Saturday, September 29, 2012

Muti-State Wine Fest in Maryland

Regional wineries come together for weekend festival on the beach
LISA CAPITELLI ¦ Assistant Editor
Ocean City Today      
(Sept. 28, 2012)

Vineyards and wineries from Maryland, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia will offer an assortment of wines to sample this weekend in Ocean City during the 17th annual Wine Festival on the Beach.
The two-day event, set for today, Friday, and Saturday, at the inlet parking lot, attracts both wine connoisseurs and occasional indulgers annually.
Several thousand attend the festival each year for the opportunity to learn about and taste various regional wines. Some people spend a full day at the festival, sipping wine and listening to the live music, as vendors will present a wide selection of dry, semi-dry, sweet and semisweet, red, white, blush and fruityblended wines.
Sampling of wines will take place onsite. Adults will receive a complimentary wine-tasting glass and sample coupons upon entering the festival grounds. Wines may be purchased, packaged and saved for later, as well.
Maryland wineries scheduled to be part of the 2012 festival are Boordy Vineyards, Dove Valley, Far Eastern Shore Winery, Frederick Cellars, Knob Hall Winery, Layton’s Chance Vineyard and Winery, Legends Vineyard, Linganore Winecellars, Solomons Island Winery and St. Michaels Winery.
According to Jessica Garcia, marketing director for Linganore Winecellars/Berrywine
Plantations in Mt. Airy, the business has participated in the festival since its inception 17 years ago. Garcia said Linganore representatives enjoy educating festival attendees about the winery and its wines.
“It’s a great feeling when they tell us about how much they enjoy our wines and their experiences at our winery. We couldn’t be who we are without their support,” Garcia said. “We make over 30 wines so we have several that are popular. Among those, we have a dry white, White Raven; a dry red blend, Black Raven; a sweet white, Skipjack (2012 Governor’s Cup Silver winner); and a 100-percent Raspberry wine.”
Guests can taste those as well as several other Linganore wines at the festival.
St. Michaels Winery has been a Wine Fest vendor for the past five years, according to Marketing and Events Director Lindsay Greenwood.
“It is a wonderful location and the perfect time of year to enjoy wine, food and music by the ocean,” Greenwood said.
Some of St. Michaels’ best selling and most popular wines are the sweet Gollywobbler Red, Pink and White, as well as the Chocolate Zinfandel. They will be featured at the festival along with a handful of others.
Fenwick Wine Cellars, located off Route 54 in Fenwick Island, Del., will also attend. The winery made its debut at the festival in 2010.
“It’s a great location, great atmosphere and a nice selection of wines and vendors,” said owner Adrian Mobilia.
Some of the blends Fenwick Wine Cellars will offer include Niagara, Catawba, Concord, Cabernet, Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay.
“We typically lean more toward the sweet wines because that is what the crowd seems to prefer, but we always have some of the more traditional dry wines on hand,” he said.
Brotherhood and Hazlitt Vineyards of New York, Chaddsford Winery of Pennsylvania, Horton Vineyards of Virginia and Forks of Cheat Winery and West- Whitehill Winery Ltd. of West Virginia will also present some of their wines.
Marketing Director Neil Glaser said what Horton Vineyards representatives like most about the event are the beach atmosphere and the attendees.
“Everyone is ready to have fun and there is no room for wine snobs,” he joked. Horton Vineyards had been a festival participant since its inception.
“Horton will be bringing over 20 wines to sample and buy. These will include Chardonnay, Rkatsiteli (a varietal from the Georgian Republic), six-plus different fruit wines including strawberry, cranberry and mango,” he said. “We’ll also have our chocolate wines and some other sweet goodies.”
Chaddsford Winery is also a longtime wine festival vendor, participating for approximately 10 years, according to General Manager Bob Brock. Chaddsford will display its Niagara, Sangria, Sunset Blush and Spiced Apple wines, among others.
“It’s always nice to see people who come to our booth every year. Each year we have had people come to the winery in Chadds Ford because they saw and tasted at the Wine Fest,” Brock said. “The wines we are bringing this year are, for the most part, on the sweet side and are available throughout Maryland at retailers.”
Though wine will be the main attraction of the event, brewing companies such as Fat Tire and St. Michaels Ale will be at the festival to introduce visitors to specialty beers, which will be available for purchase.
Other vendors will offer a variety of wine- and non-wine-related merchandise. Food will be available, as well. Bird Dog and the Road Kings, Three Penny Opera and Blue Deville are scheduled to provide the musical entertainment during the two-day event. Visitors are encouraged to take a blanket or chairs to enjoy the music.
General admission costs $25 for adults, ages 21 and older. A $2-off admission coupon is available at For those who do not drink, admission includes commemorative wine glass and unlimited soft drinks from the designated driver area.
Admission costs $5 for guests ages 20 and younger, who must be accompanied by an adult. There is no admission charge for children ages 7 and younger.
The festival will be open today and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. For information, call 410-280-3306 or visit
Read more at:

Norfolk Wine Festival Celebrates 25 Years (VA)

The annual fall Town Point Virginia Wine Festival returns Oct. 20 and 21
By Lauren Mack, Editor
The Daily Meal
Sep 28, 2012 @ 6:35 PM

The 25th annual fall Town Point Virginia Wine Festival returns Oct. 20 and 21 to Town Point Park in Norfolk, Va. During the two-day festival, guests can sample and purchase more than 200 wines from more than 20 Virginia wineries and vineyards. Guests can choose to sample their wines at reserved tables or in private chalets. Tickets for the event must be purchased by Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012.

Those who want to continue sampling wine can visit the newly opened Mermaid Winery, Virginia’s first urban winery and tasting room. In addition to making its own wines, the Mermaid Winery offers more than 30 artisan wines and local beers paired with a special tasting menu.

