Sunday, December 04, 2011


Hudson-Chatham Winery is a local vineyard, with wine perfect for adding to local food baskets to give to friends or relatives. David Lee/Hudson-Catskill Newspapers

Local wine, made from Columbia County grapes
By Jeff Alexander
Hudson-Catskill Newspapers
Published: Friday, December 2, 2011 2:09 AM EST

CHATHAM — Dominique and Carlo DeVito have successfully utilized their extensive publishing backgrounds to create and maintain Hudson-Chatham Winery. The New Jersey couple first discussed the idea of creating an independent winery back in 2005.

“We always traveled to wineries and it was a subject we were always interested in. We learned a lot about New York State wineries when Carlo’s book, East Coast Wineries, was published in 2003. When he broached the subject about starting our own winery, I actually laughed,” reflected Dominique DeVito.

After extensive research and 9 months of visiting prospective locations, the DeVitos chose Columbia County due to its rich agricultural history. The business was launched in 2007.

“The history of Columbia County is truly unique. We always liked Hudson and thought the Chatham School District would be perfect for our children. The farm itself is situated with a 1700s house and the property served as a dairy farm for decades, so we felt we would really be accepted by people,” she said.

DeVito said she and her husband’s publishing experience transcended barriers and ultimately benefited them toward becoming successful entrepreneurs.

“Publishing is very much a creative process because it’s intended to bring something special to people. Bringing wine to market is similar because there’s a lot of passion behind it as well. You’re ultimately creating something for a market you hope to satisfy,” she said.

Asked what attracts people to buy local wine and other food products as opposed to shopping at retail locations, DeVito stressed the importance of facilitating customer relationships.

“Buying local is especially important because it’s basically neighbors buying from neighbors. Also, buying from someone you know has a certain appeal to it and knowing that it was grown organically makes the experience more amazing,” she said.

She added that attending and participating in local farmers’ markets boosted the winery’s visibility.

“We continue to benefit from our participation because it gives us the unique opportunity to really meet our neighbors and customers. I count it as true, grass-roots marketing.”

Asked what trends she has seen in the wine industry, DeVito agreed that wine products have undeniably entered the mainstream and expanded the beverage canon.

“Historically, wine has always been paired with food and has always been a social thing. The film Bottleshock depicted this wine tasting event from back in the ‘70s when a California wine defeated a French wine in a blind taste test. I guess it was a foreshadow of things to come because many fine wines were always thought to be French and now there are wines being made and imported from all over the world. It really gives people a variety of choices as consumers,” said DeVito.

DeVito also remarked on the growing trend of younger consumers being attracted to wine products.

“Younger people seem to have so many choices now and I think their tastes are sophisticated. By being exposed to things early on it opens them up to many more possibilities in the future. With social networking sites, it makes businesses more accessible and allows consumers to easily discover new products.”

Hudson-Chatham Winery is currently expanding and hopes to tap into online sales in 2012.

“We’re expanding the tasting room. On a weekend, it can have 30 to 50 people in there at a time and we get several thousand visitors over the course of the year. Our sangria festival attracts upwards of 300 people just on that day. On the retail side, we’re always looking to generate new ideas to have people search us out.”

The winery features hand-crafted wines, cheeses and desserts, and includes vineyard tours and a gazebo with scenic views. For more information, visit

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