Thursday, July 31, 2008


Here's the video of us pouring at the 2008 Bounty of the Hudson in Marlboro, NY.

The video was taken by the Hudson Valley Wine Goddess. Special thanks to Debbie!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008



Debbie Lessner-Gioquindo is also known as the Hudson Valley Wine Goddess. She is a popular blogger of wines. She also owns a travel agency "Exclusive Wine Vacations." Its focus is sending people to the wine regions of the world. Through the years she has learned a lot about wine and visited many wineries and vineyards.

This year, when she attended the 2008 Bounty of the Hudson, Debbie attended with her new companion - a video camera. And then she wrote these nice tings about our wines and about our son Dawson, who was also there assistating me that Saturday.

See her review and the video at:

Monday, July 28, 2008


Linda Pierro and Robert Bedford of Coxsackie have published a new magazine dedicated solely to the Hudson Valley wine region. This new magazine is tremendous. It highlights selcted wineries, and contains articles by regional experts, and features pieces on the wine history of the Hudson Valley as well as the classic grapes of the valley.

Linda and Bob are dedicated to wine in the Hudson Valley wine scene. And lovely people. They are ever present at many different Hudson Valley events. They are just the kind of promoters the Valley needs.

And it's FREE!

“HUDSON VALLEY WINE is intended to introduce wine connoisseurs and novices alike to the world of first-class wines and wineries that exist in the historic Hudson Valley,” says Linda Pierro, managing editor of HUDSON VALLEY WINE magazine. “With today’s economy and more people traveling locally and buying local products, it’s a perfect time to discover New York State’s best kept secret – the vineyards and wineries of the Hudson River Valley.”

The full-color, over-sized, complimentary magazine will be published on a semi-annual basis, and will have distribution throughout the Hudson Valley region – which ranges from New York City to Albany – as well as other well-known tourist destinations including Saratoga and Cooperstown. The premier issue, Summer 2008, is now available at targeted locations, including upscale hotels, shops and restaurants, conference and visitor centers, Hudson Valley wineries and wine shops. The magazine is eco-friendly and printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper made with electricity generated by windpower, and manufactured in the Hudson Valley.

Each issue focuses on the wineries, highlighting the owners and winemakers, their winemaking practices, new releases and “The Essentials,” which features specifics on each winery, including hours, tastings, tour information, events and details such as acreage planted, number of cases produced, etc., as well as directions. Content for the premier issue also includes articles on the 300 year-old history of winemaking in the region, “Grapes of the Hudson Valley” and “Seedlings,” a column on what’s new to try, buy or do regarding local wines and products.

It's a big, oversized, colorful magazine, with great design and great photography. This is the magazine the Hudson Valley has been waiting for.

“HUDSON VALLEY WINE magazine is the first of its kind in the region,” continues Pierro. “It’s the ultimate resource guide for wine enthusiasts looking to explore the wineries of the Hudson Valley.”“We felt a need for a magazine to attract people who enjoy wine to the Hudson Valley region – one that offers useful, reliable, authoritative, timely, and interesting information,” says Robert Bedford, the magazine’s publisher. “We’ve presented this material in a graphically appealing format that not only focuses on the wineries of the Hudson Valley, but offers an insider’s view to the people and the stories behind the wines. It’s an opportunity for people to learn about what makes Hudson Valley wines unlike wines from the other New York State regions.” New York State is the third largest producer of grapes and wine in the United States, and the Hudson River Valley is the oldest wine-producing region in the nation, dating back to the seventeenth century. The region is noted by historians as “the birthplace of American viticulture” and a planting in 1827 at Croton Point is often cited as the nation’s earliest commercially successful vineyard.The Hudson Valley is also home to both the nation’s oldest commercial winery – opened in 1839 as Blooming Grove and now Brotherhood Winery – and also to the oldest continuously-farmed vineyard, the estate of noted viticulturist Andrew Caywood, now Benmarl Winery.

Did I mention, it's FREE!