Read more:

Thursday, September 27, 2012

CNBC: Gov. NY to hold beer, wine 'summit' to boost industries

Published: Thursday, 27 Sep 2012 | 2:14 PM ET

Associated Press
ALBANY, N.Y. - First yogurt, now beer and wine. Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday called for a "summit" to boost the beer and wine industries in New York just months after he began a similar event to try to make the state the nation's largest producer of Greek-style yogurt.
"The yogurt summit worked very, very well," Cuomo said. He said the beer and wine summit in late October will be patterned after it.
The beer and wine effort will involve farmers and manufacturers as well as relevant state regulators. Cuomo said private sessions among participants are expected to yield important discussions and agreements before the public summit.
The wine and beer industry, which includes growers of grapes and hops, has gained more attention from the state in recent months as Cuomo looks to it to help combat a 9 percent unemployment rate.
In June, the Legislature and Cuomo restored a tax break for small but growing craft beer brewers in New York, providing an advantage over competitors from outside the state. The package of laws also allows farmers to sell craft beer at farmers markets.
The craft beer industry in New York has doubled over the last 10 years and employs 3,000 jobs in the highly automated process, according to the industry.
Beginning Monday, the Last Store on Main Street coalition is launching its second "Fall in Love with New York Wines" promotional campaign with private funds to push New York's homegrown wines. The effort includes posters and tastings in liquor stores and often for the first time links wine growers with liquor store operators in joint promotions.
"With all the wine that New Yorkers drink, if the amount of New York wine in that total goes up by just 10 percent, it will be jolt of energy that will create jobs and opportunities all over the state," said Jeff Saunders, head of the Retailers Alliance, an association of major wine stores around the state.
He said new wineries will open and others will grow, along with tourism.
"The governor is delivering in a way that the industry has wanted for a very long time," he said Thursday.
The National Association of American Wineries has put New York at No. 2 in production nationwide among the states, still at a fraction of California's output. In New York, the wine industry employs about 5,000 on a $20 million payroll, although the industry says the wages earned from growing to retail is over $1 billion a year.
Since the "yogurt summit" this summer, the state is moving to reduce some environmental protection regulations in order to help dairy farmers increase their herds to address a shortage of milk for New York yogurt producers.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012



The beautiful Burlington County Fairgrounds, located on the easily accessible Route 206 in Springfield Township, will be the setting for the Jersey Fresh Wine Festival, the newest fall wine festival promoted by the GSWGA on Saturday and Sunday, September 29-30 from noon to 5 p.m.

The Burlington County Fairgrounds, preserved in 2004, encompasses 640 acres and is now the home of the Burlington County Farm Fair. With the summer season over, we have now entered the Fall Harvest season in New Jersey and that means apple, pumpkins, squash and other great Jersey Fresh products are ripe to be picked, including award-winning grapes from wineries throughout the state. Representing the essence of Jersey Fresh,

18 GSWGA wineries will be on hand to provide sampling of more than 250 locally-produced wines at the event, which will also feature live music, crafts and food vendors. Tickets for the festival are $25 a person at the gate. Advance discount tickets for $20 can be purchased only at the association website All ticket purchases on-site are cash only. Large groups and bus groups can call 609-588-0085 for more information. Admission includes a souvenir wine glass. A highlight of the weekend will be live musical entertainment. The featured performers for the Jersey Fresh Wine Festival are Steve Reilly Band on September 29 and Gas House Gorillas on September 30. Garden State Wine Growers Association wineries participating at the event are:
Amalthea Cellars, Atco
Auburn Road Vineyards, Pilesgrove
Bellview Winery, Landisville
Cava Winery & Vineyard, Hamburg
Chestnut Run Farm, Pilesgrove
Coda Rossa Winery, Franklinville
Cream Ridge Winery, Cream Ridge
DiMatteo Vineyards, Hammonton
Four Sisters Winery at Mattarazzo Farms, Belvidere
Heritage Vineyards, Mullica Hill
Old York Cellars, Ringoes
Plagido’s Winery, Hammonton
Renault Winery, Egg Harbor
Sharrott Winery, Blue Anchor
Tomasello Winery, Hammonton
Unionville Vineyards, Ringoes
Valenzano Winery, Shamong
Wagonhouse Winery, Swedesboro

For more information on the Garden State Wine Growers Association, visit

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Steven Kolpan Praises Hudson Valley Ciders

In the most recent issue of The Valley Table, famed author and James Beard award winner, Steven Kolpan, praises Hudson Valley ciders. A fantastic article about the establishe and new cideries in the Hudson Valley! Fantastic! an

Video of Shaw Vineyards Making Libella Pinot Grigio (NY)

Libella Pinot Grigio is one of my favorite white wines of the Finger Lakes. Here are the grapes for this year's wine coming up the conveyor belt. The wine is light, tart, an refreshing. A perfect accompaniment for fish, chicken, salads, cheese and other light foods. A fantastic wine!
Enjoy the video.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Dan Ward at Rutgers Gives a New Vision of the Garden State - With Grapes! (NJ)

U. specialist informs of Garden State-grown grapes, wine
Posted: Monday, September 17, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 10:48 pm, Sun Sep 16, 2012.
By Domenic Ruggeri / Contributing Writer

Wine might not come to mind as one of New Jersey’s specialties, but Dan Ward, pomology extension specialist in the University’s Department of Plant Biology and Pathology, aims to change that perception.

He discussed his work on Friday in an hourlong seminar on Cook campus.

The Garden State, which many know for its tomato and blueberry crops, has great potential for growing wine grapes of many popular varieties, which Ward said growers and vintners are beginning to realize.

“The wine industry in New Jersey ... has been growing, like much of the wine industry of the east,” he said. “It also has been attaining high qualities in the vintages of late, and we also have a good cultural environment for wineries and winemakers.”

Ward said his work, which is based out of the Rutgers Agricultural Research and Extension Center near Bridgeton, focuses on analyzing problems and developing new strategies and production methods for New Jersey’s fruit industry.

About 1,000 acres are used in New Jersey for grape growing, but after analyzing many ecological factors all over the state, Ward said there are about 1 million acres that could be used to grow fruit.

“That’s as much grapes as California,” he said.

Tom Orton, extension specialist in vegetable breeding at the Rutgers Agricultural Research and Extension Center, said while the numbers are positive, New Jersey cannot realistically expect to be on par with California instantly in terms of grape and wine production.

“It’s going to be slow and incremental ... it’s part of a long-term general trend to keep agriculture viable in the state,” he said.

One of the most important factors for good grape growing is heat accumulation, Ward said, which is a measure of how much heat is available to ripen grapes during the summer.

New Jersey is similar in climate to about three of the five regions California has apportioned for growing to reflect these heat accumulation differences, he said. The Garden State’s heat accumulation is similar to places known for great wines such as Bordeaux, Napa Valley and southern Spain.

The next step was to take a look at the actual harvests of cabernet sauvignon grapes from New Jersey to analyze what quality of fruit was being produced, he said, and to connect it with weather data obtained from an airport in Millville, N.J., over a period of 36 years.

“We pulled that in to look at the relationship between the quality of the grape and weather variables,” Ward said. “There were only two variables which made a significant difference to the harvest, those being rainfall in August and heat accumulation.”

The harvests are then separated into four categories based on quality such as: poor, adequate, premium, super premium and what they found to be outstanding, Ward said.

Robert Goodman, executive director of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, said his organization’s agricultural practices help the state advance in terms of jobs and development, but lasting results will require time and funding.

