Friday, April 30, 2010

Join Us for a Blessing of the Vines

As we welcome the sunshine and warmer temperatures of spring, we are delighted to have Father Gary Gelfenbein of St. James Parish in Chatham, NY, come and do a blessing of the vines for us. He will be in the vineyard on Saturday, May 1, performing the blessing promptly at noon. There will be a sparkling wine toast afterward.

We are pleased to announce that we are back in stock with the Lindenwald White as well as our Riesling and Gewurtztraminer - all great wines to enjoy on a warm day like they're predicting for May 1.

If you don't know about these wines, the Lindenwald White is a blend of the Diamond & Niagara grapes. It is a sweet white wine that has a Concord grape-like quality, but is not quite as sweet and finishes clean. Delightful, refreshing, and surprisingly food-friendly.

The Riesling is a dry version of this New York State-renowned wine. We like it this way because it yields a crisp, clean white wine whose finish tastes of green apples. We love to serve this with a Hudson Valley cheese plate, bread, and fresh fruit.

The Gewurtztraminer is a fun white that is dry but not too dry. It has a lovely floral front with hints of lychee nut, but finishes with a citrusy snap reminiscent of grapefruit. Gewurtz is often served at Thanksgiving because it goes with so many different foods. We love it chilled and "straight up."

Monday, April 26, 2010


The debut of Swoon Kitchenbar's new line of food products at the Hudson-Chatham Winery was a big success!

Jeff and Nina Gimmel, owners of the wonderful Warren Street restaurant, brought the sunshine and their new sausages, chirizo, and pate to the winery, and were instantly swamped by well-wishers and hungry winery visitors. The simmering sounds of sizzling meat and the fabulous aroma filled smoke enrobed the winery with mouth watering smells.

The event was well covered. The Register Star was very nice, and gave the event lots of play in it's pages, as well as getting write ups in other comely alternative-outlets.

Rural Intelligence gave it a very nice mention.

Bill Dowd in the Examiner also wrote up the event.

A great day and great food...and wine.

Hudson-Chatham Winery proudly announces that we now carry Swoon Kitchenbar products! Come on down to the tasting room Saturdays, Sundays, and by appointment, and we'll show you what we have avilable.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Paperbirch Bannerman’s Castle Amber Cream
Wins Gold Medal at
Dallas Morning News Wine Competition 2010

Paperbirch Bannerman’s Castle Amber Cream won a Gold Medal at the Dallas Morning News Wine Competition 2010.The Bannerman’s Amber Cream was one of only four Gold Medals for fortified wine.

The others included:
NV Campbells Muscat Estate Produced and Bottled Australia – Rutherglen – Click Wine Group
2008 Quady Elysium, Black Muscat US – California – Quady Winery
NV Osborne 1827 Pedro Ximenez Spain – Jerez DO – The Wine Group

We think that’s pretty good company.

Bannerman’s Castle Amber Cream – Named after the famed castle-remains of the old munitions manufacturer, a landmark on the Hudson River, our Amber Cream is made in the grand tradition of the great sherries of Portugal. Paperbirch uses the solera method to age our wines in French oak and Italian chestnut to produce an award-winning, consistent, high-quality, cream sherry. A rich, flavorful caramel colored wine with notes of hazelnut and almond, it drinks smooth and finishes warm.

The 2010 competition was the 26th year of The Dallas Morning News Wine Competition. The first competition was held in March of 1985 at the Hyatt Regency Dallas. That first year they invited 15 judges to evaluate the 570 entries they received. For their first 14 years the competition was open only to wines produced in the United States. In 1999 they opened the competition to wines produced in all wine regions of the world. That year they received 1,783 entries. For the 2009 competition they received 3,146 entries from 28 states and 18 countries.

As usual, Rebecca Murphy and staff crafted a panel of experts second to none. Among the judges were the immensely qualified Marguerite Thomas, Travel Editor, The Wine News, Los Angeles Times International Syndicate/Tribune Media Services &; Jeff Siegel, well known freelance wine and spirits writer; Jerry Shriver, Veteran Journalist and Wine Judge; Traci Dutton, Beverage Manager and Sommelier, The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone; Amy Albert, Senior Associate Editor, Bon Appetit and many, many more.