You can find it at some of these locations: Restaurants, convention centers, hotels and other high-end locations throughout the Hudson Valley region, the Capital Region, Saratoga, Cooperstown and Connecticut, as well as Northern New Jersey and Brooklyn, NY. In addition, the magazines can be found at tourism and visitors centers, NYS Thruway tourist booths and local Chambers of Commerce, including – Dutchess County Tourism office– Greene Tourism– Orange County Tourism– New Paltz Chamber of Commerce– Heart of Catskill Chamber of Commerce– Wineries in Orange, Dutchess, Sullivan, Ulster and Columbia and Rensselaer Counties– Woodbury Commons Outlet Mall – Cornell Cooperative Agroforestry Resource Center, Greene County– Fox & Hound Wine & Spirits, New Paltz– Hampton Inn, Fishkill– Mexican Radio Restaurant, Hudson– Partition Street Wine Shop, Saugerties– First Niagara, Catskill– Greene IDA– Greene County Historical Society– Hudson Wine Shop, Hudson– Exclusive Wine Vacations, Poughkeepsie– Century 21, Coxsackie– Terrapin Restaurant, Hudson– The Wine Cellar, Catskill– Marshall & Sterling Insurance, Leeds– Hood & Company, Catskill– Mahalo Gifts, CatskillThe magazine is also distributed at local wine fests and wine tasting events such as the Hudson Valley Wine Fest, Columbia County Bounty, and the Heart of Catskill Association Second Saturday Stroll.

Hudson-Chatham WInery is featured in this new magazine.

A great big spread.

Steve Casscles is our main winemaker and he has a big article about Hudson Valley grape growing and the history of several of the Valley's most popular varietals.

Great job Linda and Bob!!!!!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Well, the second stop on the tour, on back-to-back weekends, was the Bounty of the Hudson hosted by Benmarl Vineyards, in Marlboro, New York. The wine life seems like a very fun, genteel way to make a living, but I've never worked so hard in my life. We bottled and labeled during the week. I've picked the only business in the world that has heavier boxies then book boxes - boxes of wine. If I ever come back in another life, I'm going to manufacture those styrofoams peanuts and save my back.

We stayed up late way into the night, after bottling our Lindenwald White, which we were out of. And then we had to label enough cases for the festval itself. Then we had to start loading the car early the next morning. And then it was an hour and some down the valley in the car, after what seemed like an hour to get a few doughnuts, coffee and milk at the local Dunkin Donuts.

Matt Wiesmantel was a great help in the Finger Lakes, but he was not there for me this time. This time it was me and my son Dawson (10 years old). Let me tell you, in the begining, when I told him he could not buy a soda, he folded his arms and refused to help. But as the day went on, he was awesome, pouring syrup and writing down claim checks for customers. He came through huge!

Bounty of the Hudson is a hands-free wine fest. I have to admit I had no idea what the hell that meant until I got there. Thank God for Jason Grizzanti of Warwick Valley Winery. Jason is a road weary veteran of these affairs, and he kindly showed me the ropes. He told me that all the wine we had set up behind our table in the tent, instead had to go to a central location. So we had to repack the car, after having unpacked it, and rolled it around to the stock area. The idea is that we would write out claim checks in triplicate, so the festival goers would not have to carry their wine with them. It was a nice way to handle things, except for one thing - we had no triplcate form booklets. Luckily, Jason talked with a festival worker, and got us a booklet to write in. What a guy!!!

George Cafiero is the General Manager of Casecade Mountain Winery. He is another grizzled road warrior. He also helped me out greatly. That's two weeks in a row, he's helped save my bacon, giving me advice, because he was kind of enough to help me out at the Finger Lakes Wine Festival the week before. Thanks, George!

There were many festival goers, who seemed quite happy with the food and wine. Here's a group that volunteered for a photo-op! Thanks folks - for everything!

The festival ran late for us. We sold, and sold. And then we had a few folks we over sold to. I waited around to make sure we got everyone their money back who we might have over subscribed to. And then we had to pack up the car, and head home. However, I had to stop in Kingston to buy more triplicate forms and buy Dawsn dinner - a big treat - Taco Bell. And then it was more miles on the odometer.

After that, I had to enter all the credit vouchers on the veraphone, label and pack some more wine in the car for my wife, because we had sold out of everything, and restock our counter supplies - all for the Sunday portion of the event.