“Some of that kind of work can be done today to improve the situation tomorrow, but a lot of it is long-term work that takes years and needs sustained, long-term funding, and this is a great example,” said Goodman, executive dean of agriculture and Natural Resources.

Robert Pyne, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences graduate student, said the seminar presented some surprising results.

“Most people don’t consider wine a serious industry in New Jersey, and I think Dan did a good job to show that it is possible,” he said.

Read more at:

Syracuse News Times Celebrates Dr. Frank's 50th!

COVER STORY / Wednesday, September 19,2012By Margaret McCormick Toast of the Town The golden, red and purple-skinned grapes being harvested on the steep slopes rising from the west shore of Keuka Lake won’t reveal their true colors in the bottle for some time. But 2012 has been a good year for Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars. A very good year.

The grapes escaped the late-season frost and hail that devastated the crop at some wineries in the Finger Lakes. They enjoyed a mix of sun and rain—make that plenty of sun—and survived the summer heat. Fruit of the vine: The Wine Cellars are known for their award-winning vintages, some of which are developed by winemaker Peter Weis (right) using grapes watched over by Eric Volz (below, right), who is the cousin of Fred Frank (below, left); both are grandsons of winery founder Dr. Konstantin Frank.

“The weather from year to year has a big impact on the production of quality wines,” winery president Frederick “Fred” Frank, grandson of Dr. Konstantin Frank, said earlier in the season. “In 2010, we had almost a drought year and in 2011, a normal mix of rain and sun. This is shaping up to be a good vintage. The vines look healthy and happy.”

Frank seems happy, too. Friends, family and dignitaries crowded the winery July 1 to officially celebrate its 50th anniversary. And awards and medals have been pouring in this year, particularly for the winery’s Dry and Semi-Dry Rieslings and 2006 Chateau Frank Blanc de Noirs, a sparkling wine.

Meanwhile, Hammondsport, the charming village six miles south of the winery, at the foot of Keuka Lake, has been named “Coolest Small Town in America” by readers of Budget Travel magazine. (Read about it at Frank expects that designation, including a spotlight feature in the magazine’s September-October issue, will bring a boost in tourist traffic to the Keuka Lake community.

“The renaissance in winemaking and quality of the wines here is part of what makes it a cool town,” Frank says with a smile. “It wouldn’t be such a ‘cool small town’ if the wine it was known for was vitis labrusca or Concord,” he adds. He’s referring—without saying so, explicitly—to the Riesling, Chardonnay and other vitis vinifera varieties famously pioneered by his late grandfather.

No Wine Before It’s Time

Dr. Konstantin Frank, an evangelist for vinifera who became an icon for the entire region, died in 1985. But his vineyard practices and his fervent belief that Riesling and other European varieties would not only survive, but thrive, in the cool climate of the Finger Lakes sparked a revolution in the wine industry that is still being felt today.

His story is heard and told often—even more so this milestone year, no doubt. He came from his native Ukraine to the United States in 1951 with a Ph.D in viticulture from the University of Odessa and high hopes for the future. He could barely speak English, but began to learn the language during a brief stay in New York City. Next stop was a laborer’s job at Cornell University’s New York Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva.

It was there that he met the Frenchman Charles Fournier, winemaker at nearby Gold Seal Vineyards, who hired Konstantin and soon promoted him to director of vineyard research. The position enabled Konstantin to save money, buy land and plant his own vines. Vinifera Wine Cellars produced its first wines in 1962.

  Konstantin’s legacy as pioneer was evident by the 1980s, but his ideas about vinifera—and criticism of native and hybrid varieties—earned him detractors and were slow to gain traction. Jim Trezise, president of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, based in Canandaigua, recalls answering the phone at his office in 1982 and hearing a man with a heavy Eastern European accent on the other end.

“I won’t try to imitate his accent,” Trezise says of his first encounter with Dr. Frank, “but he said, ‘Come up here. I want to educate you.’ So I made an appointment and I went up to see him. It was a very unforgettable experience. I was new to the industry. I figured I’d go and have a meeting with him and as long as I was at that end of the lake I’d go to two or three other wineries.

“When Dr. Frank held court,” Trezise recalls, “you were his captive. He talked about his experiments with grape-growing and brought out several wines and talked about his background. He thought only vinifera grapes could make excellent wines. He was a man of vision and opinion as well.

“The meeting lasted an hour and a half, or more, and it was the only appointment I had that day. It let me get to know a person who was very driven. He was determined to make it happen. He ultimately did make it happen, 50 years later, for sure.”

When Dr. Frank established Vinifera Wine Cellars, about a dozen wineries dotted the Finger Lakes. No one was growing Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir. No one had heard of them. The revolution would take time—and patience.

Now, there are 320 wineries in New York state—120 of them in the Finger Lakes alone, Trezise notes. Riesling is the region’s star. And Dr. Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars welcomes 70,000 visitors a year to its out-of-the-way location in rugged Steuben County.

“He transformed Finger Lakes and New York and East Coast winemaking,” Trezise says. “His success made this a totally different industry than we would have had otherwise. We’re grateful to him for bringing vinifera into our lives.

“More than the growth of his winery and of the industry,” Trezise adds, “I think Dr. Frank would have a huge smile on his face. In the Finger Lakes, every one of 100-plus wineries is making Riesling. And making it well.”

Frank Talk

Fred Frank likes to say that every generation of the Frank family leaves its own individual mark on Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars. Fred’s grandfather was the scientist, the great experimenter and visionary. His father, Willy, who succeeded Konstantin, was a savvy salesman and businessman who “sort of cleaned house,” paring down Konstantin’s extensive portfolio of vinifera experiments to focus on the varieties that both grow well and appeal to consumers, with Riesling heading the list.

  “Willy was the businessman that his father never learned how to be,” writes Evan Dawson, managing editor of the New York Cork Report (newyorkcork, in his 2011 book Summer in a Glass: The Coming of Age of Winemaking in the Finger Lakes (Sterling Epicure). “He spent days on the road, introducing the wines to new markets and customers.” ......

read the rest at:

Margaret McCormick is a freelance writer and editor based in Syracuse. She blogs about food at

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Evan Dawson of the New York Cork Report won the Roederer Award for Best International Book in London yesterday for his story about the Finger Lakes, SUMMER IN A GLASS. Evan is a news anchor in Rochester, NY, as well as the Managing Editor of The New York Cork Report. His television station in Rochester just produced a documentary based on the book.

I knew we had something special when I first read the rough draft of Evan's book. It was stellar from the get go. Every once in a while you get a special project. Earlier in my career is was a few things like The American West with Dee Brown, then books with Stephen Hawking, Strange Fruit by David Margolick of Vanity Fair, and Jim Meehan of PDT among many others. But Evan's book was special to me in that it was about something near and dear to my heart....east coast winemaking.

