Monday, August 24, 2009

Hudson-Chatham Winery
Wins Four More Medals
Results from the
New York Food & Wine Classic 2009

Silver Medals

Hudson-Chatham Winery - 2008 Cabernet Franc

Hudson-Chatham Winery - Paperbirch Highlands Fine Ruby

Bronze Medals

Hudson-Chatham Winery - 2008 Malbec

Hudson-Chatham Winery - Paperbirch Palladian White
RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY So, it that a new pool at the Hudson-Chatham Winery? Nope! That's our new crush pad!So here we are, trying to get our new slab ready so we have a working crush pad for the winery, and the weather has interfered yet again.

Rain, and more rain, have hit the valley. It was the summer of the monsoon.

So Ralph and Tim had graded the area, put in forms, laid down gravel, and have the metal re-enforcement materials set...and then the massive rains dumped some more on us over the weekend.

We were supposed to pour concrete this weekend. After the area get pumped out, we'll have to let it dry out and re-set and hopefully pour next Friday or Saturday.

Such is farming life!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Pretty soon harvest will be here and we have to be ready. Along with increased quantity of wine comes the need for a proper place to hold our crush other than the backyard between our house and the tasting/blending room.

So, we cleared out the land behind the barn so the grape trucks could pull up right alongside the crusher/destemmer and clean-up would be a snap. A nice, even, level crush pad. It's not the buggest crush pad you ever saw, but it works.

The grade behind the barn is awful, and the run off water from the hill behind the barn causes a small white water stream between our house and the cars and trucks parked in the front parking area for us and the other winery folks. Ralph is trying his best to create a new pathway and a high level of course rocks, to disperse the run off in bad rain storms and floods.

There's plenty of room now for when the multiple tons os of grapes wil be harvested in another month or two.


Meet our newest employee - Coner Outwater.
He is our all round utility player - he weeds, moves inventory, paints, landscapes, and many other things. He is our utility man. When something needs moving, fixing, clean-up, Coner is the man with a plan. And he's always ready with a cheerful smile and a happy retort.

Just as important, Coner loves Cinder, our Dalmatian. Coner eagerly helped give Cinder a bath the other day. Cinder lapped up the attention and repaid Coner with many kisses.
Coner has been a great addition to our staff and to the winery. And he is very well liked.
Coner is employed through Columbia Work Link, a division of COARC. COARC has been an advocate and resource for individuals experiencing disabilities and their families since 1965. COARC currently provides comprehensive services to children and adults both in the community and at over 20 locations throughout Columbia County. Hudson-Chatham Winery supports COARC and their work.
Please contact them at:
Columbia Worklink: (518) 828-5087
409 Warren Street
Hudson, NY 12534

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Well, the traffic could not have been worse. I arrived, pretty easily at the bottom the of the Hudson Valley, far away from the reaches of the George Washington Bridge (and its attendant gruesome traffic). I was on the stretch that connects the Garden State Parkway to I-87. I had just driven out of New York City with the intention of beating the weekend traffic, and making a straight line for For Love of Wine.

Then, Fate intervened. There was solid traffic on I-87 from the moment I got on. Even before the toll just after the exit for Route 17. And long after. Just miles an miles of cars. No construction. Just car, after car, after car.

I got a call from David Jackson, our sales director.
"You're on the road?" he asked anxiously.
"Yeah, I'm on the road alright," I said. I won't write the other words I used.
Then I got a call from Dominique...same conversation.

Needless to say, I arrived at Crossgates Mall and hour and twenty minutes late! I was fuming. I was almost out of gas - I'd never seen my fuel gauge so low! And I had missed the exit for the mall twice, since it's not properly marked on I-87....but after three passes, I finally figured it out.

I the mean time, I switched from polo shirt to dress shirt and jacket. I performed that little trick just north of Exit 21 on I-87. I couple of people were looking at me driving while changing. Some one gave me a thumbs up!

Once inside I was both angry and relieved. Angry that it took so long (four hours to make a two hour trip) and I was so late. And relieved to finally be there. David had covered for me since 4pm. Thank you David!

For Love of Wine was created by contemporary classical musician's Allan Von Schenkel and Kristen Williams, also known as the Basso Moderno Duo. They are one of the nicest couples you'll ever meet. They actually have a Grand Piano and a large bass in the store. At one point in the evening, they performed a small classical/jazz piece for me. They are truly fantastic musicians who have played all over the country and all over the world. They are so talented. It was fabulous!

