Friday, May 28, 2010


Claret derives from the French clairet (pronounced /klar-it/), a now uncommon dark rosé and the most common wine exported from Bordeaux until the 18th century. The standard style of Bordeaux wine has not always been deep red. It used to be closer to a rosé, hence the French clairet, meaning pale. The Plantagenet kingdom, covering England and much of France from 1152 to 1453, encouraged wine trade between the regions. As the taste for clairet developed in England "claret" was adopted to describe it. The meaning of "claret" has changed over time to refer to a dry, dark red Bordeaux.

Claret No. 1 is the debut of our much anticipated first Cabernet Sauvignon based wine from Hudson-Chatham Winery. In the best tradition of Assemblage wines, this is a blend of handmade wines. Unfiltered. Unfined. This wine is 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, and 33% a blend of estate grown hybrids. All are of the 2008 vintage, and were made separately. They were then blended by hand, and set in French oak.

The result is an incredibly supple wine, with strong dark fruit flavors of stewed prunes, dark raspberries, and dark cherry. Whisps of mocha and chocolate are also there. The acids of the hybrids, and the tannin of the Cabernet and Merlot balance out the wine nicely, for an incredible wine experience.

Claret No. 1 is a one of a kind wine, made in an extremely small quantity, and only available when you join the Hudson-Chatham Wine Club.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Updated 05/13/2010 06:11 PM
Frost ruins some Hudson Valley grapes
By: Beth Croughan
Some areas in the Hudson Valley were hit with freezing temperatures earlier this week. And while it seems to be warming up, our Beth Croughan tells us some Hudson Valley wineries are still feeling the effects.
GHENT, N.Y. -- "They'll be a bunch of plants that won't produce anything and so we'll have to rip those out and start all over again," explained Carlo DeVito, Owner of the Hudson-Chatham Winery.

Carlo DeVito and his wife, Dominique, planted those vines five years ago. And now, after two nights of freezing temperatures, 80 percent of their crop is temporarily ruined and some, ruined for good.

"You're doing all this work. We go through pruning and tying and we go through cultivating the soil around the vines. You see all these buds come through and we're thinking yeah, we're going to have a good year. And especially after last year, it really takes a lot of wind out of your sails," said DeVito.

Last year, the couple's winery was also hit by frost.
(This year's vines are starting to recover. By May 23, 2010 the vines are begining to show new growth. But we've lost a good half of our crop.)

"In a normal season if we have a cold April and a warm May, by May 20th, we've got some nice leaves on the vines and it starts to look real pretty," DeVito said.

But a warm April, topped with cold temperatures this May, is pushing the DeVito's back about four to six weeks and out a couple thousand dollars. The DeVito's grow hybrid grapes, which means each vine can bud a second or third time. But it'll take a few weeks and will only produce about one third of their annual crop.

"We still have to pay guys to walk through the vineyards and spray them and do all that other stuff. But for one third less the fruit. So for me to make up the fruit, I've got to go out and spend thousands of dollars to buy grapes from some other farmer that got lucky or got luckier than us this year," said DeVito.

DeVito plans to invest in fire pots next year. They help circulate the air to keep the grapes from freezing. But all it takes is one night of 32 degree temperatures.

"Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me."

At least three other wineries in the Hudson Valley experienced frost damage.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


One of America's " 25 farm-to table restaurants" - Best Life Magazine, February 2009

Local 111 is located in the Village of Philmont at the geographic center of Columbia County — a rural area that is blessed with some of the best farms in the Hudson Valley.

At the heart of their restaurant is the desire to use the wonderful bounty of these local farms in a setting that evokes the warmth and sense of community of a small town general store. Their commitment to using local produce is combined with their desire to provide excellent food and drink at prices accessible to everyone.

They take great pride in the stable base of customers who return to Local 111 again and again, whether they live within walking distance or travel from Dutchess or Greene counties or the Berkshires.

The are both proud and pleased that our wines are now available at Local 111.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Spring is in the air, and the Hudson Farmers Market is open once again. The tents were up, the stands were brimming with local produce and products, and people, dogs, and children wre milling about, browsing and shopping.

Paul from Red Ok Farm with his 14 month old son.

Our stand, with the new farm market signs.

A new release of cheese, Eclipse. An ash covered goat. Fabulous!

Children playing at the market. A great way to spend a Saturday morning. Come on down!