Founded in 1776, Champagne Louis Roederer continues as one of the very rare Champagne houses to remain firmly in the hands of the family. For two centuries, six successive generations have been responsible for building a reputation for quality and continuity. Today, Frédéric Rouzaud has succeeded his father Jean-Claude at the head of the company, securing the future of Champagne Louis Roederer as an independent family House.

The Louis Roederer Awards are international awards for the best wine writing in the world. For a wine writer this is the ultimate prize. That Evan has accomplished this so young is an incredible accolade. It is a testament to his integrity, his honesty, and his determination....and his love of wine.

I was disappointed that the Beard Awards passed over this book, but the Roederer is a HUGE exclamation point, and a nod by the international wine community, that this was a great book, that Evan is a great author, and that east coast wine belongs in the greater global wine conversation. I could not be more proud than to be associated with such a project.

The quotes we got from established wine writers were phenomenal, and were the first clue that my hunches about the book were right. The reviews were equally impressive and numerous!

But the real congrats goes to Evan Dawson. He was a consummate professional throughout the publishing process. He was great during the writing, editing, and production of the book. But that's just half the publishing process. The second half is selling the book. Getting it into the public's hands. And Evan did it with style and hard work. And his beautiful and talented wife, Morgan, was a pro and incredible support to him throughout. She was a friend, confidant, and trooper throughout the process for Evan. They are a team.

I cannot congratulate them both loud enough! Now, safe trip back from London and the awards....go play with Rhys, and start working on another book.

Monday, September 17, 2012

New York Wine Event at Corkbuzz, in NYC, Set for Sept. 24, 2012

Corkbuzz, a popular and influential wine mecca in Manhattan, will be the scene of a special tasting on September 24 that is part of our New York City promotion program. Each of the 42 participating wineries will send one wine to the event, which is being orchestrated by First Press Public Relations in conjunction with Tasting Table. There is room for only 100 consumers, who bid for the tickets through Tasting Table, and while we hoped for perhaps 2,000 inquiries, it turned out to be more like 3,500. Obviously, New York wines are hot in New York City.
- Jim Trezise, President, NYWGF

Saturday, September 15, 2012

New York Cork Report Hosts SECRETS OF THE FINGER LAKES Video

Evan Dawson is the author of the highliy acclaimed SUMMER IN A GLASS, which was one of the best wine books of last year. He's followed that up with a television special that he did at WHAM with his colleagues. You need to watch this video!!!

“Secrets of the Finger Lakes” aired original on September 12 at 8:30 p.m. on WHAM-TV and on

For those of you who missed it — or want to watch it again — here it is broken into four clips.

My television news superiors approached me about putting together a special report after the success of my book. At first I hesitated, because I didn’t want to simply air a rehashed set of stories that already appear in print. But then I saw an opportunity to tell new stories; these are some of the stories that do not appear in the book, but likely would if the book were republished today.

On top of that, I was fortunate to have my colleagues jump into this project. We take a look at the land and the weather, breaking down the advantages growers have and the challenges they face. And we look at the political issues still facing the region, occasionally threatening to divide it. - Lenn Thompson, Editor-in-Chief, New York Cork Report

Click here to bring you to the video:

Maryland Wine Festival Is This Weekend

Two of Carroll's wineries the newest at Maryland Wine Festival this weekend
Posted: Friday, September 14, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 11:33 pm, Thu Sep 13, 2012
Carroll County Times
By Carrie Ann Knauer Times Staff Writer

Dan Taminga, of the Detour Winery, secures a load of supplies and crepe myrtles to bring to the winery’s tent at the Maryland Wine Festival Thursday afternoon. Detour Winery will be an exhibitor for the first time at this year’s wine festival, which takes place at the Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster Saturday and Sunday.

For more information: Visit

The Maryland Wine Festival will be adding two new wineries to this weekend’s event, and both of them are from Carroll County.

Detour Winery, located on the western edge of Carroll, planted their vines in 2008 and started wine production in 2010, said Beth Tamminga, of the winery. The family has 35 acres planted in grapevines and an additional seven acres in berry bushes for their wine production, she said, so they were able to hit the ground running when it came to making wine.

Detour Winery will be bringing 22 of their varieties to The Maryland Wine Festival this weekend, Tamminga said, and have another 10 or so varieties still being processed. They’ve been pouring their wines at festivals this summer held both at their vineyard and at community events, such as the Sykesville wine festival earlier this summer, and have received some great reactions to their early vintages, she said.

“Right now our most popular wine is the Mornin’ Deux, it’s a semi-sweet white,” Tamminga said. “We have a bunch of dessert wines that are pretty popular.”

Some of those other favorites include their Pineapple Dessert Wine and Passion, which is made with red grapes and red raspberries. Overall, the winery has won more than 30 medals at the five different contests it has entered this year, including six awards from the Maryland Governor’s Cup Competition held in conjunction with The Maryland Wine Festival.

“This is our first major event that we’re getting out in front of the public with,” she said. “We’re excited for it, you get your name out there and meet a lot of people who like the wine and you can get people introduced to our wine.”

The second new winery at this year’s festival is the Old Westminster Winery. Drew Baker said his family established the winery in 2010 and produced their first vintage in 2011.

“This will be our public debut,” Baker said.

One of their wines, the Remnant Rosé, is bottled and ready to be poured at the festival, but their full reds are still in the maturation process. However, Baker said the winery is planning to bring a few barrels of their Cabernet franc to give some samples straight from the barrel.

“It has not been filtered or bottled yet, it’s still in the aging process until next spring,” Baker said of the Cabernet franc. “We wanted to bring some representation of where we’re going so people can gauge the types of wine that we’re making.”

This will probably be a rare opportunity for many of the festivalgoers, he said, and can be an opportunity for individuals to learn more about the wine-making process.

Old Westminster Winery has 6 acres of grapevines, Baker said. The winery, located just 3 miles from the Carroll County Farm Museum where the festival is held, is not open to the public yet, though the family is planning to open for visitors in late spring 2013. Baker said they still wanted to attend this year’s Maryland Wine Festival to get some exposure in advance.

“We’re trying to make premium dry wines,” Baker said. “We’re really trying to niche ourselves as a boutique winery that angles ourself toward people who have an appreciation for finer local wine.”

Kevin Atticks, executive director of the Maryland Wineries Association, said The Maryland Wine Festival has traditionally been the debut event for many of the state’s wineries.

“It’s kind of the birthplace of Maryland wine,” Atticks said of the festival, now in its 29th year.

