a spot on an already-scheduled outing, which depart from midtown Manhattan every Saturday and Sunday. (Local wine-lovers can arrange for pickup elsewhere in the Valley when booking a tour.) Prices start at $140 per person for the standard “Take Me to the Vino” tour, but customers can choose from a range of other packages, including birthday and other parties, kayaking and wine adventure tours, and many more. And if wine isn’t your beverage of choice, Dougherty’s spin-off, the Little Beer Bus, applies the same winning formula to the Valley’s breweries.
Best of Hudson Valley Winners: 2008 2012
County: Columbia Dutchess Orange Putnam Rockland Ulster Westchester
Pick: Editors' Picks
About: Tania P. Dougherty was driving from Valley winery to Valley winery with friends when she was struck with an idea:. We need a little bus to take us all around! This April, Dougherty turned a favorite pastime into a dream job when she created The Little Wine Bus, a wine tour company catering to group outings and corporate events. A Cornwall native who now lives in New York City and works for a large financial firm, Dougherty runs the tour company on the side with the help of family members and friends. You'll need a party of at least five to schedule a tour, but smaller groupings can sometimes hop on an already scheduled trip, she says. Customers can choose among the standard tour (the full-day Take Me To The Vino, which includes lunch and visits to three to four wineries), a variety of adventure tours (hike-, bike-, or kayak-and-wine), a five-course dinner at a winery, or a birthday or themed party. The choices don't end there, either: you'll have to pick either a stretch limo, town car, luxury van, or tour bus to cruise along in on the tour. Prices start at $100 per person. Whatever your preference or price range, though, you'll know Dougherty will strive to meet each customer's tastes, whether they're of the vinous variety (white or red?) or otherwise (hello, togas!).
Best of Hudson Valley History:
2012 Editors' Pick — Best Way to Tour the Vineyards
2008 Editors' Pick — Best New Way to Tour the Vineyards