Friday, September 21, 2007


The Register Star did a front-page feature story on the winery. See it below.

If you want to see more, come on down to our open house
Saturdays 11-5
Sundays 12-5.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


The Hudson-Chatham Winery is hosting open houses between now and the end of the month. Free tastings of our soon to be released wines, and currently available products such as our handmade maple syrups, local cheeses, jams, chutneys and wine flavored ice creams are available.

We are opened, Saturday 11-5 and Sundays 12-5

Come on down!

Ralph Cooley Sr. made syrup on the side of the road on Route 66 in Ghent from the 1930s all the way to the 1990s. He was such a redoubtable figure the newspaper The Independent did a full page feature story on him in the early 1990s. It showed his lines connected to his sugarbush and it showed the elderly but sturdy renowned dairy farmer and cattle breeder standing over a boiling steaming vat of sap, watching the clear liquid simmer down to maple syrup. Back in those days it was not uncommon for schools to take class trips to Mr. Cooley's sugarshack so he could explain the magic of sugarmaking.

I have long wanted a winery. But I didn't know anything about syrup. But the more history I learned about Mr. Cooley and the former Brisklea Farms the more I got in touch with my sugarmaking side. I started to get into syrups, spured on by my Vermont brother-in-law Robin Hoover, who converted me to dark Grade B syrups some years ago.

I contacted some local sugarmakers through the good folks at Cornell. Dominique and I found seveal local folks. They helped us with securing local syrup and the instructions necessary to bottle. And we worked with Beth's Farm Kitchen to bottle, since they have so much experience canning and bottling, and they have a professional kitchen. Ralph Cooley's grandson, also named Ralph, and our Farm Manager, also helped out.

Today, we offer free tastings of our three grades of syrups - Grade A Amber, Grabe B Dark Rustic, and our own invention, Dirty Syrup. All three are 100% natural and we offer them just like a wine tasting. Visitors taste the thick nectars light to dark in tasting glasses. Come in and see what all the fuss is about.

Sunday, September 09, 2007


So, Dominique and I decided we would do it. It was Ralph’s idea, but I had thought of it before, but didn’t dare say anything. It was perfect. We co-sponsored a car in the Columbia County Fair Demolition Derby in Chatham, New York. We would pay a fee, and the driver would run the car with our logo on the roof of the car. It sounded a little hokey, but what the heck. The Columbia County Fair is a big deal in our parts, and the musical acts included country star Lori Morgan and the Bacon Brothers (yes, six degrees of separation Kevin Bacon and brother) were also headlining. Fairly impressive.

The date arrived. It was Thursday, August 30th. Dominique was working at the winery, and I took our two boys and we went to the fair to watch the car.

After we parked, we went running over to the area where all the smash up derby cars were parked in neat rows. Ralph had told me that our car was pink. I was a little shocked. Pink? But in retrospect, it was a good idea - the car was easily found. It was a small little thing, with the headlights and all the glass ripped out. And the doors welded shut. We took pictures on pictures. Then we went to get something to eat ad then to the stands to get a good seat.

We ate poorly of course - that is to say we gorged ourselves on country fair fare - corn dogs, sausage and peppers, hamburgers, cotton candy, funnel cakes, zeppole, and other exotic treats Dominique would normally never let us eat. It was boys night out.

I was skeptical about going to a smash up derby. There’s more than a little Dukes of Hazzard to it. But, I am here to tell you that there is nothing more exciting than watching a smash-up derby. I am a convert. And I can’t wait until next year’s derby - we’re going to sponsor two!
Our driver, Dave Sheldon, did a great job, and he finished fifth out of forty. And we got the thrill of our lives.