“When you think of the original industry, it was focused in Carroll and Baltimore and Frederick [counties], and this was the first festival. When new wineries are coming up, they’re cognizant of that, and they’re excited to join in.”

The layout for the festival this year will include three large pavilion tents, housing about 15 of the wineries, and then smaller tents with individual wineries. Old Westminster Winery will be in the Pavilion 2 tent and Detour Winery will be in its own tent.

“It’s exciting to see them launch and we’re thrilled with their wine,” Atticks said of Carroll’s newest wineries.


WITF's Chef Donna Recommends The Vineyard at Hershey (PA)

The Changing Taste of PA Wines
Written by Donna Marie Desfor, Culinary Consultant and Chef
Sep 12, 2012 12:01 AM

It’s not too terribly difficult to surprise me, but to get me to change my mind? That usually takes an act of divine intervention. Or, in this case, a memorable glass of wine. Yes, this is an article about a Pennsylvania winery. And, yes! You simply must keep reading.

The Vineyard at Hershey. The name almost compels the thought “destination.” I guess in a way it is. I’d be waxing poetic to say this is the ultimate destination for all those Pennsylvania wines that have tried so hard to be something other than what they are. Indeed, these wines are what I’ve always wanted them to be. But there’s more. There’s really so much more behind this uber-successful group of twenty- (almost thirty-) something guys that opened the doors to their tasting room in Hershey in February. Since then they have quadrupled their projected wine sales. That little fact alone suggests there’s something different in the way these guys craft their wine.

And there is. The Vineyard at Hershey wines have found their way onto wine lists at places like the Hilton Harrisburg, Stock’s on 2nd, and Alfred’s Victorian, and tastings being offered at places like Mt. Hill Tavern and The Accomac Inn. Pretty impressive for 4 guys that met in a bar one night.

It was winemaker and property manager Paul Vezzetti’s musings that caught the attention of Mike Wilson, now VP of marketing and outreach. Vezzetti, 28, with a strong Italian family and winemaking influence, was overheard saying that Pennsylvania wines could be world class. When Wilson pressed Vezzetti, he went even further and suggested that he was the one to handcraft such wines. One year later The Vineyard at Hershey’s four partners, Vezzetti, Wilson, Jason Reimer and Doug Gellatly, planted their first vines on 40 acres just off the Toll House Road Exit on Rt. 283 in Middletown. 3 years later Vezzetti began blending their harvest with grapes they bought up from the central PA region. His old-school Italian and fruit forward style of winemaking immediately became distinctive; Vezzetti began grafting his ideas about yeast strains and blending onto those grapes. Almost 6000 visitors and 1500 gallons of wine later, The Vineyard at Hershey might not yet have that “world-class” status, but certainly people are paying attention to these Pennsylvania wines.

The tasting room (open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays) pours the standards you’d expect, like fruit wines, a Catawba, and a Niagara. But that’s pretty much where the sweet, orchard fruit-y, classic Pennsylvania wine similarities end. While visiting, I had the pleasure of tasting a light bodied, but spicy Chambourcin (unlike any Chambourcin I’ve ever tasted), and a Seyval Blanc that would stand up against most of my favorite Sauv Blanc imports. Then it got better. I indulged in Firefly, a full-bodied blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and even found favor with two semi-sweet wines, their Twisted Kiss and Crimson Fox.

Then talk turned to the upcoming September 15th release of their Merlot and I was offered a taste: medium-bodied, well-oaked, and hints of plums and cherries. “Jammy,” I thought, “without losing each fruit’s nuance.” Structured with a hint of black pepper, this is a wine worthy of a Napa-style release party, complete with the first bottles arriving via helicopter to an estimated crowd of almost 1,000.

Yes. People are paying attention to The Vineyard at Hershey. With a robust Twitter following @Vineyard Hershey (#wineing) and over 1,200 followers on Facebook (The Vineyard at Hershey), the partners rely heavily on social media outlets to grow their fan base. (Who doesn’t appreciate special discounts for checking in on Foursquare, or for mentioning this article while visiting their tasting room for one Complimentary Tasting!)? Like most of Hershey Harrisburg Wine Country wineries, they have event-based entertainment on their property, indoor and outdoor tasting venues and have started offering private wine-tastings and tours for special events and groups.

As if this wasn’t enough to tempt you to try their wines and prove me wrong, I will offer one closing observation. A world-famous winemaker once told me that people will always love winemakers for their reds, but a truly talented winemaker knows how to create memorable whites. The Vineyard at Hershey’s winemaker, Vezzetti, seems to have taken this to heart and offers up a taste of something to remember in both his Unoaked Chardonnay and his complex Oaked Chardonnay.

The Vineyard at Hershey
598 Schoolhouse Road
Middletown, PA 17057

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NJ Today TV: 2012 a Good Year for New Jersey Grape Growing

Quality Harvest Makes 2012 A Very Good Year for New Jersey Wineries
Posted on September 13, 2012
NJ Today with Mike Scheinder

Landisville grape grower Jim Quarella is always at the mercy of Mother Nature.

“We’re out of control of the weather or anything and we have to deal with what’s given to us and when you can make something good happen with that it’s very rewarding,” he said.

And so far this season, Mother Nature is cooperating creating ideal growing conditions for New Jersey’s grapes.

“This is a very good year for grape harvest in New Jersey,” said Extension Specialist in Pomology at Rutgers University Dan Ward. “We’ve had lots of heat, especially early in the season, which caused the ripening to be early for most fruits including grapes.”

A hot, sunny summer is only part of the recipe for quality grapes. Relatively dry weather conditions in July and average rainfall in August has been crucial to vineyards throughout South Jersey.

“Moderate water stress during grape ripening enhances grape quality,” Ward said.


Quarella explained, “We do not need much water or rainfall for the grape during the growing season because the roots go down so deep.”

Still, the good weather, especially this year’s early spring, came with a price.

“We had early bud break, probably two weeks earlier then normal, then we had a late frost,” Quarella said. “There were many vineyards that really got cooked by the frost and they lost a lot of their crop.”

Fortunately for Quarella, his frost damage wasn’t significant. He grows 20 varieties on Bellview Winery and so far he’s harvested six. The harvest season typically lasts through October.

“We’re really starting to put ourselves on the map,” said Coda Rossa Winery Vineyard Manager Lou Harvey. “We’ve always been the Garden State, but now we are actually known as growing really quality grapes.”

Department of Agriculture Secretary Douglas Fisher explained why New Jersey is a good place for wineries. “For the wine growers we have a certain micro-climate because being between the Delaware Bay and the ocean creates a moderate climate, which creates a great opportunity for growing some fabulous grapes,” he said.

In the late 1990s there were 12 wineries in New Jersey. Now there are 43 licensed wineries in the state.