The 2010 competition was held again at the Dallas Convention Center.

The Call
Steve Casscles and Dennis Pitts run a nursery program of heirloom grape vines. And I have taken a liking to them. Among their assortment of grape varietals are some vines that are readily available, especially Baco Noir (but there’s are Caywood Vineyard/Benmarl descendants), and there are less well known vines, like Chelois, which we love, and several others that are old Cornell discards that only ever had a number, but actually, it turns out make great wines, as well as hybrids from the 1850s and 1860s.

Last week, while at work Steve called me to tell me he and Dennis had run out of room in their nursery, and could I put in a small nursery to house 150 vines. I thought it sounded insane, but I agreed.

Buying Lumber and Laying out the Nursery

Two years ago, Steve had asked this same question, and I readily obliged. He left use some canes and told us what to do. We were imbeciles. We stuck the twigs in the ground, watered them once or twice, and then they were run over by the guy who does the mowing in your fields. So much for that!

We didn’t have a nursery, so we had to build one. So I thought I’d go on line and do some reading. While there were much more fancy ones, what we really needed to create was nothing more than a flowerbed. So I went and bout some 4 x 4s, some large spikes, and 6 large sacks of organic, nutrient rich dirt.

I chose a flat-ish space (there’s not one, flat, level space on our whole farm) at the end of one of our raspberry rows, and I laid down my lumber in the appropriate shape, and started pounding stakes in the ground, so the bed wouldn’t lose it’s shape through all the work that was going to take place.

I placed the six large sacks on the ground and walked away. The rest was for Steve.

Steve Arrives

Steve our winemaker and erstwhile vineyard consultant arrived with a posse of workers. Son Noah and old hand Earl went out into the fields to start tying up vines. Son Ben, and his friend Rob, went up to the nursery. Steve was thrilled with the organic dirt, but felt it was too rich in natural fertilizers, and wanted to make sure some of our own dirt, mineral rich, was also folded into the mixture. They dug some dirt up from a near by location, and broke up the soil that was there inside the confines of the bed. They mixed the soils. It was like a giant mud pie game. The young men dug in, with their hands, and blended the two soils like they were making dough. Because of their composition, the two dirts could not have been more different in color and texture. It was amazing to watch.

Then the cuttings, which had been soaking in water for three to four hours, were simply stuck in the big doughy mess that was now the nursery. The blocks were separate and distinct. Baco Noir. Chelois. Some numbered one from the 1960s. The guys worked on their hands and knees for two or three hours by the time it was all done. Then they were off to vine tying.

Clean Up

A few days later, the clean up crew arrived. They picked up all the detritus – empty soil bags, some shards of newspaper they vines had once been wrapped in, clumps of grass from which the dirt had all been shaken out of. It was all put into a barrel and separated back near the winery. Bags and newspapers went to recycling. The grass and other natural elements to our composting pile.

Now the rest is watering and sunshine. And we’ll see what happens. If they die, I will be disappointed, but if we’re successful, we’ll start regenerating our own vines, as we continue to increase the size of our vineyard holdings.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Three Sisters Project is going strong at Hudson-Chatham Winery. People are showing up to taste the Lieb Family Cellars Chardonnay and the Fox Run Pinot Noir. Here's a picture of a Hudson Berkshire Beverage Trail goer, who was at Chatham Brewing, but thrilled with the Three Sisters Project. He bought a Hudson-Chatham wine, the LIeb Family Cellars and the Fox Run!

Lot's of fun stuff to try at the winery!

Friday, April 09, 2010



The Hudson-Berkshire Beverage Trail will celebrate its debut on Saturday, April 10, 2010, with a special event called Pasta & Sauce. To welcome visitors, all Trail establishments will be open from 12 noon to 5 pm.

