Sunday, October 28, 2007


We took some time out last Sunday so the boys could carve their pumpkins. Ralph and I were in the middle of transferring wine and bottling and blending. I have to admit, we both thought it an interruption. We did it at my wife's insistence. We grumbled. It made a frightful mess in front of the winery. But I have to admit, now, that the visitors thought it a delight as the boys argued about how contorted their pumpkins' smiles should be. In the end the pumpkins were quite fun and the episode itself was a reminder, at least for me, of how we get so caught up in the process that we forget to enjoy the little moments. Ralph and I finished an hour later than we should have. But the boys were thrilled with experiencing their yearly autumnal rite of passage. When it comes to being a mother, my wife is very good.

To me there is nothing so beautiful, there is nothing so breathtaking, as the fall. Especially up here in the Hudson River Valley, so near Massachusetts and Vermont. The fiery reds, the bright oranges, the golden yellows, are like a painting. And finally, the last few mornings, the cool, crisp air has finally arrived. The holidays are coming. From Halloween to Thanksgiving, to Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years and the like. I personally love it. A time for thanks A time of reflection.

Then again, no matter the time of year, there is always something to do on the farm.

Best of all about the fall though, I remember taking long walks in the woods with my father, who lives down in New Jersey. We would take a dog, and walk the woods, the fields, around our house, before the developments took over central Jersey. We would talk, and sometimes not. But we would drive the back roads and see the foliage and admire it together. I will call him this morning and we will talk, and I will look out over the farm, and remember our walks together. And then maybe I'll go walk with my two guys for a little it, an see if I can interest them some leaf peeping.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

(apologies to John Keats)

Just yesterday I had to lay to rest my usual pair of long work pants. They had gotten a reprieve during summer, when I mostly wore shorts, but I was just holding on to them for memory's sake. It was time for them to go.

I have been using them through all kinds of work here at the farm from the day we first started. Cleaning out brush. Cleaning out the barn. Cleaning out the shed behind our house. Scraping and caulking and painting the barn. Caulking and painting the livingroom, the kitchen, the hall, and the upstairs bathroom. And paint, paint, paint, paint.

They were like an old friend. Whether cutting down errant weeds, or hauling felled branches, or moving rocks, I reached for these pants every morning.

They eventually ripped. Then ripped some more. I wore them proudly. I began to look like one of the extras from Pirates of the Caribbean. They finally got to the point where they could not be repaired. Only retired.

My wife doesn't understand the affection I have for these pants, and I'll admit it's a touch odd. But there is nothing like a pair of worn, used work pants to reach for when the day begins.

Got to start a new pair today.

Sunday, October 21, 2007



Make Your Own Holiday Basket
Friday12-5, Saturday 11-5, Sunday12-5, November 23 - 25

Make your own gift holiday wine and maple syrup gift baskets! Choose from dozens of items, and have them beautifully packaged and wrapped. Prices start from $15.00. Perfect for the holiday season. Foods and treats also available. Great fun and great savings!

Bread, Wine and Cheese
Saturday, November 17, 2007
from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The even features artisnal breads and cheeses from Columbia County and other Hudson Valley bakers and cheesemakers. Samples many different breads and cheeses. Perfect opportunity to find great ideas for your holiday events. Food and wine parings will be discussed.

Sweet and Savory Tasting Event
Hudson Chatham Winery
Saturday, November 10, 2007,
from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The event features sweet and savory foods made with maple syrups. Wine and cheese tastings also included. Food and wine pairings will be discussed. Great ideas for recipes for the holidays. Meats, side dishes, and desserts!

Monday, October 01, 2007


The 19th Annual Apple Festival & Craft Show at Goold Orchards....a celebration of the arts, crafts, and agriculture of the Capital Region... Again this year we will be featuring Pride of New York and Uncork NY food vendors and wineries. It will be held at Goold Orchards
(home of Brookview Station Winery) in Schodack, NY on:
Saturday-Sunday, October 6th & 7th, 2007
(Columbus Day Weekend) from 9 am to 5 pm
Rain or Shine. Sorry no pets allowed.
Adult Admission: $7.00 - Children 12 and under are Free.
Plenty of FREE Parking !


Our congrats to Liz Beals of Beth's Kitchen who coordinated the Hudson portion of the Columbia-Green County Chili Cook-Off. It was a fun filled day complete with farmer's market and lots of good chilis. We voted for the white bean chili and the Boy Scount troop. But they were all winners in our eyes. Especially Liz in the funky outfit.

Brookview Station and Chatham Brewing Company were also there.


It's that time of year, and like so many of the other wineries, we're making wine! This is one of many small crushes and pressings we've been doing over the last few weeks. We've been crushing lots of baco noir (one of our big wines for 2009), noiret, and some small amounts of experimental grapes - clones and such from Cornell. As well as other grapes. We're bringing in twice as much Seyval and DeChaunac as last year.

You can see our Farm Manager Ralph Cooley pressing grapes while many of use attend to other chores. We photographed many of the more photogenic scenes. The one of me lifting the wheel barrel with the left over pummace and stems and bringing it to the back of the farm to dump for compost somehow didn't make it into the galley included here.

After the grapes have masserated for sometime (letting the juices and skins sit together for a period) we press the soupy, sweet mixture, which is part alcohol and part sugar, and separate the juice form the skins.

The skins, once they have been separated from the juice are now called pummace. It makes for great fertilizer or compost. That's solid pressed grapes with the juice squeezed out.

Wine is then collected into small batches.

And then we'll start consolidating and consolidating until we end up with hundreds of gallons of it. The all the baco noir will be aged in French oak barrels for a minimum of six months.