“New wineries coming in have a lot of experience to draw knowledge from,” Harvey said. “We’re closer together. We definitely work a lot more together.”

Harvey says the state’s wineries are becoming increasingly popular. Business in their tasting room nearly doubled since last year.

At Bellview Winery, Quarella says at this point in the season, he isn’t rushed to harvest the grapes before they reach their ideal maturity, which significantly improves his chances for great wine this season.

Lauren Wanko reports from Landisville.

Watch the video here:

Thursday, September 13, 2012 Recommends Five Hudson Valley Wines

Serious Eats is a very popular and highly ranked and acclaimed food and drinks blog. It's one of the hottest out there. A wonderful notice of recognition for the Hudson Valley.

5 Hudson Valley Wines to Taste This Fall
Sep 13, 2012
Pameladevi Govinda

The Hudson River region of New York produces a number of notable wines made from French hybrids, essentially a cross of Vitis labrusca (the species of grapevine native to North America) grapes and Vitis vinifera (the more familiar European species). The area has a centuries-old custom of growing grapes and making wine—Brotherhood Winery was established in 1839 and is the nation's oldest continuously operating winery—but it's the new wave of winemaking that shows promise. Here are 5 Hudson valley wines to seek out this fall, whether you're up north to view fall foliage or just looking for interesting bottles in local NY stores.

Clinton Vineyards Seyval Naturel NV
On the east side of the Hudson River, Clinton Vineyards has been around since the 1970s and the focus is on one grape only: the singular Seyval Blanc, a French hybrid grape that grows in the cool climate regions of England and North America. High acidity and crisp character lends itself well to the production of sparkling wine, as exhibited in this cheeky, vivacious Champagne-method bubbly, which has a tart lemony taste and waxy finish. It makes a mouth-watering aperitif.

Benmarl Winery Apis 2010 Skin Fermented Chardonnay
Located in Marlboro, on the west side of the Hudson River, this idyllic 37-acre estate grows Lemburger (also known as Blaufränkisch), Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, and Baco Noir (another hybrid grape), as well as hosting a few beehives (Benmarl also produces honey) and roaming sheep that munch on weeds (natural herbicide!). Benmarl recently stopped using insecticides in the hope that beneficial insects will help keep the soils healthy and dynamic. In 2010 they experimented with a long skin contact white wine by keeping Chardonnay grapes on the skins for 4 days during fermentation. The wine went through malolactic fermentation in barrel, spent 14 months in used French oak barrels and was blended with about 25 percent of a barrel-fermented Chardonnay that had no skin contact. We tasted the wine after three weeks of bottling, the result was a deep golden hued wine with perceptible tannic structure and a saline mineral finish.

Tousey Winery 2011 Rebellion Rosé
Further north up the east side of the Hudson, Tousey makes honey and produces wines that have a clear European influence (the winemaker is from England). They make a lovely Riesling, with hints of white flower, lemon peel and chamomile, from one hundred percent Hudson Valley fruit, but it's their Blaufränkisch pink that we particularly enjoyed for its invigorating acidity, hints of menthol and fresh red berries. The grapes spent ten hours fermenting on the skins before pressing. Winemaker and owner Ben Peacock tells us that Blaufränkisch does particularly well in NY due to its affinity to cool climate regions.

Millbrook New York State Chardonnay 2011
It's not unusual for the region to vinify grapes from other winemaking areas of New York State. This bright, clean Chardonnay is made from about one-third fruit from Pellegrini vineyard on Long Island, one-third from Hazlitt Vineyard in the Finger Lakes, and one-third from estate-grown fruit at Millbrook, on the east side of the river. According to the winemaker, Long Island fruit provides aromatics, while the Finger Lakes gives flinty flavors, and their own fruit offers more body and texture. Fifty percent of the grapes were barrel fermented, while the rest fermented in stainless steel.

Hudson-Chatham Winery Empire 2009
From a winery that is pretty far north up the Hudson Valley, this is a blend of Merlot from Long Island, Cabernet Franc from the Finger Lakes and Baco from the Hudson Valley. Unfiltered and un-fined, the wines are blended and then aged in three separate lots: French oak, American oak and stainless steel. When the wine is almost two years old, it is blended, bottled and aged for another six months before release. Think of this wine as a Bordeaux-style blend with a little local character.

About the Author: Pameladevi Govinda is a New York-based freelance writer whose contributions have appeared in Imbibe, Vibe, Decanter, Daily Candy, Spain Gourmetour and more. She has also worked and written for some of New York's best wines shops including Astor Wines & Spirits and Chambers Street Wines. She currently writes and sells wine for Thirst Wine Merchants in Brooklyn's Fort Greene area.

Thanks to the The New York Wine & Grape Foundation for the recent tour of the region.

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Hudson Valley Announces New Cassis Website

The Hudson Valley wine scene is starting to emerge with several passionate and great stories…none of which is more exciting than the making and selling of quality artisanal cassis and black currant wine. In association with FALL IN LOVE WITH HUDSON VALLEY WINE campaign ( this new website celebrates one of the hottest trends in the Valley - cassis.

According to wikipedia, “Crème de cassis is a blood-red, sweet, blackcurrant flavored liqueur, and is an ingredient of kir or a kir royale, both of which are considered an apéritif. The modern version of the drink first appeared in the Burgundy region in 1841, displacing “ratafia de cassis” from prior centuries. It is made from blackcurrants crushed into refined alcohol, with sugar subsequently added. While crème de cassis is a specialty of Burgundy, it is made in other cities of France, as well as in Luxembourg and Quebec.” It is also made in the northeast, especially after the folks at the Cornell Extension, and other agricultural extensions in New England, have extolled the berry’s virtues for many years.

Currants, red and black, are winter hardy, and not susceptible to many of the diseases that plague grapes. A great crop for cold weather regions. So the untapped currant crop was good news for winemakers and consumers. As a result, numerous northeast wineries have a quality currant fruit base to draw from, and thus, more and more wineries are making cassis.

Almost 20,000 bottles of artisanal cassis will be sold in the Hudson Valley this year! The Hudson Valley is the number one producer of artisanal cassis in North America and the Western Hemisphere. All of these are handmade wines, crafted by gifted artisans, and experiencing explosive growth. Word is getting out.
Cassis (or black currant wines and cordials) are traditionally used to make Kir and Kir Royale, one of the most classic cocktails in the world. But cassis is also excellent as an ingredient in many other drinks. It’s also a fabulous dessert wine, that pairs incredibly well with chocolate. And of course, cassis is great to sip on all by itself.

Hudson Valley Cassis producers include:
Adair Vineyards
Brookview Station Winery
Clinton Vineyards
Glorie Farm Winery
Hudson-Chatham Winery
Tousey Winery
Tuthilltown Spirits
Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery

This new website includes profiles and links to all the producers, current articles about Hudson Valley cassis from the press, more than 50 cassis cocktails, as well as all the news going on in the Hudson Valley about cassis, including new products and upcoming events.

As if that wasn't enough proof that cassis is hotter than ever, check out the cover story of the current issue of Hudson Valley Wine magazine - KEEPING IT CURRANT by J. Stephen Casscles!

In the new issue of Hudson Valley Wine magazine, J. Stephen Casscles writes on cassis. The history of the fruit in the Valley as well as how to make are both covered in the piece.

Remember to check out the Hudson Valley Cassis website:

Read more at Hudson Valley magazine:

Monday, September 10, 2012


Pinot Noir is among the most finicky grapes that can be grown. It is high susceptible to disease. It is tricky in the cellar, and will absolutely react badly to rough handling, exhibits the worst aspects in many cases of bottle shock, and will easily go south at even the slightest miscalculation. In fact, the running joke inside the industry is that you either have to be an asshole or a crazy man (or woman) to grow and make your own Pinot Noir. And on the east coast you have to be absolutely certifiable – given how difficult it is to grow anything here. Admittedly, I qualify on ALL counts to be a member of the club. And I want badly to be a member of the club!

Pinot is a black wine grape variety of the species Vitis vinifera. The name may also refer to wines created predominantly from Pinot noir grapes. The name is derived from the French words for "pine" and "black" alluding to the grape variety's tightly clustered dark purple pine-cone shaped bunches of fruit.

Wine writers have long been obsessed with Pinot Noir. Jancis Robinson calls Pinot a "minx of a vine" and André Tchelistcheff declared that "God made Cabernet Sauvignon whereas the devil made Pinot noir." Joel Fleischman of Vanity Fair describes Pinot noir as "the most romantic of wines, with so voluptuous a perfume, so sweet an edge, and so powerful a punch that, like falling in love, they make the blood run hot and the soul wax embarrassingly poetic." And Master Sommelier Madeline Triffon calls pinot "sex in a glass".

Pinot Noir, when done right, is among the most fabulous wines I have ever tasted. As I have gotten older, my tastes have grown simple, pie (almost any kind of fruit), vanilla ice cream, and good pinot noir. Good Pinot Noir sparkles in the glass like a giant cut stone, a translucent red so gorgeous that it catches the light and plays with it like an infant is fascinated by long hair or glasses. The light dangles in the glass, it bounces, it fumbles, it tosses it up and down with ease and carelessness….but it never fails to fascinate.

Now, I said, when it is done right…and there is defiantly a wrong way to do Pinot Noir. I like I said, I’m getting older. I don’t need a super concentrated Pinot Noir. Admittedly, I have enjoyed a glass of Hanzell or Kistler Pinot Noir in my life time. One friend (Evan Dawson) even opined, I had “crossed over to the dark side.” Not quite Quasimodo. I can kick the wild side of town when I want to. But home is home. There’s Burgundy and then there’s east coast. And that’s my Pinot Noir.

The best Pinot Noir in the world comes from Burgundy. I have to admit, that the best of the best still come from Burgundy. But the quantities are so small, and some are almost legendary for their elusiveness even to the biggest Pinot collectors.

But here’s what really think – the best Pinots in the US come from the east coast. Now don’t get me wrong, I grew up on Hanzell, Patz & Hall, Kistler, and many others. And they are very, very good wines. And I recently spent a weekend in Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez, and the Santa Rita Hills, and I loved Foley, and Babcock, and one of my all time favorites Fiddlehead (in the Lampock Wine Ghetto).

The best Pinot Noirs come from the east coast. And there are reasons for that.

1. The weather. Now, I understand, the weather on the east coast is rough enough to wear you down like being locked in a room with an angry mother-in-law (I happen to love mine, so I don’t count). The weather on the east coast is rainy (compared in California) and cold, and severe, and hot and humid. The warm, moist, humid conditions in summer do their best to encourage disease, thereby killing your crop. And the cold, severe, cruel winters do their best to kill off the plant itself! Yet, capture just enough of the summer in a bunch of pinot noir grapes, and you’re in for a treat. Pinot likes cool weather. A warm summer, with some air coming from a body of water is the best protection. The Finger Lakes, the North Fork, and the Hudson Valley all qualify.

2. If you like big heavy Pinot, then this article isn’t for you. You’re a heathen. Find some raw meat, and grab some unsuspecting partner by the hair, and get your club, and go pick fleas out of each other’s fur while lying on animal skins. If you like fine Pinot Noir, light to medium bodied, they really can’t make anything else on the east coast. This is the correct way to make Pinot Noir. There is no variation. No one’s using a concentrator to catch up. These are nice food wines. Soft, approachable. Lovely. Elegant. Welcome to well balanced wines, with fruit, acid, tannin, that feature bright cherry and sour cherry and light raspberry. Everything a fine Pinot Noir should be.

3. Price point. Other than Patz & Hall, all the best California Pinot Noirs are relatively expensive. The best are astronomical. I would say the same thing about the best of Burgundy, but they are unobtainable anyway, so why bother complain about the price! However, no matter how “expensive” you may view the price of some east coast Pinot Noirs, they are nowhere near those massive prices. They are easily among the most affordable in the US market, among serious, quality wine producers.

James Beard award winning wine expert Steven Kolpan recently wrote an article in the June-August 2012 issue of Valley Table magazine entitled "Warm Wheather Reds: Chill Out," extolling the virtues of Pinot Noir from around the world. In the article Kolpan recommended wines from the Hudson Valley: "For a good local/aternative choice, look for Hudson Valley Pinot Noir produced by Millbrook, Robibero, Oak Summitt, Bashakill; Chelois from Hudson-Chatham, Genoa produced by Cereghino-Smith."

Gregory Dal Piaz of also liked the Hudson Valley noir-ish wines, liking the same Pinot Noirs as Kolpan, as well as Hudson-Catham Chelois and the Hudson-Chatham Baco Noir Old Vines and the Whitecliff Vineyards Gamay Noir.

Sommelier Journal’s Patricia Savoie also praised the same wines.

If they are good enough for Sommelier Journal, Kolpan, and Dal Piaz, they are good enough for me. Not in any particular order, here’s my list of the best in the east…and possibly the US. I'd stack anyone of these Pinots against a lot of other wines from the west coast.

Heart in Hands – Tom Higgins is the master of east coast Pinot Noir in the Finger Lakes. Neither the west coast nor Burgundy can look down their noses at Heart in Hands in the Finger Lakes. He only makes Pinot Noir and Riesling. This portfolio of best Pinot Noirs is some of the best anywhere…period! Fantastic stuff!

