Wineries and Vineyards, Ulster County
Wine tours, wineries, and vineyards to visit in Ulster County
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Group shot: The Robibero family
Robibero Family Vineyards, New Paltz
As the name suggests, this boutique-style winery is, indeed, a family affair. Owner Harry Robibero and his wife, Carole, opened the 42-acre facility in 2010, at the site of the former Rivendell Winery. Everybody pitches in — mom and dad, daughter Tiffany, and her fiancé Ryan Selby, who serves as assistant wine-maker. Visitors are likely to meet a four-legged family member, too. Snickers, a toy Yorkie, “has the run of the place. We pride ourselves on being pet- and child-friendly,” says Harry.
Located about 10 minutes outside of New Paltz, the winery features a 90-foot outdoor deck with a panoramic view of verdant Hudson Valley fields. “Visitors say they love to relax on the deck and sip wine there in the summer,” Harry says. Wooden picnic tables are also sprinkled amid the greenery. “People like to stop by after a day of hiking or visiting the New Paltz area,” Harry notes. “We get quite a mix: local people and visitors from all over. A lot of them are from the tristate region — New York, New Jersey, Connecticut — and Pennsylvania, too.”
A bottle of Seyval Blanc framed by a panoramic view; at right, the well-stocked cellar
Robibero produces premium artisan wines, handcrafted in small lots and mostly sold in the Robibero tasting room and online; a select few local retailers and restaurants also feature their wines. Among customer favorites is 87 North, an award-winning, slightly sweet blend of Vidal Blanc and Cayuga White. It features a distinctive label: a map depicting the highway route through New York City and up to New Paltz along — you guessed it — the New York State Thruway.
Another prize-winner, the Dry Riesling, is also popular. Other top Robibero wines include Rabbit’s Foot — a red that’s 75 percent Baco Noir, 15 percent Merlot, and 10 percent Cabernet Sauvignon; Pinot Noir; and Syrah. Oenophiles head straight for the winery’s tasting room, which features comfy couches, tables, board games, and a big-screen TV. There’s free Wi-Fi, and a fireplace for cold-weather visits.
Upcoming events include live music on weekends, and special happenings throughout the summer and fall, ranging from a Sangria Festival (see page 91) to a Haunted “Hallowine” party and a pet parade. The family keeps a careful eye on growing the business. “We want to focus on expanding the vineyards; it’ll take time,” says Harry. “And I’d love to open a wine cave. Maybe in five years or so.” He adds, “We’re still a very small operation, and it can be a challenging business. For us, working half a day means working 12 hours,” he laughs. “But we love it.” Or, as the Robibero Web site puts it: “We are not chasing our dreams. We crush them and put them in bottles.” — Dale McKnight