Friday, September 26, 2008
A Family Vineyard Takes Root
Marilyn Bethany on 09/23/08 at 09:09 AM
A lot of deskbound urban executives dream of one day owning a vineyard, but few pursue the dream as studiously as Carlo DeVito, owner with his wife Dominique of the Hudson-Chatham Winery. Instead of building castles in the air, DeVito, Editorial Director of Sterling Publishing ("We all,” he says ruefully of the vineyard-owning set, “seem to have day jobs,"), wrote a book, East Coast Wineries, a Complete Guide from Maine to Virginia (Rutgers University Press). “That helped me decide on the Hudson Valley,” he says. “I wanted to be in New York State because they are making some great wines here. And the Valley is gorgeous, very fertile. Besides I’ve always lived near water.”
In February ‘06, the DeVitos, who have twin sons Dylan (left in photo) and Dawson, now ten, closed on a fourteen-acre farm in Ghent. That May, they put in three acres of grapes, with the intention of adding two or three acres each year. Alas, the first year’s backbreaking labor met with heartbreak last year: an entire year’s growth was lost to deer. Now surrounded by an electrified fence ("Not how we imagined it, but..."), the vines are on their way again. “It’s one step forward, one step back,” Carlo says.
One giant step forward from the start was discovering Ralph Cooley III, a neighbor whose grandfather Ralph Cooley I, had run a dairy farm, Brisklea, where the DeVito’s now live and work. “When we moved here, someone recommended that we contact Ralph to help with the farming,” says Dominique. “So we called him, and he and Carlo hit it off. He is now our farm manager. It’s nice that a family that was historically in farming has reconnected with the agricultural life.”
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