By Polly Sparling and Sabrina Sucato
There’s more than one river running through the Hudson Valley.
While the mighty Hudson gives the region its namesake, the flowing trails of local vino are what mark the Valley as one of the most beloved wine countries in the United States. The reputation is well-deserved, too. Throughout the Hudson Valley, winemakers craft vintages that are always a cut above the rest. Whether they’re keeping production as close to the estate as possible (hey, Benmarl), prioritizing sustainable practices (like Hudson-Chatham), or switching it up with cider (we see you, Applewood), the wineries of the Valley find perfect harmony between cutting-edge practices and traditional techniques.
If the results are any indication, their dedication is a sure formula for success. Hudson Valley wines are award-winners across the board, and that’s not just a figure of speech. Luckily for Hudson Valleyites, they’re all right at our fingertips.
Whether you’re a savvy oenophile, a seasoned sommelier, or an eager and curious amateur, you’ll enjoy visiting these Hudson Valley wineries. In addition to proffering distinctive and delicious wines (with some offering just a few vintages and others offering as many as 50), each one has its own ambiance. In addition to tastings, pairings, and tours, some offer lunch and dinner, others live music, dancing, and even wagon rides. Visit one, or make a weekend of it and visit several. Just make sure to appoint a designated driver!
Located in a 40-acre apple orchard on the site of Orange County’s oldest farm (it dates back to 1700), Applewood currently sells wine favorites like Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, and barrel-fermented reds, as well as its Naked Flock hard cider. Summer weekends are busy here; have lunch or snacks in the cafe while enjoying free concerts on select afternoons.
Sip this: Owner and winemaker Jonathan Hull suggests Traminette, “a hybrid white that’s very fruity; it tastes like a lychee nut.”
Don’t miss: Sampling the wines in the three-season tasting room, which overlooks a picturesque lake.
We are excited to share with you our newest release…. 2017 Pinot Grigio. This is our first time producing a Pinot Grigio and it is fantastic. Stop by to try some today! * * * * * * * #baldwinwinery #wine #iloveny #nywine #whitewine #pinotgrigio #drywine #hudsonvalley #scwf #strawberrychocolatewinefestival #newrelease #weekend #winemaker #winesofinstagram #winestagram #wineoftheday #winelover #wino #vino
Pine Bush, 845.744.2226
Fruit wines are the stars at Baldwin: The strawberry and spiced apple wines are brilliant offerings, with previous black raspberry and red raspberry wines (the latter is named Trilogy in honor of the owners’ triplet grandchildren) were medal winners at the 2014 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. The vineyard list includes several whites, off-whites, and reds, as well.
Sip this: Perfect for the fall season, Spiced Apple “comes in a Mason jar with a cinnamon stick,” says Wendy Landolina, a member of the Baldwin family. “It tastes like Grandma’s apple pie in a jar.”
Don’t miss: Wine flights and afternoons spent sitting out on Baldwin’s lawn
Paul Deninno, owner and winemaker at this Catskills winery, takes eco-consciousness to a new level. “Our grapes are grown organically,” he says, “and we use sheep for weed control and fertilizer.” Currently, there are 12 varieties available, ranging from bold reds to dry whites to sweet roses. The Red Fox Merlot, “has been aging in our cave for 18 months,” says Deninno, referring to the winery’s concrete underground room, which provides the constant temperature and high humidity that’s perfect for aging wine.
Sip this: “We are probably best-known for our Cabernet Franc, which we call Black Bear,” says Deninno.
Don’t miss: Bashakill’s family olive oil from Puglia, Italy
Recognized as the oldest vineyard in America — vines were first planted here in 1845 — the 37-acre Benmarl Winery currently has a balanced selection of reds and whites, along with a few rosés. Of all of them, the Baco Noir and Cabernet Franc, both estate wines, are two of Benmarl’s most popular. They’re crafted from grapes grown right onsite, which means each sip is a hyper-local one.
Sip this: Estate Sevyal Blanc or Dry Rosé
Don’t miss: Wine tastings on Benmarl’s hilltop with magnificent Hudson Valley views
Pine Bush, 845.744.2231
Throughout the course of its 30-plus years in business, the small winery has remained “fundamentally interested in producing quality wines with a French character at a reasonable price,” according to its website. The 16 wines on its list include a sparkling white made in the French “méthode champenoise” (similar to Champagne), and Noiret, a hybrid red wine with a peppery accent.
Sip this: The Chardonnay, which is aged in oak and has a buttery finish and citrus overtones
Located at Windy Hill Orchard & Farm Market in Rensselaer County, Brookview Station offers a medley of reds and whites, as well as Joe Daddy’s Hard Cider. The fact that cider is also an important product “is one of the exciting things now happening for Hudson Valley wineries,” says proprietor Sue Goold Miller.
Sip this: The popular — and award-winning — Sunset Charlie, a blended rosè which Miller calls “our ‘dog wine,’ because it has a picture of our yellow Lab, Charlie, on the label.”
Don’t miss: “Wine-ing a bit” at the custom-made, 17-foot red oak tasting bar
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Brotherhood, which produced its first wine in 1839 and has continued for the 181 years since, is widely considered to be the oldest continually operating winery in the U.S. In fact, it was in business even during Prohibition, when it made altar wine. Today, it offers about 50 vintages, from sparkling Chardonnay to its signature 1839 Cabernet Sauvignon and its highly Instagrammable BAE Riesling can.
Sip this: The Brotherhood Premium Dry Rosé or the Cabernet Sauvignon
This winery produced its first 10 bottles of wine in 2008 — one of the owners, Karen Graessle, stomped the grapes herself. In 2014, four of its vintages took home medals at the Hudson Valley Wine and Spirits Competition. Many of its wines are estate-bottled, using only grapes produced in its own vineyard.
Sip this: Estate Divinity White, made from a hybrid of Cayuga White and Riesling grapes developed by Cornell Cooperative Extension; Clearview is one of only a handful of vineyards that grow this grape.
Don’t miss: Live music and appetizers every Saturday and Sunday from 2-5 p.m.
Clinton Corners, 845.266.5372
Founded by Ben and Phyllis Feder, this esteemed winery celebrates more than 40 years in business. “It’s based on the small, estate-style vineyards in France,” says Phyllis (above; Ben passed away in 2009). Along with award-winning cassis, Clinton is known for its Seyval Blanc, which is “recognized as one of the best in the Valley,” she says. The landscaped grounds featuring a Dutch barn and pond make the winery “a real destination. A visit here is a beautiful, intimate experience.”
Sip this: Seyval Blanc, a well-balanced white with notes of citrus, apple, and pear
Making its home at the historic Montgomery Mills property located at 23 Factory Street, the winery is the first non-urban site for City Winery, which currently operates locations across the country. In addition to serving its signature vino, the winery also welcomes visitors to its onsite restaurant, with concerts, tastings, and events held throughout the year as well.
Sip this: Montgomery Mills Riesling 2019, a crisp, New York white with hints of stone fruit and citrus
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More than 90 products are offered by Italian native Francesco Ciummo, a self-described “winemaker, wine seller, and wine drinker.” Besides whites and reds, Demarest has a long list of distilled beverages — such as Italian favorites like grappa, anisette, and limoncello — as well as balsamic vinegar.
Sip this: Black Pearl, a full-bodied red, was a prize-winner at the New York State Fair; Chardonnay Supreme is made from select Long Island grapes and has a crisp, smooth finish.
Ulster Park, 845.331.8642
“I do it all myself,” says Maryl Vogel, owner of this small winery best known for its dry red blends. About 25 varieties of wine are currently on its list, which features New York State grapes front and center. “My reds come from Long Island; the Chardonnay and whites are from the Finger Lakes,” she says.
Sip this: Black Bear, Vogel’s bestselling Cabernet/Merlot blend
Don’t miss: Munching finger foods on the winery’s scenic deck. “It’s really become a popular place to come and hang out,” says Vogel.
Under the helm of new owners Dan and Jacqui Ferrari Heavens, Glorie Farms and Glorie Farm Winery are a continuation of the legacy the Glorie family built in the Hudson Valley. For red lovers, Candy Ass Red is a sweet, sassy sipper. Fruity and seasonal wines are signatures here, with everything from peach and black currant to a pumpkin spice-infused white on the menu.
Sip this: Riesling, an estate wine that’s light as straw and nuanced with hints of apricot, pineapple, and Meyer lemon
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Formerly owned by Carlo DeVito, Hudson-Chatham changed hands to Steven Rosario and Justen Nickell in 2020. Both Culinary Institute of America graduates, the duo focus on sustainably farmed wines from hybrid grapes. The Hudson River Valley Red, for instance, is a dry and fruity blend that works well alongside everything from pizza to burgers.
Sip this: Empire Reserve, a blend of grapes from three regions of New York that’s aged for two years in oak
Don’t miss: Weekend tastings on the lawn
Established in Europe in 1848, and still owned by the same family, Kedem specializes in kosher wines distributed by its parent company, New Jersey’s Royal Wine Corp. Approximately 25 wines listed under the Kedem label can be savored at the winery’s remodeled tasting room.
Sip this: Kedem Estates Cabernet Sauvignon, made with New York grapes
A visit to this Orange County winery is unlike any other in the Valley. To start, Magnanini is a true family affair, with owners Richard and Rachel working alongside their sons Robert and David. In addition to wine, Magnanini produces nine grappas from grape skins in its distillery, then infuses them with local ingredients like berries, honey, and walnuts.
Sip this: The popular Rosso Riserva, a complex dry red that’s a blend of Cabernet Franc and Dechaunac
Don’t miss: Antipasto and panini on the lawn during summer
Tucked quietly on a hillside in Dutchess County, Milea Estate Vineyard garnered fame shortly after its debut in the Hudson Valley with awards for its Pinot Noir, Papa Joe Merlot, and Chardonnay, to name a few. On weekends, the winery opens its doors to Hudson Valleyites for tastings along its scenic outdoor patio. And did we mention it makes cider, too?