And I keep asking myself - this is a Saturday nite? - who's idea was this?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

JULY 26 & 27, 2008


13th Annual "Bounty of the Hudson" Food & Wine Festival

Saturday and Sunday, July 26 & 27, 2008

Festival Hours are 12 Noon to 5PM each day

Tickets $25 in advance $35 at the door~ 2008 Location - Benmarl Winery, Marlboro NY

Metro North Transfers available from Poughkeepsie

Taste the wines from all ten wineries on the SWT as well as several others from around the Hudson Valley region. Enjoy tastes and dishes from area restaurants, epicurean delights, farm fresh produce, cooking workshops and Live Music!NOTE: IF YOU ARE ARRIVING BY METRO NORTH TRAIN FROM NYC TO POUGHKEEPSIE: There will be a bus service between the Train Station and the Festival on the following schedule:Will meet arriving trains at 12:37, 1:38 and 2:38Will Depart Festival at 4 and 5PM to catch the 4:31 and 5:31 trains back to NYC Bus Transfer Tickets are $10 and are available when you purchase your tickets on-line

2007 Bounty picturesurl:


We've added a new event to our world tour - the Harvest Festival at Bethel Woods. This is an exciting event for us, which will feature wineries from Long Isalnd as well as the Hudson Valley, and at a premiere venue. Very exciting!
About Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
Bethel Woods Center for the Arts is a $100,000 million outdoor performing arts center and museum located approximately 90 minutes from New York City at the site of the original 1969 Woodstock festival in Bethel, NY. The 15,000 seat outdoor performing arts venue and The Museum at Bethel Woods are set within nearly 2,000 bucolic acres.
The Pavilion Stage can accommodate 15,000 guests both under cover and on a natural sloping lawn, while offering unique backdrops including the original festival site and the majesty of the surrounding Sullivan County countryside. Other venues at the center include a 1,000-seat outdoor Terrace Stage, the Museum Events Gallery – an intimate indoor space for performance, lectures and special events, and the original Woodstock concert site, which holds a permit for 30,000 concertgoers to attend major musical events. This season marks the 10th anniversary of the Harvest Festival, an annual event celebrating the bounty, talent, and beauty of Sullivan
County and the surrounding area.
The Museum at Bethel Woods explores the unique experience of the Woodstock festival, its significance as a culminating event of a decade of radical cultural transformation, and the legacies of the Sixties and Woodstock today. Through personal stories and profiles, immersive multi-media exhibit displays and experiences, engaging programs, and educational events, The Museum will encourage inter-generational dialogue about important ideas and issues relevant to today. It will also help preserve the historic site on which the 1969 Woodstock Music and Art Fair took place. The Museum at Bethel Woods is an impressive facility with a permanent exhibit space, a special exhibit gallery, Events Gallery and museum retail store.
The purpose of the arts center is to improve the quality of life in Sullivan County and the surrounding region by promoting economic development and interest in our region and its residents through arts, education, and culture at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.

Sunday, August 24, 2008
Harvest Wine Festival
11:00am - 4:00pm
Performers:Erin Slaver, Stacy Cohen and Friends
Having evolved from a Sunday Farmers Market held on site over the past eight years, the Harvest Festival at Bethel Woods now attracts over 4,500 visitors a weekend to celebrate the bounty, beauty and talent of Sullivan County and surrounding areas.
Held every Sunday from late August to Columbus Day, the festival features a farmers market, craft village, live performances, corn and hay mazes, pony rides and more. Each week offers a new theme or special event sure to please the entire family.
Farmers Market
Craft Village
Special Events
Festival Foods
Pony Rides
Fall Foliage
Children's Area
Musicians and Performers

Bethel Woods offers their thanks to the Gerry Foundation for its support of the Harvest Festival.

For more information call: (845) 295-2448Vendor opportunities email: Woods is grateful for the support of our Business Friends.

We encourage you to consider our Business Friends first for a wide variety of products and services including where to shop, dine and stay in the Hudson Valley/Catskill Region.View Business Friends Directory

All dates, acts, times and ticket prices subject to change without notice.

Monday, July 21, 2008


The Columbia County chapter of the Red Hat Society visited the winery on July 15, 2008. Seemingly, they had a ball.

The Red Hat Society (RHS) is a social organization founded in 1998 for women over 50. As of October 2006 there are about 1.5 million registered members in over forty thousand chapters in the United States and thirty other countries.

The Red Hat Society fondly refers to itself as a "dis-organization" with the aim of social interaction, and to encourage fun, silliness, creativity, and friendship in middle age and beyond. The Society is not a sorority or a voluntary service club. There are no initiations or fundraising projects.

A founder or leader of a local chapter is usually referred to as a "Queen". Members are called "Red Hatters". Members 50 and over wear red hats and purple attire to all functions. A woman under age fifty may also become a member, but she wears a pink hat and lavender attire to the Society's events until reaching her fiftieth birthday.

The ladies had a great time tasting wines and cheeses. We support our local Red Hat Society members and we salute them!


Getting up Sunday morning hurt - I mean really hurt. After lifting heavy boxes for two days in a row, my old, weathered body was feeling the blows. My head ached from the constant heat, and my back and knees were stiff. Who's idea was this? I asked myself.

We showered and packed quickly and bid a fond farewell to the Quality Inn on Route 414. It was just two creaky old beds and a serviceable bathroom with air conditioning - but I'll always think of it as home.

I found my trusty festival winery staff badge and clipped it to my shirt, and we were off to buy milk and doughnuts - ahh, the Breakfast of Chmpions! (John Belushi-style, anyway)

Sunday morning it was rainy. It was coming down hard, and the Festival grounds at Watkins Glenn International Speedway looked anything but festive due to the inclement weather.

This is my favorite place. This is the bridge underneath which you need to pass through. But RVs have to go down the middle of it, becasue it's so small and rounded. It can be a real pain in the neck. Especially when you're tired and grumpy in the morning.

The tents did not look jovial nor were they fun. But the crowds came anyway. Bless them! Around 10 a.m. people started drifting in. business was brisk the first few hours, as all the tasters who took notes the day before did their early morning shopping before Sunday's revelers arrived. By noon the place was hopping. And the weather seemed to lighten up. It was cooler and not as hot inside the tents.

Friends of ours stopped by the booth. Peter Becraft (from Anthony Road) and Cary M. Becraft (chocolatier, owner of CaryMo Chocolate - She makes great chocolates. This is their new baby. Congrats to the Becrafts. Cary is going to make a special selection chocolate - from our own maple syrup - for the winery.

Some Freehold, New Jersey friends also stopped by - Jean Holtz and her husband Jack. They have a place up in the Finger Lakes. They saw our friend Matt Weismantel who was helping me. We all talked for a little, but it was crazy. Thanks for stopping by, guys!

Matt was a mad man, selling everything from our wines and ports, to maple syrup. Matt is a long time friend, and he came cheap - I fed him and got him a room, and he worked like a dog for nothing. That's a good friend. I just hope he doesn't report me to the New York State Department of Labor for workplace abuses. Thanks a lot for everything, Matt!

After a while, there was an announcement. The loud speakers blared around 4:15 that the sheriff's department and NY State Troopers were issuing a 15 minute emergency exit command, due to an on-comming violent thunderstorm, with excessive wind gusts. I ran to the parking lot in the rain, as it was now starting to hit, and drove our SUV to the back of the tent amidst the refugee-styled throngs that were exiting the tent areas. It was like a scene from The Year of Living Dangerously. I got to the tent and we packed the truck in the rain in fifteen-minutes, and we were out of there.

It was 4 1/2 hours back to the farm, and to my wife Dominique, my two sons, Dylan and Dawson, and our two dogs. I was never so happy to be home and we all went to bed ealry.

One festival down - five to go.

Who's idea was this?

Saturday, July 19, 2008


The second day of our trip was the first day of the festival. We got up early and went to the the halls to finish setting up the stand. Many other wineries were doing the same things. And by the time were were ready for the horde of visitors, they descended upon us. Our friend Matt was up to the challenge. The pouring went fast and furious. We poured many different wines.

We poured in 90+ degree wheather, from 10 am to 5 pm. People came and went in huge throngs. It was exhausting.

Slowly at the end of the day, the crowds started to thin.

This is a great sight - and empty carton of wine - sold out!

Exhausted. Half asleep. Goodnight.

Friday, July 18, 2008


The Finger Lakes Wine Festival is the first big wine festival of the Hudson-Chatham Winery 2008 World Tour. This is big event for us, and it is different than one would imagine. This is the first big wine festival I will be attending as a seller and not as a consumer. Our winery booth is 198 on East Riesling Row.

The beginning starts last night, when Matt Wiessmatel, our horticulturalist friend, opted to put down his pruning sheers and chain saw, and don the seller's garb for the weekend with me. A veritable road trip picture in the making. Late Thursday night we labeled and packed my wife's SUV with more than a pallet's worth of wine. Then we stuffed all the necessary parts, chairs, sale slips, cash box, bags, calculator, batteries, fan, and numerous other items for the long trip.

We got up at the crack of dawn. My wife was sick with worry - not for me - but for her car. I had completely overloaded it. The back wheels were partially hidden in the wheel wells the machine was so laden down. A little gallows humor - "we'll call you when we get a tow truck" - and we were off with the rising sun, with only four or five hours sleep under our belt.

Matt brought along a great CD filled with both great tunes, selections form the juke box from hell, and the 1955 Rutger's Men's Chorus singing the school fight song. Ugh! (I went to Fordham and UCONN). And then we were off. I was pilot. Matt, a former government cartographer, was my navigator.

The ride itself was uneventful, except for when Matt took us to Watkins Glen (the town) instead of Watkins Glen (The International Speedway). Of course, I forgot to tell him the festival wasn't being held downtown.

When we got there we did quick walk through of the hall. I was a little intimidated. Dominique and I had been to the Festival before. But now here we were putting up our sign in the same halls as Konstatin Frank, Atwater Estates, Swedish Hill, Glenora, Hunt Country, and many of the big names in the east coast wine industry. It was a little intimidating, and I certainly felt like the rookie I was.

Teams if people were working the big booths, putting up massive displays and setting up countless tasting stations and cash registers. Matt and I were amazed.

The it was off to work. In the 95 degree F day, the sun was beating down on us and the other workers without mercy. We unloaded the wine in the sweltering heat, and set the tables where we wanted them.

After we unloaded all the boxes, chairs, tables, etc., it was off to downtown Watkins Glen. Once there, and exhausted, Matt and I sat down town in the Harbor an a light lunch and lots of ice tea, diet coke, beer, and of course, a glass of wine - all the while looking at the boats in the lake.

The boats bobbed up and down in the lake's water, the sun shone, and the reflection was blinding. But we were cool and comfortable inside. A great way to end the day. But two hot days are looming at the fair - and we're freaking out.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


We now feature at our tasting room, Raspberry Fine Ruby Chocolate Truffles from Vasilows Confectionary, Inc., of Hudson, NY. In small selections of 4-pieces and 8-pieces., these delectable truffles feature chocolate made with our Gold Medal-winning raspberry port-styled dessert wine. And the winery is the only place you can find them!

Vasilow's Confectionery specializes in fresh, small batches of chocolates, nuts, and confections made with the finest natural ingredients and chocolate available. In fact, it's the same chocolate brothers Louie and Jim used in 1923, when they opened their store and made available to the residents of upstate New York some of the finest candies ever created.

In 1969, after years of hard work, and countless hours spent over a copper kettle, which regularly reached temperatures of 325 degrees, the brothers reluctantly agreed that it was time to retire. When word circulated that Vasilow Bros. Confectionery was closing, many locals begged, pleaded, and threatened the brothers to go on "just a bit longer". Among those who protested most fervently was Louie's twelve-year old grandson.

Years passed, yet the memories of Vasilow's lived on for many. In 1999, someone decided to re-create those memories, fulfilling a life long dream. Remember Louie's grandson? Gambling that connoisseurs would still seek chocolates and confections prepared using the strictest of guidelines (the ones outlined by his ancestors), plans were drawn, papers were signed, equipment was purchased, and ingredients were sourced. The culmination of those efforts were realized in 2002, when Vasilow's Confectionery was reborn, much to the delight of "old-timers" and "first-timers" alike.

Two generations later, times may have changed, but their commitment to produce candy of superlative quality has not. Having had the privilege of observing true masters creating their finest offerings is a secret unto itself, and the endeavor to replicate the treasures crafted by them has been a tremendous undertaking, one which has not been taken lightly.

Their proprietary recipes, many from the original Vasilow Bros. book of formulations, combined with contemporary creations such as their signature truffles, have enabled them to preserve the art of "homemade" candy making, creating a taste-pleasing blend of old and new.

Since its inception eighty years ago, customers have always associated the Vasilow's name with excellence in quality confections. Although our location today is a few blocks away from the shop where Grandpa and Uncle Jim started it all, the commitment to provide their customers with the freshest, finest, and best tasting candy available remains unchanged.

Special thanks to Jim and Kate!

Visit their website:
See this article on them: