Thursday, January 29, 2009


This is the off season. It is, admittedly, a time of relaxation, to some extent. Certainly, there are many things going on, and much more to prepare for.

Now we are preparing for our spring orders. Bottles, corks, capsules, labels. What new labels still need to be approved and printed? How many do we need to order? We need to schedule our conferences…Cornell Cooperative Extension seminars, Wineries Unlimited wine trade show, sending out wines for reviews, sending them out for wine competitions around the country, and many more things.

As well, maple syrup season is about to hit us full front. March will be a busy bottling time for us. We’ll bottle the wines ready for sale in spring and summer, and bottle reds in March and April we’ll release later in the year. A of course we'll also bottle maple syrup.

There’s vines to be pruned, new vineyards to plant, new construction projects to be conquered.

That said, it was not a tough decision to attend a dinner invitation, informal as it was, over our winemaker’s house Steve Casscles. We dined with Bob Redford and Linda Piero from the Hudson Valley Wine Magazine and some friends the Bellucci’s.

We arrived at Steve and Lilly’s house which was still colorfully festooned with warm and bright holiday lights. The effect was warm and wonderful. The night was spent trying dozens of different wines Steve had made as a home winemaker. Reds, whites, ports, and sherries. It was an incredible evening.

From the barn to the basement, to the kitchen where steaming pots of spaghetti and chicken in sauce and smothered in cheese, awaitedmus, flanked by a large fresh salad and lots of wonderful bread.

We chatted about Hudson Valley wines and about the future. And we generally had a wonderful time. It was a great big break from the winter that has gripped the valley this season. The house was warm and cheerful. The company bright and chatty.

It was one of those nights, Dominique and I remarked later, that made us happy we got into this lifestyle. And that we have met so many wonderful people since we arrived here. Even if we did have to go home and get up early for labeling on Sunday morning.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

This year very good friends of our will be opening up a new creamery in Columbia County, right here in Ghent NY, called Pampered Cow. They were just written up in the Chatham Courier by Lori Selden, President of Columbia County and CEO of Mexican Radio. The article appeared in the Thursday, January 22, 209 edition of the newspaper, page B3.

The operation is the brainchild of Matthew Scott, Dan Berman, and Doug Ginn. Matt and Doug have been real friends of our winery. And we are very proud of their efforts in starting this new creamery, and happy for them as friends. It's great for Ghent, it's great for Columbia County, and most of all it's great for everyone because the cheese will be phenomenal!

Matt is committed to doing something in the area, and being involved with local produce and farming. His brother-in-law is a cheesemaker who has worked at Sprout Creek and Hawthorne Valley, as well as pitched in to help Dante at Milk Thistle. Doug is an excellent cheesemaker, who also trained in farms throughout Italy. He's always playing with milk and making something exotic and wonderful.

The guys have been refurbishing Matt's old barn into a distribution center and a creamery. The sinks and cold storage fridges have been installed. The transformation is breathtaking. The cheese vat is in, the freezers are turned on, and they are painting. It's nice to see both the farm land surrounding their house be kept in agricultural use (Matt leases his farm lands to Hawthorne Valley) and to see the barn being saved.

You can go to their website to learn more about Pampered Cow, which also distributes a fair amount of chese as wll as is going to be making cheese. Their website is:
The guys have been really working hard to make things happen. And we're very excited to get the cheese, as we will certainly carry it when it comes out!

Congrats so far, and good luck with the rest

Best, Carlo, Dominique, Dylan and Dawson!

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Henry Hudson (1570 – 1611) was an English sea explorer and navigator in the early 17th century. Hudson was born in London, England. He is presumed to have died in 1611 in Hudson Bay, Canada, after he was set adrift with his son and seven others by his crewmen, following a mutiny. Little is known of Hudson's early life. He is thought to have spent many years at sea, beginning as a cabin boy at 16 and gradually working his way up to ship's captain.

1607 to 1609
In 1607, the Muscovy Company of England hired Hudson to find the Northeast Passage to China. It was thought at the time that, because the sun shone for three months in the northern latitudes, the ice would melt and a ship could travel across the top of the world to the Spice Islands. The English were battling the Dutch and Spanish for Northeast Passage routes. Hudson may have traveled to just 577 nautical miles (1,069 km) south of the North Pole and it is claimed by Thomas Edge (who was often inaccurate) that Hudson discovered what is now known as Jan Mayen island — although there is no cartographical or written proof of this discovery[1] — before turning around and returning home in September. Hudson visited Spitsbergen — the first Englishman to do so. In 1608, Hudson made a second attempt, trying to go across the top of Russia. He made it to Novaya Zemlya but was forced to turn back.