Today, we bottled 6 barrels of Empire 2008 red. Empire is a unique reserve meritage. It is the first New York State “Super Blend” being made up of signature grapes from three of New York’s most accomplished wine regions. This historic wine is one-third Merlot grown on the North Fork of Long Island. It is also one-third Cabernet Franc, the most popular growing red varietal of the Finger Lakes Region. And the final one-third is Baco Noir fast becoming the most well-known red grape in the Hudson Valley.

The wine was made and blended at Hudson-Chatham Winery. Two thirds of the blend was stored in French oak and one third was stored in American oak for approximately 16 months. The lots were then blended and stored in stainless steel before being bottled. The wine was then bottle aged for six months.

The result is a fruit forward, medium-bodied ruby red. Vanilla, raspberry, plum, and other red fruits are bountiful on the nose. The plum comes through as promised, along with the raspberry, and other spices. Beautifully hand crafted, the wine shows an exceptional balance between fruit, acidity, and tannins.

Empire recieved rave reviews from Lenndevours, Valley Table, SteveBarnes of the Albany Union Times, William M. Dow,Jeff Richards of the Democrat Chronicle of Rochester, and the Hudson Valley Wine Goddess, among many others.

Empire 2008 got a rave review in a barrel tasting from Debbie Gioquindo, the HV Wine Goddess. We'll release it in Spetember 2010! Be on the look out!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Attendees sample the vintages and varieties at Catskill Fortnightly Club’s Wine & Cheese Tasting Festival on Saturday. The annual event ­ a fundraiser for playground equipment at Elliott Park ­ was held at Beattie-Powers Place, the village of Catskill’s historic showpiece. (Jim Planck/Hudson-Catskill Newspapers)

Wine and cheese fest shines yet again
By Jim Planck

Hudson-Catskill NewspapersPublished: Sunday, May 9, 2010 2:13 AM EDTCATSKILL ­

The Catskill Fortnightly Club’s Fourth Annual Wine & Cheese Tasting Festival at the historic Beattie-Powers Place on Saturday gave ample evidence of the event’s success and why it grows in attendance every year.This year’s goal for the yearly fundraiser was to generate revenue towards purchasing and installing new playground equipment at Elliott Park, and festival co-chair Amy von Scholz said the day boded well.

“It’s a fabulous event,” she said “and the weather is on our side, despite threatening earlier in the day.”Von Scholz said attendance for the popular event grows every year.

“Absolutely,” she said. “It’s not quite double (each time), but we certainly get a 30 percent increase every year, approximately.”

Based on attendance flow at mid-afternoon, von Scholz said everything was looking promising.“I’m expecting at least 200 people, maybe 250,” she said, “which is what we hoped for.”

“And that’s $20 a head,” she said, “and that’s good money.”“If we could raise $5,000 this year for the playground, that was my earmark, and we’ll see if we make it,” she said.“And the Fortnightly women worked so hard, and the vendors were so impressed,” she said. “They’re so pleased to come every year.”Von Scholz said planning for next year also goes on during the festival.

“We always take notes for special needs,” she said.“Every other year we’ve had a fruit tier,” von Scholz said, adding ­ based on the number of requests for it ­ “so that’ll be coming back next year.”

Festival committee co-chair Gwen Seeley ­ the other half of the team ­ said she, too, was pleased with the day.“It’s excellent, and we’re very, very happy with it,” said Seeley.Of the offerings on hand for attendees, Seeley said they were numerous.

“Besides the wine and cheese,” ­ of which there were two exhibit-sized wine and cheese vendor tasting tents ­ “there is a variety of other food vendors: Dutch desserts, olive oils, sausage, spaghetti sauce, a couple different vendors of honey, and our garden table ­ eggs, flowers ­ anything that is home grown, and a number of assorted craft vendors.”

Additionally, live music by JP & Crooked Toe filled the air outdoors, while balladeer Lex Grey and pianist entertained indoor patrons.

Seeley said the funds raised by the event have only one destination.“All proceeds go to benefit Elliott Park,” she said.“We want to thank everybody,” Seeley said, “all of our sponsors and everybody that came today.”

Carroll Nezich, who is Fortnightly’s chairperson of the Elliott Park Playground Committee, was also on hand, and, like von Scholz and Seeley, expressed her gratitude to those who came and to the assistance of nature.“This is our fourth year,” she confirmed, “and every year it’s getting better and better ­ and the weather is holding out for us,” she added.

“Beattie-Powers is very gracious to us,” Nezich said.“We’ve used their facilities for other smaller, private functions, like our end-of-the-year party,” she said, and added that when it was determined a spring fundraiser was needed four years ago to help town of Catskill parks, it just seemed like a natural to pair with Beattie-Powers for the event.

Nezich explained that in the first year, funds raised were shared among several of the town’s park facilities, but that since then the decision was made to focus on the Elliott Park playground as a single goal.“We knew that Elliott Park was in major disrepair,” she said.

Nezich said the original playground was put in by Fortnightly near the end of the 1980s, adding that the decision to now replace it ­ based on its condition ­ is thus an appropriate choice for the group’s efforts.

As all in the Catskill community know, the 73-year-old organization has a visible record of helping the community, and has certainly done its share of civic work over the years, and continues to do so.

Another of its annual events is the group’s Festival of Trees ­ held each winter and now in its 15th year ­ and Nezich said that while its success is shepherded by a seasoned group of veteran
Fortnightly volunteers, the annual Wine & Cheese Festival has, in great part, been embraced by newer members, who have taken it with fervor and success to the public.

Nezich said the effort is no small commitment, and that the group is proud of all involved.“The effort is unbelievable,” she said. “The new members have really stepped up to the plate for it.”

Nezich stressed, however, that in being a member of Fortnightly, all members carry a strong dedication to volunteerism.“All of them work,” she said, “and 99 percent have children, so you have to balance work, family, and civic duty.”

Friends of Beattie-Powers Place President Robert Hoven said working with Fortnightly each year is always a pleasure.“It was easy to do,” he said. “They’re very organized.”

“And it’s a perfect place,” he added. “It’s by the water, and they’re lovely people to do things with.”

“They’re easy people to partner with,” said Hoven, “and everything they do helps the community.”

Catskill Town Supervisor Peter Markou ­ but one of the many folks who attended ­ agreed, and praised the group for its actions.

“It’s a great event for a good cause, for a great organization that does a lot for the community,” Markou said.“I’m sure they’ll do well today,” he said.

***To reach reporter Jim Planck, call 518-943-2100, ext. 3324, or e-mail .

Monday, May 03, 2010


It was a beautiful day as a small crowd gathered at the top of the hill between blocks one and two on the hill of our farm. A small table filled with glasses was placed in front of the rows.
Laura, our fabulous tasting room manager, was busy setting up, and looked forward to the busy day ahead.

We all awaited Father Gary Gelfenbein's arrival. He was as effervescent and cheery as ever. He was dressed in a khaki colored suit, some beautiful shoes, and a crisp shirt and collar.

Kate Lankin, from Local Ocean was there along with her father Mike and her husband Walt.

It was a beautiful day and the crowd was enthusiastic.

His blessing was brief and welcomed, and was followed by a toast and fun and lively conversation.

Thank you everyone, and especially Father Gary!

Whether is it cold outside or nice, washing barrels is never fun.

Cleaning barrels in warm weather sucks. If it takes two or three or four hours, your hands are pink and white and shriveled up. You’re cold, and wet, and sweating and tired. It’s just the same routine over, and over, and over again.

Rinse out the barrel. If there are lees or drop out sediment, then that takes two or three times, depending on the amount of gunk at the bottom. Add water, roll around for five minutes, rinse. Mix in some Barrel Brite or some soda ash, add very hot to boiling water, and slosh it around. Roll back and forth for another five minutes. Empty it. Rinse the barrel twice - rolling again and again.

Now repeat for each barrel.

If cleaning barrels in the summer sucks, then cleaning barrels in the winter really sucks. The water is normally cold. And in cold weather, the water seems especially colder. You do everything you can not to get wet, but it’s coming whether you want it or not. And your hands go from warm, to cold, to cold, to numb. There’s a point when your hands are numb, and you almost don’t realize. And then when you come inside, and you feel how warm it is, your hands start to tingle and then they turn pink. If you put them under warm running water, they will feel like they are starting to tremble.

Here's how you know barrel washing is the worst.1. No one ever volunteers for barrel washing duty. 2. Many people call in sick, with a family emergency, sudden death in the family, a medical emergency, etc., on barrel washing day. 3. Even the farm manager calls in sick.

Washing barrels sucks.