Sip this: Rosé of Pinot Noir, which uses Pinot Noir grapes to evoke a deep and delectable finish
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Celebrating more than 30 years in business, this 130-acre estate “is something of a tourist destination,” says David Bova, vice president and general manager. “It is a very pretty area, it has that ‘wine country’ feel.” The 35 acres of French vinifera produce only the highest quality of New York wines, which range from Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc to Chardonnay and Riesling.
Sip this: Tocai Friulano, another estate white, uses a grape variety native to Italy.
Don’t miss: Guided wine tastings and weekend food truck visits
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Milton’s Nostrano Vineyards was established in 2010 on a four-generation family farm. It is one of the newest additions to the Hudson Valley wine scene and quietly has one of the most unique and enjoyable views in the region. Frequently a venue for smaller weddings, Nostrano features a large barn with outdoor seating and a hilltop taproom with a rustic-lodge-meets-Soho-wine-bar aesthetic. Live music from talented local musicians completes a picture-perfect weekend hang. Like many New York wine producers, Nostrano’s specialty is the world of Riesling. It also happens to have refreshing and fruity frosés to keep guests cool on even the most scorching summer days.
Sip this: Estate Dry Riesling, a bonafide classic
Don’t miss: Live jazz music on the weekends with delicious frosés
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Highland Mills, 845.928.5384
Housed in a 200-year-old restored barn, the winery offers tastings Friday through Sunday (five wines for $10). Big draws are the live music on weekends and brunch every Sunday. On the way to the tasting room, check out the display of Palaia’s distinctive wine labels, which feature old-time photographs that date back to the 1800s.
Sip this: Crimson Clove, a spiced wine that’s best served warm in winter and poured over ice in summer
Don’t miss: Live music every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
New Paltz, 845.255.9463
Established on the site of the former Rivendell Winery, Robibero is a welcome retreat in New Paltz. “We’re small,” says Ryan Selby, who — along with his father-in-law, Harry Robibero — is one of two winemakers. Bitty it may be, but this winery is big on quality: Its New Yorkie Dry Rosè — named for the family’s Yorkshire terrier — is a top seller in the Valley.
Sip this: 87 North, a blend of Vidal Blanc and Cayuga White
Don’t miss: Wine tastings and drinks by the glass with music and picnics on the lawn
A biochemist-turned-winemaker, Stoutridge’s Stephen Osborn owns a gravity flow winery, or a winery that refrains from using pumps or filters. “We’re not doing it this way to be trendy,” says Osborn of his process. “We just want the fermentation flavors to come to the forefront of the wine.” The winery produces about 25 varieties, of which 12 are currently available for sale only at the winery (“we can’t do distribution because the wines are not stable,” says Osborn).
Sip this: Stoutridge Merlot-Frontenac, a smooth red that’s unfiltered and juicy
Don’t miss: A wine or craft spirit tasting with Osborn
Awarded the distinction of becoming the first fully functioning winery in Rockland County, the vineyard resides on a historic 19th-century country estate. On weekends, guests can enjoy a small plates menu at the Vineyards’ restored Victorian mansion and, after a tasting, take a stroll around the beautifully landscaped grounds overlooking the Ramapo River.
Sip this: Sweet Summertime, a blend of Cayuga, Vidal Blanc, and Vignoles grape varietals. With hints of peach and citrus, this vineyard favorite is best served cold or as the perfect foundation for your summertime sangria.
Don’t miss: Weekend wine tastings and local music
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Open for business since 2006, this 15-acre Columbia County spot makes a splash on the local wine scene with its family-focused mentality. The current lineup includes six whites, three reds, one rosé, and Crème de Cassis, made from currants and honey both produced on the estate. Husband-and-wife team Ben and Kimberly Peacock currently oversee the business, which was started by Kimberly’s father, Ray Tousey.
Sip this: Riot, a proprietary red blend with berry undercurrents
When it opened its doors in 1994, Warwick Valley offered three wines and one cider. Today, more than 20 types of alcohol are available at this Orange County mainstay — which launched its own distillery in 2012 to produce bourbon, applejack, and other hard liquors. Which wine is most popular? “That depends on your definition of wine,” says co-owner Jeremy Kidde. “If you use a broad definition, it would be our Doc’s Draft Hard Apple Cider,” which comes in flavors as classic as apple and pear and as bold as pumpkin and sour cherry. The winery’s traditional and fruit wines also have an enthusiastic following.
Sip this: Traminette, a hybrid riff on the classic Gerwurtztraminer
Don’t miss: The winery’s American Fruits Distillery is not to be missed. Its fruit liqueurs and apple and pear brandies are standouts for dessert pairings.
Operated by the Migliore family, Whitecliff boasts one of the Valley’s largest vineyards, which is home to more than 20 different grape varieties. Customers clamor most for Awosting White and Red Trail, a pair of hybrid blends.
Sip this: The Steel Chardonnay, an estate-grown, steel fermented wine that’s dry and crisp with hints of green apple and citrus
Don’t miss: A Gold Tasting, which is available by reservation only and features eight premium wines, a cheese plate, and a brief winery tour