Cascade Mountain Winery
Photo by Frank Burke
For this trip, we suggest you start at the winery the farthest east and move toward the Taconic. Cascade Mountain Winery, in Amenia, is about as far east as you can go and still be in New York. Set in the Berkshire foothills, the winery was founded in 1972 by Bill Wetmore and his wife, Joan. It is now being run by their children, Charles, Michael, and Joan. The property’s restaurant is open for lunch on the weekends and features a menu of fresh seafood, along with locally sourced cheese and charcuterie. They also have a wood-fired oven serving up pizza and a smoker for barbecue. New this year are a Chardonnay and a Cabernet Sauvignon, and their famous Summertide wine is not to be missed. Plan to spend 30 minutes wine-tasting ($5 for nine wines); reservations are recommended for the restaurant.
Millbrook Vineyards and Winery
Photo by Liz Okon
Just 20 minutes down the road is Millbrook Vineyards & Winery. John Dyson purchased this 130-acre dairy farm back in 1982 and transformed it into what the New York Times has called “The Hudson Valley’s flagship winery,” producing about 15,000 cases annually. As you drive up to the tasting room, you will notice newly planted vines of Chardonnay, Riesling, Gamay Noir, and Pinot Noir. It will take three years for these vines to produce wine, and that will be a young wine that will change in complexity each year as the vine ages. Make a reservation for their private, intimate Reserve tasting. Picnic throughout the property or visit the Vineyard Café (open on the weekends). End your week with their Friday-night Food Trucks, through August 31, and Jazz at the Grill Saturday evenings through September 1. Nice wines to try are the Proprietor’s Special Reserve Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, and their Tocai Friulano wines.
The Royale Treatment: At Clinton Vineyard, owner Phyllis Feder leads a private tasting tour.
Photo by Spencer Ainsley
From there, it’s only 15 minutes to Clinton Vineyards in Clinton Corners, where you can have a private tasting with owner Phyllis Feder. The tour is called the Royale, and Feder will guide you on an intimate tasting of four of their premium wines and a Méthode Champénoise sparkling wine. The tasting includes a savory complement from the Nosh, a selection of local cheese and charcuterie. This tour is $35 per person and is available for groups of six or more by appointment. Don’t forget to taste their award-winning Seyval Blanc, Cassis, and (new this year) their Estate Bottled Pinot Noir.