One of the things I like about For Love of Wine is the way they display their wines. Firstly, they have a limited selection. The wines are unique, and hand selected. This isn't a stack 'em high and watch 'em fly kind of place. Wines are arranged by taste. From light fruity reds to deep, dark earthy blends. From sweet light whites, to complex oaky whites. It's not arranged by country or region. It's arranged by flavor.

They could not have been nicer. The mall was a little slow Friday night, but For Love of Wine had a number of people coming through. Longtime, dedicated customers, as well as curious shoppers.

Allan and Kristen are great with people and they spent lots of time with each of their customers. They are friendly, affable, and love to talk about wine and music.

The store is also highlighted by unique sets of glassware, made only in the US, and is adorned by paintings by a local artist. They also have an excellent selection of wine books. I saw a number of titles I had never seen before. Which of course gives me a reason to go back....for myself.

I had left my phone/camera in the van in all my haste. I'll take more pictures to post.

A fabulous place to come and buy and talk about wine and music.

And thanks to Allan and Kristen!

On Saturday, August 15, Dominique finally made it up to Vonadeau Wine & Spirits in Berlin, NY, to do a tasting of our wines. Cheryl, who owns the store, and her friend Richard, who has helped her construct and run it, are two of the nicest people you could meet - and smart, too: the store carries only New York State wines. Way to go!

It was a gorgeous, classic summer afternoon of bright sunny skies, and the ride up from Ghent was beautiful. It was not nearly as long as I thought it would be, either. A straight shot up 22N from New Lebanon, past farms and fields and rising mountains. It took about 45 minutes from the winery. Cheryl and Richard told me to take a left at the blinking light in Berlin and then go around the tree at the next intersection to get onto Main Street where the store is. Gotta love a place with a tree at its main intersection!! Berlin is a very charming little town that appears to be on the up-and-up - and certainly Vonadeau is part of that direction.

The store was beautifully arranged, and they had a table waiting for me with all the wines displayed and a selection of NY-state cheeses. No sooner was I set up than a large group arrived for a tasting. The party started, and it kept going strong til I had to leave shortly after 5 pm. I was able to take these photos of an afternoon very well spent.

Thank you, Cheryl and Richard, for your hospitality and your support of ours and other New York State wineries!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


So, indeed, life does go on. In June, July and August, despite the horrific weather we’ve had this season, the plants revived, and the vines sprouted anew. This of course is normal for hybrids, which have second and third shoots. Hybrids became popular when vinifera, which do not have secondary or tertiary buds, died after such late frosts in the past.

The Seyval Blanc, located in the southern, or front block, has rebounded the best. The Golden Muscat have also rebounded well. The DeChaunac have rebounded with plant life, but have proffered few if any grapes. So we’ll have to wait until next year, and work with some other vineyards to buy in our red grapes. Same goes for Chancellor.

The third block, the new Baco Noir block, has grown very nicely. The first half of the planting has prospered. And the second group has done nicely, but are much younger plants, and are much smaller. And the weather hasn’t helped.

Regardless, there are hundreds and hundreds of bunches of grapes in the vineyards. If the weather would only improve, we might have a good, solid shot for a decent vintage.

One problem right now is spraying for downy mildew and for Japanese beetles. Downy mildew is a result of all the moisture that’s been hanging around in the air. The moisture causes a slight downy white film over the grape bunches. Japanese beetles require a spraying as well. This is our first year seeing downy mildew, but it is not our first year dealing with the dreaded beetle infestations.

Despite all of it, nature is a tragedy and a miracle all in one.

Sunday, August 09, 2009


We are proud and pleased to announce we are now at the Philmont Farmers Market, every Sunday, 10 am to 1 pm.

Also there is Corinna's Comestibles, Bench 8 artisanal cheese, and many others.

We are very excited to be with the folks at Philmont, and look forward to seeing there on Sunday!

Special Thanks to Marjorie Weisskohl for additional photos.

Friday, August 07, 2009


This Saturday, August 8, 2009 between 12-5:30 is our second Annual Sangria Festival which we have named SANGRIASTOCK in honor of the 40th Anniversary of the great music fest of 1969....another great Hudson Valley event, by the way!!!!

$5 gets you five sangria's under the big tent!!! Food is being supplied by Mexican Radio!!

We have a fabulous Flamenco guitarist - Jose Miralles!!!

Come on down to Ghent, NY, and create a second 'happening'!!!!