McGregor – The first time I tasted this Finger Lakes varietal, when I was much younger, well, I thought it thin and watery. But now I love it. The expression of fruit is light and super bright. Lots of fresh cherry. Absolutely a great food wine.

Red Tail Ridge Vineyards – This Finger Lakes winery continues to impress. This Pinot Noir by Nancy Ireland and her husband is some of the most amazing in the state. These are wine people from California, but they make Pinot Noir like they’re from Beaune! Wonderful!

Rooster Hill Winery – A nice, fruity, layered Pinot Noir from the Finger Lakes. A very nice red, with good color, texture, and taste. Lots of flavor. The fruit stays with you a long time.

Oak Summit Vineyards – Possibly the best Pinot Noir on the east coast. John Bruno is a master of Pinot Noir. This retired restaurateur is a farmer at heart, and tends to his vineyards like a momma bear watches over her cubs. The result is an impressive, gorgeous wine from the Hudson Valley with real umph and staying power. Marvelous!

Jamesport Vineyards – This North Fork Pinot Noir is an amazing bottle of wine. It begs for food – cheese, grilled or roasted chicken or pork….maybe even cassoulet. One of my favorites.

Unionville Vineyards – This stunner from New Jersey is made by former California winemaker Cameron Stark. The result of his work is a sophisticated, layered, medium bodied wine with nice fruit, good acids, and nice balance. A lovely, sophisticated Pinot Noir.

Ankida Ridge – One of my big finds of the year! This Virginia Pinot Noir tasted like something from the Cote D’Or. Amazing! A delicate wine with sophistication. Just enough bright fruit in a state whose reds much more resemble California than New York. An absolute winner!

Tousey Winery – This Hudson Valley wine is soft, with nice fruit, and incredibly well balanced with acidity and soft tannins. This wine is almost indecent, it’s so good. The wine has drawn incredible praise for far, and will continue to gather a large following.

Brotherhood Winery - Big fruit up front, lot's of fine cherry and a hint of plum and strawberry. It was bright, and fresh. with low acidity and low tannins. The wine finished dry and smooth. A very nice, light-to-medium bodied Pinot Noir. Perfect for spring and summer dishes, and great with some fresh, Hudson Valley cheese!

Shaw Vineyard – This Finger Lakes Pinot Noir is a multi-layered wine with lots of fruit, good acidity, and a wonderful finish. Nice aging to this wine allows layers to come through. Very complex. Lovely.

Anthony Napa Rose’ Pinot – A rose’ made from Pinot Noir? Wasteful? Decadent? A sacrelige? Possibly all. But nonetheless it’s a freakin’ winner. Bright acidity, lovely strawberry nose, and a fantastic finish! Wonderful!

Ravines Wine Cellars – Morten Hellegren is a master in the cellar. And actual transplant from Europe, there’s no mistaking where Morten draws his inspiration from with this incredible, sophisticated wine. Not too fruity, but an absolute experience. Delicate. Elegant. Hallgren makes the most of this Finger Lakes fruit, and transports you across the big pond. A few sips of this fantastic Pinot Noir, and you’ll be speaking French.

Dr. Konstantin Frank Old Vines – This is the grand daddy of all east coast Pinot Noirs, and it shows. A spectacular wine, with layers of fruits from medium to light. A hint of leather. You half expect this Colossas of the Finger Lakes to start speaking all by itself, it has so much character. Absolutely among the top wines.

Vetter Vineyards – Long a staple of the Niagara region, Vetter’s been making Pinot Noir a long time. And the western part of New York grows some lovely Pinot Noir, just southg opf Canada’s best know Pinot region….what a surprise. A light, lovely Pinot Noir.

Arrowhead Springs – Duncan Ross is easily one of the best winemakers of the western part of New York. His Niagara region Pinot Noir isn’t something you drink – you look forward to it, and you savor it. He’s another incredible winemaker, and this Pinot sings. Always a treat to pour for friends. Fantastic!

Billsboro Winery – Anthony’s Alberti has been making wine in the Finger Lakes a long time. An this Pinot noir is wonderful. Lots and lots of bright fruit up front, with just enough of an austere finish to render this wine an absolute knock out.

Loudon Valley – This Vorginia Pinot is among my new favorites. A medium-bodied dry red profile of cherry and a mix of exotic spices on the nose...vanilla, raisin and other more exotic spices. But the wine is all medium-to-black cherry, with layers of flavors underneath that. A lovely wine.

Millbrook Vineyards Block Five East- John Graziano knows how to make John Dyson’s Hudson Valley vines absolutely sing. Graziano hands Pinot Noir like Back knew how to play harpsichord – brilliantly. This wine has all the finesse of a lighter grand wine, but it has enough meat on its bones to pick a fight with lighter meats and charred meats. Amazing! Graziano also makes a larger, more popularly priced label which is just as humbling.

Heron Hill 2007 Ingle Vineyard Pinot Noir – This light, lovely wine from this Finger Lakes producer is an exceptional wine, with nice flavor and solid composition. Has all the fruit of a sunnier climate, but the acidity and structure of a cooler climate wine. One of the winery’s best wines.

McCall Pinot – This Long Island wine is so good, Salmon swim upriver just to be paired with it. Big lush fruit with nice acidity and solid tannins offer up a wine that is extremely well balanced, with nuances of flavor that make it simply put – spectacular.

Lamoreaux Landing – Almost a rosato, it is so light. It had strawberries on the nose and was quite quaffabe. Very nice. A lovely wine from this Finger Lakes producer.

Whitecliff Vineyard – A wonderful Hudson Valley Pinot Noir with a bouncy cherry upfront, but with all the pepper and finish you’d expect out of a classic Burgundy. A small wonder from winemaker Michael Migliore.

Chaddsford Winery – Eric Miller learned to appreciate wine while living in Burgundy with his legendary father Mark Miller, founder of Benmarl. Now in Pennsylvania, Miller’s keen understanding of winemaking (one of the best on the east coast) draws him near magical things – making an absolutely impressive Pinot Noir!

Damiani Wine Cellars Pinot noir – Very nice. Very light, with hints of strawberry and vanilla. Dry finish. Tasty.

Other honorable mentions: Benmarl Baco Noir (the oldest and best); Sheldrake Point Gamay Noir (light, zippy acidity, fabulous!); Warwick Valley Black Dirt Red (soft, chewy, juicy, delicious!); Afton Mountain Pinot Noir (I have never tried it but several Virginia bloggers like it a lot).

Special thanks to New York Cork Report ,, and cellar track for certain labels.