Friday, July 30, 2010

The nursery we planted three months ago has now blossomed. It's over run with green, verdant life. It is a tangle of wines and leaves, and shoots. From a mud patch lined with 4 x 4s to a monsterous, overgrown bed of plant life. It is magical to see.

Stage 1: Setting Up the Nursery
We photographered every step when we set up the nursery. At the end, it was a microcosm of setting up a vineyard - mud and sticks. Never very pretty.

Stage 2: Birth
OSme of the plants sprouted leaves and then small shoots. Someever sprouted tiny grape bunches, which were pinched off, so the plant could focus on growth instead of fruit production.

Stage 3: Growth!
Now it is a big tangle of vines and leaves. They are maturing plants with rooot systems and large green leaves. Healthy and robust, we want them to continue to grow and strengthen so that they will prvide root stock to plant in the vineyards next year. Part of this crop is set to replace other areas in the vineyard that have no produced so well. Others are slated for new vineyards.

More to come!

The Hudson Valley is one of the biggest currant producing regions in New York state. Well harvest time has come and gone. The cassis is in the barn, percolating as all wines do, as they go through their slow process from fruit juice to wine.

But just as exciting is that Black Currant Caviar is back! Smoother, richer, and just as tart as ever, this deep, rich, black jammy spread is now available to pair with many of your favorite cheeses.

Fabulous with Old Chatham Camembert! Tremendous with Batch 35! Awesome with Coach Fresh Goat Buttons! Incredible with Hudson-Chatham Tomme!

Whether you use it as a spread on bread or with your cheese directly, this wonderful, rich jam is powerful and tasty!

Thursday, July 29, 2010


We are both pleased and proud to announce two new blends created exclusively for Hudson-Chatham Winery by Strongtree Coffee of Hudson, New York.

Coco Mojo Espresso and Full City Roast are two robust, dark roast coffees now only available at Hudson-Chatham Winery. Coco Mojo Espresso is a Italian style dar roast coffee that makes an incredible, zesty espresso-style coffee. Full City Roast in a classic, flavorful dark roast blend, with a big, rich taste, that's the perfect morning cup of coffee. Flavorful and luxurious enough for cafe ole or iced latte'.

Strongtree is a family owned, quality driven organic coffee roaster located in historic Hudson, New York. They source 100% Certified Organic, premium lots of heirloom Arabica cultivars from master growers who practice responsible land stewardship. All of their coffees come from small farms and cooperative unions where the workers are valued, empowered and rewarded.
Strongtree guarantees clear traceability, sustainability and responsibility in our supply chain. Strongtree is Fair Trade Certified by TransFair USA and Rainforest Alliance
Certified. Strongtree follows the time honored, traditional methods of their craft to capture and enhance the true flavor of the coffee bean. Their focus is on YOUR great coffee experience through careful selection of premium beans, traditional small batch Probat roasting, hand packaging, advanced brewing technology and personalized service. By putting care into the entire process from seed to cup, they know you’ll taste a difference.
We value Strongtree's committment to quality and land stewardship, and are proud to have created these two delicious, rich coffees with them.

Available now!

Hudson Valley Wine Goddess Debbie Gioquindo recently blogged about the Paperbirch Cassis of Good Farm:


Cassis was once the "forbidden wine." Black currants which is used to make Cassis were once very popular, but in the 20th century the U.S government banned them in almost all of the states. The reason was that black currant shrubs can host and spread a disease, the "white pine blister rust", which threatened the booming timber industry in the early 1900s.

In 1966, the federal ban on black currants was moved to individual States' jurisdiction. This led to many savvy states lifting the ban, as did the New York State in 2003 thanks to the efforts of the Currant Company and Greg Quinn. Other states lifting the ban were Oregon, Vermont and Connecticut, whereas others, such as New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine did not lift it as of 2007.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Empire White has been a difficult project. With Empire Red behind us, a friend, Rich Olsen-Harbich, an esteemed winemaker on the North Fork, asked innocently when we were coming out with the white. I was astonished. We hadn’t really thought of that. But we immediately thought it was a good idea, and Steve (winemaker), Ralph (operations), and David (sales director) all sat down to start discussing what that blend might be.

The biggest question was really about the North Fork of Long Island. We knew we wanted Riesling from the Finger Lakes. It also had to be dry Riesling. We immediately knew who and what we wanted there, and contacted Derek at White Springs Estate. However, in Long Island, Chardonnay had always been the most popularly planted white for years. Recently though, many wineries are working with Sauvignon Blanc. The Sauvignon Blanc from the region is exquisite. We all agreed that the flavors in the Sauvignon Blanc would much better match the flavor profiles of the other two. We talked to Rich for his thoughts, and he agreed.

Despite some pumping of the wine, that we could not avoid (we are not a gravity fed winery), we decided to try to be as natural about the blending process as possible. We decided not to freeze the wines or keep them in a dimple-jacketed tanks. Rather we would pack them in ice, to help enhance the fall out resulting from blending. White wines notoriously throw off solids when blended. We decided to pack the drums in ice, in order that we would keep as many flavors as possible and let the fall out happen more naturally. This softer treatment of the wine, we thought, would retain more flavors, and allow the wine to express itself more fully.

It was a lot of work keeping the wine cold. We were buying giant quantities of ice from the all the local gas stations, package stores, grocery stores. We were eating up ice by the yard. At one point we bought a giant block of clear ice. I had to go to this plant where they cut massive 3-foot cubes of clear ice for ice sculptures. Every day we loaded in 200 pounds of ice, for weeks on end.

We had run some sample batches. We froze some. Pack some wine in ice. We decided we liked the flavor profile of the wine packed in ice. Not sure this is a scientific answer for this. But we just thought we liked the non-frozen white blend better.

In the beginning, when it first blended, the wine clouded up, and I freaked. It was hilarious because we knew that might happen. The smaller control batches hadn’t really done that. After a week the wine cleared up, and we further iced it for almost a month. At one point we bought freezer packs, and put them in garbage bag, packing that around the wine, in order that we had a more reusable source for cooling.

In the end, we racked the wine off the top, and bottled. The wine was fresh and vibrant. A huge thrill.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


So, another year, another Finger Lakes Wine Festival. The 2010 edition of this incredible orgy of wine, food, crafts, and music has come and gone. Another year of fun and frolic. This year I was joined by David Jackson, our Director of Sales, and by Aaron Hacker, our trusty sales associate.

Things started off auspiciously as I had left the car lights on the night before when we were packing up the van. So we needed a jump start, literarally, to get us rolling this year. Aaron dutifully oversaw the exchange of power, before he'd even had his coffee. Tough way to start the day. Two cups of coffee and a breakfast sandwich later, we were off.

After setting up the booth, we went on our customary tasting tour. We stopped at Billsboro, Bellhurst, Glenora, Thirsty Owl, Bellweather, and Sheldrake Point among others. It was a great time.

The first day as usual was a mob scene, and a total rush! Tens of thousands of people pushed and shoved and laughed their way through the hot crowded tens. It was so much fun! As is the custom, every time an attending reveler accidentally dropped his or her glass, the crowd let out a mighty roar! There were many shout outs.
Sunday was a little slower. We always sell more wine on Sundays, because the people who are there for two days usually buy wine on the second day.

The weekend was a total success. We treated ourselves well the first night, enjoying a steak dinner as reward for our hard work. The second night, we ate fast food on the go, in an effort to save time as we beat a hasty retreat home form the fair Sunday night.

The end of the show is always a hoot. Cars, trucks, vans all race through the gates in aneffort to pack up and go as quickly as possible. Everyone wants to go home. Even the local wineries. Once our van was packed, we had to wait because we were blocked in. You know it's a hard working business when you see Fred Frank, of Dr. Konstantin Frank's Vinifera Wine Cellars, standing in the bed of a pick-up truck, loading boxes in the hot, late afternoon sun.

Thankfully, we left with many fewer cases that we had arrived with. Empire White, Pomme Bulle, Hudson River Valley Red, and Raspberry Fine Ruby had all sold out. We left Friday morning at 6am and returned home victorious on Sunday night at 10:30pm.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sammy Makes
National Technical Honor Society

Hudson-Chatham's own Samantha Shilkoski O’Dell, otherwise known as Sammy, was inducted into the National Technical Honor Society. Sam maintains a 90 or better average in her studies, and her specialty is computers. She understands programming, and likes computer marketing as well.

The picture above is from the lighting of the candle induction ceremony from the Chatham Courier.

Sammy is a hard worker, and is smart as a whip.

Congratulations Sam from all of us at the winery!!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

JULY 10, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas - at the Hudson-Chatham Winery, anyway! Join us in the tasting room on Saturday, July 10, between 12 and 5 pm to hear your favorite holiday music, nibble on Christmas cookies, and other Christmas time fare, and even discover what might be waiting for you under our Christmas tree!

It's blazing hot outside these days, but it'll be cool and Christmas-y inside the winery. Enjoy a tasting or come in for a glass of one of our award-winning wines. We have lots of Hudson Valley artisanal cheeses, as well.
See you at the winery!

Saturday, July 03, 2010


I thought raspberries were difficult. That was until I tried my pathetic hand at picking currants. Currants are small little berries, that look like blueberries turned black. They are small, and they grow, if you're lucky, in very small bunches, but more than not, individually through out a bush. It's long hard work.
You get a handful of berries going, and you feel like you've started to make progress. And then you toss them into a tote, and it feels like you've just thrown a glass of water into a lake. Wow! It takes a day for one picker to really accomplish anything. Each picker is probably good for a tote after about 6 hours. Ugh!
So there we were, picking currants at the beautiful Good Farm, in Claverack, when I suddenly bent a branch back to expose the berries (a trick I discovered, as the bush definitely hides it's fruit), only to discover this beautiful moth!
Ah, well. The Paperbirch Cassis of Good Farm is an exceptional black currant fruit wine, that has become an instant success. Though part is making it. But a little surprise like this as you're going through the bushes makes it all the more worth while.