Michael is a man of vision. He has one for his winery, and another for the valley. And he has made an important contribution. While he was not one of the founders of the new wave of winery owners that came after the Farm Winery Act, he was a major force in helping to grow the region, and creating a buzz about a region that had seen frustrating fits and starts of growth. The valley’s failure to coalesce in the 1980s and 1990s was especially un-nerving while both the Finger Lakes and the North Fork flourished. But Michael’s vision of the valley has persisted, and now it is reality. From a sleepy backwater of the east coast wine world, the Hudson Valley has emerged as a region with brilliant wines, rave reviews, and tremendous promise.
“Ten years from now, I think the valley will be known for quality wines of uniform style and consistency. And I think the valley will be a major wine and food destination, like Napa Valley or the Willamette valley in Oregon,” said Michael in an interview. “There will be one Hudson Valley not several trails. I think there are a lot of similarities with the Hudson Valley and the Hunter Valley outside Sydney, Australia. The Hunter Valley is a fertile growing region just outside a major city. Our Valleys have a lot in common.”
“I think we are a great producing area. I think we have to stay on tract and message and get the best fruit producers to start growing more wine grape varieties. There are some gorgeous sites. If we can get some of those folks growing wine grapes you’ll see even better quality wines across the board. In the valley, you can grow vinifera and you can get a really good price. It’s viable business. Right now the best fruit growers have the right sites; good land, the knowledge, the equipment, and the workforce. They have it all. And when they start growing vinifera, then you will see even better wines in the valley.”
They are not the only fans. Kevin Zraly, of Windows on the World fame, and Steven Kolpan, one of the authors of Exploring Wine, are also big fans.
Since that quote, the winery has already run out of room, and Michael is planning the next expansion. They are among the hottest and fastest growing quality wineries in the region.