8 Ways to Enjoy the Valley Vineyards
Wine trails, wine festivals, and grape stomping — it’s all part of the fun
No Fuss, Take the Bus
No need to argue over who’s going to be the designated driver on your next wine excursion. The Little Wine Bus (917-414-7947; www.thelittlewinebus.com), founded by Valley Native Tania P. Dougherty, takes you to the vino on creative wine tours of the Valley’s most popular wineries. They’ll pick you up in New York City or all around the tri-state area.
Stomp the Day Away
Come on; you know you’ve wanted to do it ever since Lucy so famously stomped on those grapes in the classic I Love Lucy episode. Two Valley vineyards let you get in on all the fun: Robibero Family Vineyards’ Grape Stomping Festival (www.robiberofamilyvineyards.com) is September 26 and 27. Benmarl Winery (www.benmarl.com) devotes two fall weekends to their stomping festivals: September 26-27 and October 10-11.
Hit the Trail
The Valley sports three wine trails, two of which organize various events to entice wine-lovers to savor their heady spirits:
The Dutchess Wine Trail (www.dutchesswinetrail.com) is a self-guided tour that winds through vineyards, orchards, and farms, in addition to sites like Innisfree Garden, the Culinary Institute of America, the fabled mansions of the Hudson River, and the FDR Library and Home. The trail connects the Clinton Vineyards and Millbrook Vineyards and Winery.
Hudson-Berkshire Beverage Trail (518-732-7317; www.hudsonberkshirewinefestival.com) offers Second Saturdays on the Wine Trail. For $15, participants can visit all eight beverage establishments (four wineries and four distilleries) and sample their libations. The trail also hosts an annual Wine and Food Festival, which takes place in May.
Shawangunk Wine Trail (845-256-8456; www.shawangunkwinetrail.com) is home to 14 wineries nestled between the Shawangunk Mountains and the Hudson River, in Ulster and Orange Counties. One of those (the aforementioned Benmarl) hosts Bounty of the Hudson, now in its 20th year, on July 25 and 26. Sip and compare vintages from nearly 20 wineries while sampling local produce, cheeses, and other goodies supplied by food vendors and nearby eateries. There will be live music, too.
The trail’s Wine Tasting Passport ($27) allows you to take a self-guided tour of each of the 14 wineries, where you’ll enjoy a tasting of four vinos. Have your passport stamped at each spot, and you’ll receive a free one next year. The program runs through August.