In 1609, Hudson was chosen by the Dutch East India Company to find an easterly passage to Asia. He was told to sail around the Arctic Ocean north of Russia, into the Pacific and so to the Far East. Hudson could not complete his intended route due to the ice that had plagued his previous voyages, and those of many others before him.

Having heard rumors by way of Jamestown and John Smith, he and his crew decided to try to seek out a Southwest Passage through North America. After crossing the Atlantic Ocean, his vessel, the Halve Maen (Half Moon), sailed around briefly in the Chesapeake Bay and entered Delaware Bay on August 28. Hudson concluded that these waterways did not lead to the Pacific. He then moved into New York Harbor and proceeded up what is today the Hudson River. He made it as far as Albany, New York, where the river narrows, before he was forced to turn around, realizing that this was not the Southwest Passage. In fact, no Southwest Passage to the Pacific existed north of the Strait of Magellan until one was created by the construction of the Panama Canal between 1903 and 1914. The Native Americans, who relayed the information to John Smith, were likely referring to what are known today as the Great Lakes.

Henry Hudson as he appeared at the Farmer's Market, Hudson, NY.

Along the way, Hudson traded with several native tribes, obtaining shells, beads and furs. His voyage established Dutch claims to the region and the fur trade that prospered there. New Amsterdam in Manhattan became the capital of New Netherland in 1625. On his return trip to Amsterdam, he stopped in Dartmouth, England and was detained by authorities there, who wanted access to his log. He managed to pass the log to the Dutch ambassador to England who sent it, along with his report, to Amsterdam [2].

In 1610, Hudson managed to get backing for yet another voyage, this time under the English flag. The funding came from the Virginia Company and the British East India Company. At the helm of his new ship, the Discovery, he stayed to the north (some claim he deliberately stayed too far south on his Dutch-funded voyage), reaching Iceland on May 11, the south of Greenland on June 4, and then rounding the southern tip of Greenland.

Excitement was very high due to the expectation that the ship had finally found the Northwest Passage through the continent. On June 25, the explorers reached the Hudson Strait at the northern tip of Labrador. Following the southern coast of the strait on August 2, the ship entered Hudson Bay. Hudson spent the following months mapping and exploring its eastern shores. In November however, the ship became trapped in the ice in James Bay, and the crew moved ashore for the winter.

John Collier's painting of Henry Hudson with his son and some crew members after a mutiny on his icebound ship. The boat was set adrift and never heard from again.

Hudson coat of arms
When the ice cleared in the spring of 1611, Hudson planned to continue exploring but his crew wanted to return home. Matters came to a head and the crew mutinied in June 1611. They set Hudson, his teenage son John, and eight crewmen - either sick and infirm, or loyal to Hudson - adrift in a small open boat. According to Abacuck Prickett's journal, the castaways were provided with powder and shot, some pikes, an iron pot, some meal, and other miscellaneous items, as well as clothing. However Prickett's journal is disingenous, favoring the point of view of the mutineers, who knew they would be tried in England. Some argue that the abandoned men were provided with nothing and expected to die. The small boat kept pace with the Discovery for some time as the abandoned men rowed towards her but eventually Discovery's sails were let loose. Hudson was never seen again.

Only eight of the thirteen mutinous crewmen survived to return to Europe, and although arrested, none were ever punished for the mutiny and Hudson's death. One theory holds that they were considered valuable as sources of information, having travelled to the New World.[3] Henry Hudson has landmarks named after him, including Hudson Bay, Hudson Strait, Hudson County, New Jersey, Hudson, NY, Hudson Valley and the Hudson River.


There are many celebrations packing this year's calendar. Go to this URL for the most updated list of events in the region:

5/1/2007 - 12/31/2009
Beneath the City - An Archaeological Perspective of Albany
Albany is a defining artifact of New York society. Beneath the city´s streets, sidewalks, backyards and buildings are layers of soil that contain objects that were made, used and discarded by former residents. Each item reveals information about the people who created and used it. Research in Albany has demonstrated how archaeology can provide us with a unique way of learning about our past. Archaeologists work at sites, where they recover information from features and artifacts. Some of these discoveries and their meaning can be seen in an exhibit at the New York State Museum about archaeological excavations in Albany related to the early Dutch settlement, a colonial rum distillery, the expansion of the city from the initial settlement and the daily life of residents in the past.

2/7/2009 - 1/3/2010
Hudson River Panorama: 400 Years of Art, History and Culture - Hudson 400 To commemorate the nationally significant 2009 Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial, the Albany Institute of History & Art is developing a major exhibition called THE HUDSON RIVER: SYMBOL OF AMERICA - HUDSON 400, a fully illustrated publication with scholarly essays and a broad range of related educational programs. The exhibition will be on view at the museum from March through December 2009.

Flowing south for 315 miles, from Lake Tear of the Clouds in the Adirondacks to New York City, the Hudson River has become a national symbol. The AIHA´s Quadricentennial exhibition, The Hudson River: Symbol of America will explore the past, present and future of the Hudson Valley region as will the complementary book, related education and public programs, online and interactive learning tools. The AIHA will utilize its vast collections along with collections from other museums, collectors and community members to tell the story of the Hudson River and celebrate its role in making American history, culture and art.

4/1/2009 - 3/31/2010
1609 - Hudson 400 An exhibit designed to dispel myths about Henry Hudson, the Dutch and the Native Peoples of New York State, and to explore the many continuing legacies of the Dutch and Native Peoples in the State of New York.

6/1/2009 - 12/31/2009
"The Hudson River: A Voyage Through Time" - Hudson 400 The Westchester County Archives and the Westchester County Historical Society are collaborating on a website that will celebrate the Hudson/Fulton Quadricentennial in 2009. The website will explore the relationship between the Hudson River and the history of Westchester County through primary source materials from communities along the river and through a guided tour abroad a steamship traveling from New York City to Peekskill using Wade´s panoramic map of the Hudson River ca. 1847 as a backdrop. Designated a Quadricentennial Legacy project, it will have an educational impact far beyond 2009.

6/13/2009 - 10/10/2010
Dutch New York: The Roots of Hudson Valley Culture-Hudson 400 This exhibition explores New York´s Dutch roots and how this heritage has been interpreted over the centuries. From legends and celebration to scholarly anaylsis, New Yorkers´ understanding of their unique past contributed to the tregion´s distinctive present. Paintings, prints, photographs, furniture, decorative arts and maps tell stories of five key moments of Dutch influence: 1609, the Half Moon´s arrival; 1709, Dutch culture under English rule; 1809, Washington Irving´s stories of Dutch heritage; 1909, the Hudson Fulton-Celebration´s promotion of a common Dutch past; and 2009, a moment of debate over historical ""celebrations"". The companion publication will be distributed by Fordham University Press.

7/3/2009 - 12/31/2010
Permanent, New Netherland: A Sweet and Alien Land exhibit in 2009 - Hudson 400 Crailo, the museum of the Dutch in the udson Valley, reopens with the new exhibits and expanded programs illuminating the history of the colonial Dutch and their interaction with the Native Americans.

9/1/2009 - 12/31/2009
Hudson River: Mount Marcy to Manhattan Theme Semester in the Fall of 2009 - Hudson 400 The University at Albany will offer the Hudson River: Mount Marcy to Manhattan Theme Semester in the Fall of 2009. Commemorating the 400th anniversary of the exploration of the Hudson-Champlain region, faculty, invited guest presenters, and students will trace the many consequences of the historic voyages of discovery by Henry Hudson from the south and Samuel de Champlain from the north.

Through a series of lectures, events, tours, films, exhibits, music and sound performances and academic courses, UAlbany will present a panoramic and longitudinal view of the dynamic life of the Hudson River and the Hudson-Champlain corridor -- from its pre-Colonial past to the present. The theme semester will reveal the many facets of this wide region and our multiple relationships to it through the perspective of artists, writers, geographers, historians, anthropologists, archaeologists, environmentalists, photographers, filmmakers, radio producers, and more.

9/1/2009 - 12/31/2009
River - UAlbany Group Exhibition - Hudson 400 Commemorating the 400th anniversary of the Hudson-Champlain region, faculty, invited guest presenters, and students will trace the many consequences of the historic voyages of discovery by Henry Hudson from the south and Samuel de Champlain from the north.Through a series of lectures, events, tours, films, exhibits, music and sound performances, and academic courses, UAlbany will present a panoramic and longitudinal view of the dynamic life of the Hudson River and the Hudson-Champlain corridor - from its pre-Colonial past to the present. The theme semester will reveal the many facets of this wide region and our multiple relationships to it through the perspective of artists, writers, geographers, historians, anthropologists, archaeologists, environmentalists, photographers, filmmakers, radio producers, and more.

9/12/2009 - 7/26/2010
Double Dutch: Exploring the Soul of Dutch Art Through the Works of Seven Installation Artists ""Double Dutch"", featured in the main 12,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space of the HVCCA seeks to explore, through the installation of extraordinary work by seven contemporary Dutch artists, the common thread of architecture and structure that resonated in the Dutch works of over 200 artist studios visited by the curators. The fact that there was an early Dutch settlement in this area, an area which parallels the landscape of Holland, challenges viewers of the exhibition to understand the impace of Dutch influence in the region. The exhibition will include emerging Dutch artists such as Karen Sargsyan (Rijksacademie ´07 and HVCCA 2008 Artist-in-Resident), and Alon Levy (Pris-De-Rome competition at De Apple, 2007), as well as more established artists such as Mark Manders.