Trail members L-R include: Sue Goold Miller from Brookview Station Winery-Goold Orchards in Castleton; Helen Eline from Les Trois Emme in Great Barrington; Ben Peacock from Tousey Winery in Germantown; Dominique and Carlo DeVito from Hudson-Chatham Winery in Chatham; Derek & Ashley Grout from Harvest Spirits Valatie; and Wayne Eline from Les Trois Emme. Members not shown, The Chatham Brewery- Chatham; Furnace Brook Winery, Richmond Ma.. Not pictured Trail Director Karen Gardy.

The Hudson-Berkshire Beverage Trail is the premiere beverage trail in New York State, the Hudson Valley, and the Berkshires of Massachusetts. There is nothing like it! Tucked between the Hudson River and the Berkshires, the Trail extends from southeast of Albany down to Germantown, New York, and out to Richmond, Massachusetts in the Berkshires. This diversity also makes the Trail the largest interstate beverage trail in New England. On it, visitors will find handcrafted and award-winning wines, beers, spirits, and ciders. They’ll also experience local food products such as farm-fresh produce, artisanal cheeses, cider donuts and other baked goods, 100% natural maple syrup, and lots more!

“We’re a great culinary and gourmet destination for Albany, Boston, and New York,” says Sue Goold, Trail co-founder and owner of Brookview Station Winery. “We’re within short driving distance from the greater Albany area and the Berkshires, and with easy access from I-90, I-87, and the Taconic Parkway, the Hudson-Berkshire Beverage Trail is a fun and enjoyable experience that’s a great day trip!”

When asked "Why a beverage trail?" Carlo DeVito, Trail co-founder and owner of Hudson-Chatham Winery, responded, “We chose a beverage trail because Harvest Spirits and Chatham Brewing are two exceptional establishments in the area. Core Vodka has won numerous awards, and Chatham Brewing is sold in numerous restaurants throughout the state, including New York City. We can now offer an incredibly exciting, quality experience to visitors to our wonderful part of the country.” He continued, “What other beverage trail features hand-crafted, small batch ales, artisanal vodka, applejack, and eau de vie, as well as gold medal-winning classic vinifera and hybrid wines, gold medal-winning fruit wines, and world-class ciders? No wine or beverage trail can boast that kind of gourmet fire power.”

To mark the opening weekend, all Trail members are participating in a Pasta & Sauce Event from 12 noon to 5:00 pm, where people can visit any Trail member of their choice and pay the normal tasting fees, or buy a Trail Passport for $15 per person ($5 for a designated driver), and receive a great discount that covers beverage – and pasta - tastings at all the participating Trail locations!

Passport Members get:
* Complimentary tasting flights of wine, beer, and spirits at all locations on the specified date
* Complimentary tasting of the special pasta dish featured at each location

Passports will be available on the day of the event at each participating venue! The Hudson-Berkshire Beverage Trail is planning additional events throughout the year, and will be promoting the Trail as an exceptional travel experience for the region any time of year.

For more information contact:
Karen Gardy, Managing DirectorHudson-Berkshire Beverage Trail


Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen are the Two World Wine Guys. They are actually quite accomplished. They came up to do a tasting at Hudson-Chatham Winery and Harvest Spirts, and then in between we travled around beautiful Columbia County for a while.

Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen write about travel, food, wine, trends and culture. Their articles and photographs have appeared in Wine Spectator, (2.4 million readers) Wine Enthusiast, Sherman's Travel, The European, and International Living's IL Postcards. Their work frequently appears in SolTalk, the English-language magazine of the Costa del Sol. Well known in southern Spain, Mike and Jeff have made several appearances on The Mary Harboe Show and The Hannah Murray Show on REM-FM, the largest English-language radio network in continental Europe. They were featured speakers at International Living's Live and Prosper In Europe seminar in Barcelona and they have spoken at Kevin Zraly's Windows On The World Wine Course. Jeff and Mike can be seen in their podcast-style travel and cooking show, Bring it Back Home, on

Mike and Jeff both hold certifications from the International Wine & Spirit Education Trust in London. Mike is a member of the International Travel Writers and Photographers Alliance. He studied journalism at New York University, and holds a degree in marketing from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology. Jeff has over twenty years of experience in food, wine and hospitality. Mike and Jeff home-test recipes for cookbooks, including those published by Williams-Sonoma.

They have visited many of the world’s wine regions, including Spain’s La Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Penedes, Castilla y Leon, La Mancha, Rueda, Jerez, D.O. Malaga, Toro, and Cigales. In France, they have toured Burgundy, Provence, Bordeaux, Sud-Ouest, Alsace, Loire Valley, and Champagne. Among the regions visited in Italy are Tuscany, Chianti, and Friuli. Their travels have also brought them to Tokaj and Eger in Hungary, as well as wine-growing areas in Argentina, Australia, Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Turkey, Greece, and Morocco. Closer to home, they have been to Long Island’s North Fork, and Napa and Sonoma in California.
We stopped in at Old Chatham Sheep Herding Company.

A visit to Harvest Spirits.

And ended at the Old Chatham General Store. A great time was had by all.

Friday, April 02, 2010


March 24, 2010
Hudson-Chatham Winery 2008 Chelois
By Lenn Thompson, Editor-in-Chief

Despite all the naysayers in the media and various wine geek circles, some Hudson River Valley wineries have really embraced hybrids and are making far more serious wines with them.
Hudson-Chatham Winery in Ghent is one such winery. They make a line of vinifera reds, but that fruit comes from Long Island. Their riesling is made with Finger Lakes fruit.
The most interesting wines in the portfolio -- the ones that deserve the most attention -- are hybrids like baco noir and this soon-to-be-released Chelois. Winemaker Steve Casscles has been growing and vinifying hybrids for years and makes some unique, expressive wines from them.
Before trying this wine, I had never tasted Chelois one of over 16,000 hybrids developed by Albert Seibel (1844-1936). Nearly 500 of them went on to be grown commercilaly.
The heritage of Chelois includes such vinifera as Alicante Bouschet and Grenache among others. For many years it was grown in Burgundy.
This Hudson-Chatham Winery 2008 Chelois ($22) is made entirely from fruit grown in Casscles own vineyard -- a 15 year-old block located on the rocky hills adjacent to the Hudson River.
Hand picked, the fruit was manually pressed and aged in French oak for nine months, the wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered.
It's interesting that the Chelois grape was once grown in Burgundy as there is something distantly Burgundian about it. The nose shows a lot of sweet vanilla and oak at first, but also red cherry, dried cranberry and a distant black pepper-crusted grilled mushroom note way in the back.
Soft and light bodied, the palate shows more of a vanilla oak than a toasty oak, with more dried cranberry and cherry flavor. The acidity is subtle but makes the medium-short finish fresh, dry and clean.

Without any tasting history with this grape, I won't delve into the potentially hyperbolic, but there certainly seems to be potential here. This is a good start.
AVA: Hudson River Region
Grapes: 100% Chelois
Production: 50 cases
Price: $22*

In the Hudson Valley, Benmarl Winery and Hudson-Chatham Winery will be taking part in the Three Sisters Project beginning tomorrow, April3, 2010. Each winery will be pouring wines from each of the other two participating regions: those being Finger Lakes and Long Island.

Benmarl Winery will be pouring wines from:
Anthony Road
Macari Vineyards
Hudson-Chatham Winery wiill pour wines from:
Fox Run
Lieb Cellars

It's an exciting opportunity to try these fun new wines without having to travel up to the Finger Lakes or out to Long Island. Come on down to either winery, and go on a tour of New York state without having to leave your own neighborhood!
On Saturday, April 3, the winery will be hosting a Hudson Valley Artisanal Cheese Day with Glenn Golovin. He will be sampling favorites from Harpersfield, Hawthorne Valley, the Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, Nettle Meadow, R&G, and more.
HOURS: 12:00 - 5:30 pm

2008 Hudson-Chatham Chelois
Relased at last!

We put this 2008 vintage in the bottle last September and are just releasing it now (though we were tempted to keep it all for ourselves). A delicious Pinot Noir-style dry red that we have found to be irresistible. Try it for yourself. We only made 20 cases! Read Lenn Thompson's review at New York Cork Report.