9/15/2009 - 12/13/2009
Uncharted - Hudson 400 Using Henry Hudson’s expeditions as its metaphoric point of departure, this group exhibition will consider journeys of discovery depicted by between six to eight contemporary artists working in a range of media. Hudson’s failed attempts to find an all-water trade route to Asia revealed instead a continent filled with undreamed of natural resources. By turns humorous and ominous, Uncharted features artists whose work explores the possibilities and unexpected results of navigating unfamiliar waters.
Curators: Janet Riker, Director, University Art Museum; Corinna Ripps Schaming, Associate Director/Curator, University Art Museum.

10/2/2009 - 12/31/2009
Original Art by Members of the Colonie Art League The 300-member Colonie Art League will present approximately 100 original works of art featuring themes and scenes celebrating Albany´s Quadricentennial. Many of the works, all by local artists, will be for sale. An added feature of the exhibit will be the display of the prize-winning art works from the Colonie Art League´s invitational exhibit by student artists from all the high schools in Albany County.Directions:The Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center is located at the corner of Broadway and Clinton Avenue in Albany. Public parking is accessible via Spencer Street off Broadway.

Henry Hudson Planetarium Saturday Star Shows Children´s Star Show - 11:00am Interactive program exploring the stars, planets, comets and constellations in the night sky. In celebration of the quadricentennial of Henry Hudson´s voyage, children will meet Henry (puppet) and discover how he used the stars to sail his boat here in 1609 (Geared to children ages 3-7 and their families) All seats $3.00Albany Star Sighting - 1:00pm Interactive program identifies stars, planets, comets and constellations in the night sky and the tools and techniques for becoming an amateur astronomer. Learn how Henry Hudson used celestial navigation as we celebrate 400 years since his historic voyage in 1609. (Geared for skywatchers ages 8 and above) All seats $3.00Directions:The Henry Hudson Planetarium is located at the Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center, corner of Broadway and Clinton Avenue, Albany. Public parking is available via Spencer Street.

New York Times
January 2, 2009
Kathryn Matthews

Hudson’s Art and Antiques
Throughout its colorful history, Hudson has reinvented itself: as a once-bustling late-18th-century whaling town, a bawdy 19th-century industrial city and now the place to go for a rustic French country table, a pair of Swedish Sirocco chairs or a quirky objet d’art. Along with over 50 antiques shops, this small Hudson River city also offers galleries, restaurants and lively performance arts.
Get a sense of place with a walk through one of “the richest dictionaries of architectural history in the state,” according to Patricia Fenoff, a Hudson historian. From the riverside promenade, stroll up Warren Street past Federal, Italianate and Queen Anne buildings. The Hudson Opera House (327 Warren Street; 518-822-1438; is a restoration-in-progress, with exhibition space and a center for concerts, readings, lectures and workshops.
A Warren Street gallery crawl offers provocative exhibits at Limner Gallery (No. 123), contemporary art at Nicole Fiacco Gallery (No. 336) and the work of Hudson Valley artists at Carrie Haddad Gallery (No. 622).
Browse the shelves at Spotty Dog Books & Ale (440 Warren Street; 518-671-6006), a converted 19th-century firehouse where you’ll find 10,000 titles and eight artisanal beers on tap. Get a make-up lesson ($90) at Face Stockholm (401 Warren Street; 518-822-9474). Or book a massage at Bodhi Holistic Spa (323 Warren Street; 518-828-2233).
Dine casual (burgers and soup) or fancy (foie gras panna cotta and dill-baked artic char) at the Scandinavian-inspired DA/BA (225 Warren Street; 518-249-4631). Sample flights of Iberian wine at p.m. (119 Warren Street; 518-828-2833), a new tapas and wine bar. Or tuck into a crepe at Le Gamin (609 Warren Street; 518-828-2885), where you can shop for tableware between courses.
Hudson is rich in charming bed-and-breakfasts. The Inn at Hudson (317 Allen Street; 518-822-9322;; from $200) occupies a Dutch-Jacobean mansion designed for a soapmaking heir. The Country Squire B & B (251 Allen Street; 518-822-9229;; from $115) is in a former convent. And Mount Merino Manor (4317 Route 23; 518-828-5583;; from $175) sits on 100 wooded acres near the Olana State Historic Site, the stunning Persian-style home of Frederic Church (5720 State Route 9G; 518-828-0135;

Read the rest at: