Friday, October 25, 2013

Onion Punks New York State Booze Industry; Sends Hilarious "At Rest" Joke Survey

It's been a while since the Onion, America's Finest News Source, tried to take over the NY Wine and Culinary Center. But their newest prank is even funnier and so far fetched that New York liquor stores, restaurants, wineries, distilleries, and breweries are laughing themselves silly.

Just recently, the New York State Liquor Authority (who apparently is in on the gag) sent out a survey asking wholesalers, liquor stores, and producers their thoughts on "at rest." Of course, what makes it all so hilarious is that "at rest" is an insane plan to require all companies who sell booze in New York state to have a warehouse in New York state. The joke is, there's not that much warehouse room in the whole state...LOL! Which is why the booze "rests" somewhere New Jersey, Pennsylvania, or Connecticut or elsewhere.
“At Rest” means that all liquor and wine shipped to a NY restaurant or retailer in the state of New York must come from a NY warehouse after it has come “to rest” for at least 24 hours. This hilarious gag is  an attempt by Southern and Empire, who are two wholesalers, who are trying to eradicate 150 other small wholesalers and put them out of business. Hilarious!
The preposterous detail of this pointless prank is that if distributors, who keep offices in NYC, were required to warehouse their product in New York state in order to sell in New York state, then a HUGE number of them would go out of business, or be forced to increase their prices hugely.

And of course, the real dupes in the prank are New York consumers. They'll unwittingly pay the extra fees and lose a whole lot of choice!!! You gotta love the can always pawn off a lot of hilarious stuff on them!

And the funniest part of the prank is that the two wholesalers completely overspent!!!! According to Wine Spectator, Southern contributed nearly $30,000 to New York lawmakers during the 2012 election year, while Empire made more than $330,000 in contributions to New York politicians during that time. Empire Merchants LLC has given a total of $30,000 to Sen. Klein since 2009!!!

Who would be that stupid?!!!!

The most amazing part of the prank is that Southern and Empire somehow paid for the naming rights of the NYSLA, or something to that effect, since it was the NYSLA's logo that was put on the preposterous joke! I've dealt with the NYSLA many times. They are professionals who are very serious about their business. I didn't know that they had that kind of sense of humor! Or maybe someone put them up to it? Nice to know for future dealings!

Fall In Love With Hudson Valley Wine 2013 Continues!!! Halloween Surprises Oct 25-31, 2013!!!

Halloween is here! And you can have fun like never before! You'll fall in love with Hudson Valley wine, you might lose your head! There are more than12 more events to choose from this weekend!!! Another series of amazing events!!! We have a Halloween Ball at Brotherhood and costume events at Hudson-Chatham and Brookview, as well as tours, concerts, and much more!!! There's music, wine tastings, food, fun, and laughter!!! C'mon, Fall in Love With Hudson Valley Wine!!!

Oct 25 Annual Halloween Costume Ball 7pm BROTHERHOOD WINERY

Oct 26 4th Annual Hallo-Wine with prizes HUDSON-CHATHAM WINERY

Oct 26 Petey Hop Concert ROBIBERO VINEYARDS

Oct 26- 27 Sugarbush Dog Agility Show BROOKVIEW STATION

Oct 26 – 27 Uncorked and Unplugged Concert Series 2 to 5pm at WARWICK VALLEY

Oct 26 & 27 Strawberry, Chocolate and Wine Festival Noon BALDWIN VINEYARDS

Oct 27  Complete Wine Tour With Owner 3pm WHITECLIFF VINEYARDS

Oct 27 Double Play Concert ROBIBERO VINEYARDS

Oct 31 – Hallo- Winery ” Catch the Spirit”  Psychic Fair 6-9pm BROOKVIEW STATION

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

East Coast Cider: A Primer of the Best Ciders

There are few places on earth that compare with the cider country of the east coast! From Canada to Virginia, there is more variety and more creativity than almost anywhere else in the world.

Just for the record, what is cider and where does it come from?

According to Wikipedia, “Cider or cyder (/ˈsaɪdər/ SY-dər) is a fermented alcoholic beverage made from fruit juice, most commonly and traditionally apple juice, but also the juice of peaches, pears ("Perry" cider) or other fruit. Cider varies in alcohol content from 1.2% ABV to 8.5% or more in traditional English ciders. In some regions, such as Germany and United States, cider may be called "apple wine". 

In the United States and some parts of Canada, "hard cider" usually refers to the alcoholic beverage discussed in this article, while "cider" may refer to non-alcoholic apple juice. When sugar or extra fruit has been added and a secondary fermentation increases the alcoholic strength, a cider is classified as "apple wine".
Cider may be made from any variety of apple, but certain cultivars grown solely for use in cider are known as cider apples. Cider is popular in the United Kingdom, especially in the West Midlands (region), South West England and East Anglia. The United Kingdom has the highest per capita consumption of cider, as well as the largest cider-producing companies in the world, including H. P. Bulmer, the largest. As of 2006, the U.K. produces 600 million litres of cider each year (130 million imperial gallons). Much cider today is made from apple pulp rather than fresh apples and may contain added sweeteners or flavors.
The beverage is also popular and traditional in some European countries as Ireland and the French regions of Brittany (chistr) and Normandy (cidre); In Spain it is especially popular in the Principality of Asturias (sidra) although it can also be found in the Basque Country (sagardo) and Galicia (sidra); Germany is another country where cider is drunk, above all in Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse (Frankfurt am Main). In Poland which is the largest producer of apples in Europe, cider (Cydr, or Jabłecznik) is just recently gaining on popularity however a lot of English, Swedish, Irish ciders are made from Polish apple concentrate that is considered very high quality. Argentina is also a cider-producing and -drinking country, especially the provinces of Río Negro and Mendoza. Australia also produces cider, particularly on the island of Tasmania, which has a strong apple-growing tradition.
Pear cider is used as an alternative name for perry in the marketing of some producers' products.

And what of cider in the US? According to Dan Wilson’s webpage for Slyboro House, “Ciders once ruled all other drinks in taverns and farmsteads in early colonial America. Apple seeds were brought over on ships from Europe along with centuries of cidermaking traditions that quickly spread through the New World. With the westward expansion of pioneers and the help of "Johnny Appleseed", orchards were planted on most farms with the dual purpose of establishing proof of cultivation and homesteading and providing a source of cider. Fermented ciders were consumed in this region more than any other drink bar none. In 1726, the per capita average consumption of cider was 35 gallons per person! Farms, families and towns would work together to put up thousands of barrels of cider each year. Barrel fermented cider could either be mild or strong, depending on the recipe or treatment and no doubt fine ciders were made. These ciders were relatively low in alcohol, so children and adults drank cider regularly. In some cases it was considered safer to drink than the local water. President John Adams was known to drink a tankard of cider each morning to promote his good health.
The Whig party in 1840 used the symbols of a "Log cabin and barrel of cider" to represent the self reliance of traditional American values in their bid for the Presidency (they won). Cider was also used in the place of currency in rural areas, being used to pay for services from the doctor, minister, etc.

Alas, a series of events brought about the decline in cidermaking and drinking in America. The advent of the Temperance movement and Prohibition brought about the chopping down of many orchards and declaration of cider as an evil drink. The migration of a largely rural population to more urban centers and an influx of German immigrants to these areas paved the way for large scale beer production which was easier and cheaper to produce in these urban centers. By the time Prohibition was lifted, cidermaking had virtually disappeared and was being replaced by farmers marketing apple juice or "sweet" cider.
But now, there is a renewed passion for modern cidermaking in North America. Not surprisingly, there are good cidermakers on each coast. I favour the east coast. No surprise there.
The top tier cideries include La Face Cachee De La Pomme, Farnum Hill, and West County Cider. These are people who make art from apples. They are the best ciders and the highest quality. They treat cider like great winemakers create great wine. Some of my other favorites include Warwick Valley, Beak & skiff, Steampunk Cider, Foggy Ridge, Bellwether, and Slyboro House. They people also make great ciders.
Some of the most important people in cider include Elizabeth Ryan (Breezy Hill), Steve Wood (Farnum Hill), Sara Grady (Cider Week), and Dan Wilson (Slyboro House) are among the biggest movers and shakers in the industry.

All the cidermakers listed herein make wonderful cider. Two individual reviews missing, in my estimation, would be Bellwether and Slyboro House. I have reviewed their ciders in the past, but it seems I could not find individual reviews of their line-ups…something I will have to remedy as soon as possible. Both are excellent producers.
Of the ice cidermakers, La Face, Slyboro and Eve’s Cidery all make excellent ice ciders.


Also, new things are being done with ciders. They been made using witte beer yeasts, aged in Bourbon barrels, and made with hops and pumpkin! This is not you grandfather's apple cider.

The following links are to pieces I’ve written over the years. They are in no particular order.

Esquire Raves About East Coast Ciders
Visit Vortex: Ye Olde Hard Cider is Hipster Cool

Beak & Skiff - Cider and Spirits With An Old-Fashioned Twist

Blurring the Line Between Craft Brewing and Cider -Bad Seed Cider Lights Up the Industry (HV)

Steampunk Cider from Leonard Oakes (NY)

Jack's Hard Cider from Hauser Estate Winery (PA) Fantastic!

A Visit to Farnum Hill Ciders (NH): Watching Art Being Made
Furnace Brook Winery at Hilltop Orchards
Applewood Winery Rosey Apple and Grape in the Hudson Valley
West County Cider Redfield in the Berkshires (MA)

Harvest Moon Red Barn Raspberry Hard Cider

Foggy Ridge First Fruit Hard Cider (VA)

Warwick Valley Doc's Draft Pumpkin Hard Apple Cider (NY)


Mount Vernon Mulled Apple Cider

Summer Time and the call goes out for Cider!

Foggy Ridge Hard Cider

Spencerville Red Hard Apple Cider from Colesville, MD Wow! (MD)

All Hail Essence From Eve's Cidery

Annandale Cider from Montgomery Place Orchards


Brookview Station Jo-Daddy's Hard Cider

Some of My Favorite Hudson Valley Ciders

Monday, October 21, 2013

Village Voice: Tuthilltown Spirits Best Local Distiller 2013

Welcome to
Welcome to Tuthilltown Spirits
 Food & Drink
Best Local Distiller - 2013
Tuthilltown Spirits
Tuthilltown Spirits released its first batch of vodka in 2003 when it was operating out of a 220-year-old gristmill in Gardiner. Several years later, the distillery has numerous awards under its belt and a vastly expanded repertoire. Cassis liqueur, bitters, several types of whiskey, rum, vodka, and gin are all made on the premises, and the whiskeys are nationally recognized as some of the best on the market. The spirit makers utilize the surrounding farming community: The vodka is made from Hudson Valley apples picked from trees five miles down the road; the corn for the whiskey grows just a few more miles away. Stop by for a tour and tasting of this farm-to-bottle operation.

The Apple That Won the Pulitzer Prize - Annie Proulx's Classic on Cider History and Making


Edna Annie Proulx (/ˈpruː/) was born August 22, 1935 and is an American journalist and author. She has written most frequently as Annie Proulx but has also used the names E. Annie Proulx and E.A. Proulx. Her second novel, The Shipping News (1993), won both the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction and was adapted as a 2001 film of the same name. Her short story Brokeback Mountain was adapted as an Academy Award, BAFTA and Golden Globe Award-winning major motion picture released in 2005. She won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for her first novel, Postcards.
According to Wikipedia: Proulx (born Edna Ann Proulx, her first name honoring one of her mother's aunts), was born in Norwich, Connecticut, to parents of English and French-Canadian ancestry. Her maternal forebears came to America fifteen years after the Mayflower in 1635. She graduated from Deering High School in Portland, Maine, then attended Colby College "for a short period in the 1950s", where she met her first husband H. Ridgely Bullock, Jr. She later returned to college, studying at the University of Vermont from 1966 to 1969, and graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. degree in History in 1969. She earned her M.A. degree from Sir George Williams University (now Concordia University) in Montreal, Quebec in 1973 and pursued, but did not complete, her Ph.D. degree. Proulx lived for more than thirty years in Vermont…In 1994, she moved to Saratoga, Wyoming, where she currently resides, spending part of the year in northern Newfoundland on a small cove adjacent to L'Anse aux Meadows.

But what most people don’t know,  is that in the wines, beers, spirits, and cider world, she should be known only for one thing – writing the single best book ever written on cider. In 1980, got Gateway Publishing, Annie Proulx and Lew Nichols wrote Cider: Cider: Making, Using & Enjoying Sweet & Hard Cider. Currently in its Third Edition, the book is available from Storey Books, part of the Workman Books company.

The sell copy reads: The Pilgrims drank cider as they sailed to America aboard the Mayflower. John Adams had a tankard of cider every morning at breakfast. After a long day on safari, Ernest Hemingway liked to kick back beside the campfire with a glass of cider. And Robert Frost saluted his favorite beverage with a poem titled ?In A Glass of Cider.? Neck and neck with brewing beer at home is the resurgence of making cider. Whether sweet, hard, blended, or sparkling, trend watchers say cider, once the preferred beverage of early America, could very well become the drink of the future. (Hard cider is the fastest growing segment of the beverage industry.) Keeping pace with the commercial cider producers are small-scale and individual cider makers who have discovered how easy it is to make their own. After all, the only ingredient you need is an apple. In this updated edition of Cider, Annie Proulx and Lew Nichols take you step-by-step through the process that renders fruit into a refreshing drink. In addition to learning about the equipment you?ll need to make a glorious cider, Proulx and Nichols also discuss the pros and cons of various types of apple presses ? from traditional heavy grinders to sleek hydraulic presses. You?ll also learn about the glass bottles vs. wooden barrels debate; how to filter, fine, and rack your cider; and where and how to store it. Proulx and Nichols provide detailed recipes for making six types of cider: still, sparkling, champagne, barrel, French, and flavored, with advice on which apples to use to achieve a tart, aromatic, astringent, or neutral quality in your cider. In fact, this book is brimming with expert advice on cidermaking. If you want to plant your own apple orchard, this book has an entire chapter that lists which cultivars of apples thrive in which parts of the United States and Canada, along with each cultivar?s characteristics and when it is ready for harvesting. Another chapter explains how to care for an orchard, from improving the soil to pruning and thinning the trees to fighting off pests and wildlife. Once a cidermaker has learned how to make excellent cider, he or she is likely to look for further fields t o explore. With that in mind, the authors include a chapter on making cider vinegars and brandy and using cider in cooking.
Finally, Proulx and Nichols walk you through the latest federal regulations covering the production and sale of homemade cider in the United States and Canada, and they familiarize you with the kind of impact state and provincial laws can make. The clear, simple language, numerous illustrations, and detailed step-by-step directions make it easy for even novices to become skilled cidermakers. This revised edition of the classic handbook is a complete guide for anyone who wants to discover the pleasure of making ? and drinking ? fresh cider.

The book is an absolute pleasure to read. My 1980 edition is dog-earred and well worn. But I have the newest 2003 edition of the book as well. Proulx and Nichols take you on a whirl wind history of the beverage as well as a detailed instructions on how to make it.
What makes the book sweeter is that the 2003 edition has an introduction by John Vittori, the wine and cidermaker of Furnace Brook Winery! This is the best single book ever written on cider, and is the only cider book you should ever need to for this history and making of cider. It is a classic of the wines, beers, and spirits cannon, and is certainly, due to it's parentage, a book to be included in the cannon of great east coast wine books!


Mrs. Appleseed - Sara Grady Trumpets the Revival of Hard Cider

John Chapman (September 26, 1774 – March 11, 1845), often called Johnny Appleseed, was an American pioneer nurseryman who introduced apple trees to large parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, including the northern counties of present day West Virginia. He became an American legend while still alive, due to his kind, generous ways, his leadership in conservation, and the symbolic importance he attributed to apples.

The popular image is of Johnny Appleseed spreading apple seeds randomly, everywhere he went. In fact, he planted nurseries rather than orchards, built fences around them to protect them from livestock, left the nurseries in the care of a neighbor who sold trees on shares, and returned every year or two to tend the nursery. Although apples grown from seed are rarely sweet or tasty, apple orchards with sour apples were popular among the settlers because apples were mainly used for producing hard cider and apple jack.

Cider became very popular in colonial America for two reasons – firstly because it tasted good, and secondly, potable water wasn’t always so easy to secure, so low alcohol hard cider and sweet cider were good alternatives. The Hudson Valley is among the biggest apple producing regions on the east coast (though it is well shy of its prowess from a hundred years ago). Cider’s popularity declined with the influx of German, Irish, and central European who gave rise to the beer industry.

Enter Sara Grady. Sara is not the first of the cider pioneers. Annie Proulx, the Pulitzer-Prize winning author, wrote one of the best books on cider 20 years ago, and it is still considered a classic. Steve Wood at Farnum Hill, Dan Wilson at Slyboro, and Jason Grizzanti at Warwick Valley have been beating the cider drum for years. They gave the movement strength.

But Sara made the movement “happen.” Sara coalesced it. She took a group of disparate produces, and gave them a common ground. Brought them together. She established a community of them, and got them talking to one another. She established a conversation. And she established Cider Week.

“I created Cider Week,” she told Sara Forrest of last year, “as part of the work I’m doing to support the viability of orchards, and to establish hard cider and apple spirits as signature Hudson Valley apple products. Actually, Cider Week has grown beyond just Hudson Valley cider and now involves a group of craft cider producers from throughout New York and New England – all of whom have a shared goal to build appreciation for and awareness of (real) hard cider.”

Ann Monroe wrote in Edible Manhattan, “Cider Week, mounted as part of a much bigger Apple Project run by the upstate agricultural not-for-profit Glynwood Center, is a celebration of apple alcohol and all the benefits it can bring to local orchards and drinkers alike. Sara Grady, Glynwood’s special projects director and Cider Week mastermind, has arranged an exchange between nascent Northeast cider makers and their storied French counterparts, who’ll be here in October, and is developing a Hudson Valley Cider Route, inspired by similar trails in Europe.” 
When asked how she got involved with Glennwood, Sara told, “I got deeply interested in food and agriculture because it’s where all my interests in culture, history, nature, art, and science intersect. I used to produce educational and doc-style media for television and exhibitions… but it felt like commentary and I wanted to feel like I was making things happen. So I started doing video work about farms and food projects, one of which was Glynwood. I was just in the right place at the right time! I got a job there as a program director, and now I create programs to support regional food production. It’s creative, I get to help people who are passionate about what they do, and I am always learning! I love it.”

“Orchards were razed in the name of sobriety, and apples were recast as a fruit for healthy eating. Today America is home to only a quarter of the 20 million apple trees we grew in 1900, and our apple diversity has been pared back to just a few varieties. Most of the apples we consume are drunk as juice reconstituted from concentrate, 82 percent of it imported, mostly from China,” Sara told Edible Manhattan.

“New York is the second largest grower of apples in the nation,” Sara has said, “acreage in apples in the Hudson Valley declined by 14 percent and the number of orchards went down by 25 percent.”

Sara went on to explain the value of cider to farmers and farming, saying, “Apple growers in the Hudson Valley, like many farmers, have been challenged in recent years by rising costs of production, changing weather patterns, and development pressures. Hard cider and apple spirits are higher value products that allow farms to diversify, add value to the crop, even out the growing season – and therefore can bring higher profits and a steadier income.”

“Also, apples sold for fresh eating are expected to be perfect-looking and unblemished – so any fruit that is not cosmetically perfect can’t be sold fresh. But when you’re just going to crush the fruit and ferment the juice, beauty is irrelevant. So it’s a great way for a grower to reclaim the value on fruit that might be rejected for supermarket shelves – maybe it got hit by hail or is otherwise marred, but it’s still perfectly delicious! Incidentally, growers who specialize in hard cider apples may be able to spray fewer chemicals since a lot of that is just to ensure perfect-looking fruit,” Sara told Forrest.

“The biggest challenge is making people understand what cider is, that it’s not this sweet fizzy stuff you get in a deli or as a beer alternative,” Grady told “Having a sense of place through food is very powerful,” she says. “The idea that there is something that was very American, very much a part of American culture and American history that is also tied to that sense of place. … People feel connected to that idea, that this is something that was a part of our history and can be again a part of our culture.”

And that is the special gift of Sara Grady. She is Mrs. Appleseed. She is the second coming of Mr. Chapman. She may not be out there planting trees, but she mind as well be. She has synthesized the message and is the foghorn for it. In the mist of beers, and wine, and spirits, she is the siren singing the song of cider, calling out for people not to forget where they came from. Calling them home to an earlier, simpler, more healthy time. Healthier for the land especially.

In Cider Week, Grady has created a maelstrom of good press for cidermakers all over the east coast, but especially in the Hudson Valley. Not only did she create the Cider Trail, but in 2013 her organization helped create dozens of stories in the media celebrating cider, and coordinated more than 55 events from New York City to Albany with tastings, dinners, and food pairings. She is determined and single-minded. She has done an excellent job. And luckily for us, she's been a success.
To read more about Sara:

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Fall In Love With Hudson Valley Wine 2013 Continues!!! Oct 18-20, 2013!!!

This weekend begins Hudson Valley Cider Week! Discover the brave new world of Hudson Valley cider! From traditional all the way to the most sophisticated ciders! All week, from NYC to Albany there are many events to be tasted and tried! More than 55 events...check it out!!!
And in the wine country, there are more than12 more events to choose from this weekend!!! Another series of amazing events!!! We have a wine tent at Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool Festival and the Annual Harvest Party at Millbrook Vineyards, a dog circus, and much more!!! There's music, wine tastings, food, fun, and laughter!!! C'mon, Fall in Love With Hudson Valley Wine!!!
Oct 18-27 Hudson Valley Cider Week

Oct 19 & 20 NY State Sheep and Wool Festival, Dutchess Cty. Fairgrounds, Rhinebeck, NY WINE TENT 

Oct 19 23rd Annual Harvest Party Luncheon 12-4pm MILLBROOK VINEYARDS

Oct 19th    Muttville Commix Dog Circus 2 Shows 1 & 3 pm BROOKVIEW STATION

Oct 19 Longchamp and Manzo Concert 2-5pm WARWICK VALLLEY WINERY

Oct 19 Me & My Ex Concert ROBIBERO VINEYARDS

Oct 19 & 20 Grape Stomping BROTHERHOOD WINERY

Oct 19 & 20 Strawberry, Chocolate and Wine Festival Noon BALDWIN VINEYARDS

Oct 20  Complete Wine Tour With Owner 3pm WHITECLIFF VINEYARDS

Oct 20 Marc Von Em Concert ROBIBERO VINEYARDS

Oct 20 Halloween “Pets on Parade”  2pm BROOKVIEW STATION

Oct 20 4 Gun Ridge Concert 2 to 5 pm WARWICK VALLEY WINERY

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Legislative Gazette: New Laws to Help New York Vintners (NY)

In August, Gov. Andrew Cuomo toured vineyards along the western shore of Seneca Lake to promote the Taste of New York program. Continuing the state's efforts to better market and promote locally produced wine, the governor recently signed a series of bills permitting the sale of bottled wine at roadside farm markets, as well as the rebranding and designation of wine trails throughout upstate New York to stimulate local economies and boost tourism. Photo by courtesy of the Governor’s Office.
New laws to help NY vintners '
October 7, 2013

Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently signed into law a series of bills allowing New York state wine to be offered locally at roadside farm markets as well as the rebranding and designation of state wine trails. The bills come on the heels of recent efforts to boost tourism and job growth within local communities throughout upstate New York by marketing and promoting the state's thriving wine industry.

"These new laws will build on our continuing efforts to promote New York's wine industry across the state and beyond, boosting tourism, local economies and job growth," Cuomo said.

The farm markets bill (S.267/A.1512), sponsored by Sen. William Larkin, R-New Windsor, and Assemblyman William Magee, D-Nelson, permits the sale of wine produced by up to two licensed wineries at roadside farm markets located within 20 miles of the wineries.

The governor signed four wine trail bills; one expands an existing wine trail, another expands and renames two existing wine trails, and one establishes a new wine trail. The goal is to increase tourism in New York's wine-making regions. Photo by AP.

The bill amends the alcoholic beverage law and creates a new license obtainable through the State Liquor Authority for farm wineries, special wineries or micro wineries to be able to sell bottles of wine for "off-premise" purchase at roadside farm markets.

"By allowing New York's wide variety of quality wines to be sold at roadside farm markets, we are opening another door for this important industry. This is a measure that will support the growth of local businesses in our communities, and provide an important boost to wine producers across the state," Magee said.

The annual fee for roadside stands to obtain a retailers license to sell the bottled wine is $100 according to Section 7 of the bill, which gives regulatory authority to the Liquor Authority as to what precisely constitutes a farm stand and mandates that such farms stands are not to conduct wine tastings.

A spokesperson from Larkin's office said the provision in the bill against wine tastings by roadside markets was included to simplify the licensing process. He said in order to streamline the licensing process, that restriction had to be included because if people were to drink at the stands, more oversight would be required by the Liquor Authority — potentially further complicated by concerns of drunk driving.

The primary focus of the farm markets bill is off-premise consumption of the wine, simply providing a venue for farmers to sell locally produced wine, and "thereby increase excise tax collections and increase employment by New York wineries," according to the bill language.

Sen. Terry Gipson, D-Rhinebeck, co-sponsor of the farm markets bill said, "Showcasing and selling locally produced wines will help grow the economy and provide additional income for our local farmers and vintners."

He continued, "As the ranking member on the Agriculture Committee and a member of the Tourism Committee, this law will not only boost our local agriculture economy, but will also enable anyone who stops at a roadside stand to bring home the best flavors of our region."

The governor also signed four wine trail bills into law; one expands an existing wine trail, another expands and renames two existing wines trails, and one establishes a new wine trail.

"We are increasing market opportunities for local producers and farmers and expanding our wine trails to attract tourists to communities across upstate New York. Our state is home to hundreds of wineries that produce some of the best wine in the world, and we want both New Yorkers and visitors to come and enjoy them," Cuomo said.

Bill A.4614-a/A.2790, sponsored by Larkin and Assemblyman James Skoufis, D-Chester, expands the Shawangunk East Wine trail. The trail will include State Route 32 from Route 17 in Orange County, to Route 94 in New Windsor to Route 9W, continuing westward on to Route 44/55 in the Town of Lloyd to its intersection with Route 208 in the Town of Gardiner in Ulster County, according to the Governor's Office

"I am very pleased that two of my bills helping the wine industry were signed into law. By authorizing licensed farm stands to sell local wines and expanding the Shawangunk East Wine trail, we are creating more opportunities for New York state to promote its wine industry," Larkin said. "I thank Governor Cuomo for his approval of these two laws."

Bill A.2024-a/S.1095-a) sponsored by Senator George Maziarz, R-Newfane, both extends and renames two Niagara wine trails. The Niagara Escarpment Wine Trail will be renamed the "Niagara Wine Trail Ridge" and will include all of Route 104 through Route 390, according to the Governor's Office.

The Niagara Wine Trail will be renamed the "Niagara Wine Trail Lake" and will include portions of Route 269, Routes 104 and 18, Route 425, and Route 62 in Niagara and Erie counties.

"As the wine industry grows in the Niagara Region, we need to keep supporting it and helping it realize its potential," Maziarz said. "The Niagara Wine Trail is a homegrown success story that leads to jobs and tourists in our area. I thank the governor for recognizing how important this measure is to our communities.

Bill S.1013-b/A.3758-c, sponsored by Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury, and Assemblywomen Janet Duprey, R-Plattsburgh, establishes the Adirondack Coast Wine Trail. The route will extend from exit 35 off of I-87 in the Town of Peru and continue to Plattsburgh, according to the Governor's Office.

A spokesperson from Little's office said being from the region and serving as chair of the Senate Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation Committee, it was fitting that Little sponsor the bill after hearing from wine producers in the North Country looking to promote their products.

He said the hope is that people who visit the established and successful wine trails in Quebec and Vermont make the short trip to the New York trails and sample what the state has to offer.

"Communities in the North Country have found great success in growing grapes and producing wine and the Adirondack Coast Wine Trail will help promote and direct people to this local treasure," Little said. "The number of wineries is increasing in the region, and we look forward to adding more as the industry grows."

Duprey said the bill was strongly supported by local wineries, the North Country Chamber of Commerce and the Farm Bureau and will bring attention to the growing "agribusiness."

"I am pleased the governor signed into law the Adirondack Coast Wine Trail legislation," she said. "Our local wineries offer great views of the Adirondack Mountains and Lake Champlain while providing a wide variety of award winning vines. As the first international wine trail, the Adirondack Coast Wine Trail will connect trails to Vermont and Quebec, supporting tourism throughout the region."

Bill S.3923-b/A.5721-b, sponsored by Sen. Catharine Young, R-Olean, and Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Jamestown, renames the Chautauqua Wine trail the "Lake Erie Wine Country Trail."

"New York's wine industry is a robust and thriving part of our agricultural sector and one of our state's greatest economic assets," Young said.

"Our wine and wineries often go unheralded, which is why this legislation is so important to making consumers aware of all that New York state wine has to offer," Young said. "Through strengthened marketing and promotional efforts we will improve wine tourism and economic development and our state will benefit significantly."

Goodell said since its creation in 2000, the Chautauqua wine trail now includes more than 30,000 acres of vineyards and with the rebranding will be able to implement a joint marketing program with Pennsylvania, bringing national attention to farms, vineyards, and other businesses across Western New York and the Southern Tier.

"The Lake Erie Wine Country Trail highlights the largest concord grape growing area in the nation and our historic villages, lakes, unspoiled woods and farmland that are unique from Silver Creek Harborcreek, Pennsylvania," Goodell said.

"In addition to our own marketing efforts, we will now also benefit from the marketing efforts of the Pennsylvania wineries, thereby making the entire region even more attractive as a destination," Goodell said.

According to the bills, there is no cost to New York taxpayers. There will be a fee for those who obtain the farmers markets license. Businesses looking to expand the opportunities to sell their products will help pay for the new trails' implementation.

To read more:

Niagara Wine magazine Debuts in Western New York (NY)

Bob Bedford and Linda Pierro a long time wine industry folks who bring us Hudson Valley Wine magazine. But this fall they debuted their new magazine, Niagara Wine magazine. We are so happy for them, and of course, the lucky wineries who participated in the new wine mag. Always full of great stuff. Very exciting. Pick up your copy now!!!

The 3rd Annual Cider Week NY Returns

Participate in Tastings, Classes, Cocktails, Pairings and Flights at more than 75 Restaurants, Pubs, Shops and Markets throughout the Hudson Valley!
Cider makers across the country and in the Northeast are now spearheading a resurgence of orchard-based libations, crafting distinctive hard ciders that pair well with food, can be enjoyed on their own or mixed into delectable cocktails.
Join the Cider Revival! 
Visit Cider Week locations featuring Edible Friends:   
Peekskill Brewery in Peekskill
Stockade Tavernin Kingston   
The Heron in Narrowsburg
Aroma Thyme Bistro in Ellenville
Partition Street Wines in Saugerties
Rhinebeck Farmers Market
(for the full list visit
Learn everything you need to know about cider and apples, meet cider makers, enjoy special tastings and dinners ... Click thru for the ever growing list of events throughout the Hudson Valley!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Fall In Love With Hudson Valley Wine 2013 Continues!!! Columbus Day Weekend Oct 12-13, 2013!!!

Now you can be an explorer Christopher Columbus and discover your own brave new world of Hudson Valley wine, beers, and spirits. There are more than15 more events to choose from this weekend!!! Another series of amazing events!!! We have a wine tent at Goold's Apple Orchards, grape stomping, concerts, and much more!!! There's music, wine tastings, food, fun, and laughter!!! C'mon, Fall in Love With Hudson Valley Wine!!!

Oct 12-13 The 25th Annual Apple Festival & Craft Show BROOKVIEW STATION

Oct 12-13 Grape Stomping BROTHERHOOD WINERY

Oct 12 & 13 Strawberry, Chocolate and Wine Festival Noon BALDWIN VINEYARDS

Oct 12 & 13 Harvest Grape Stomping Festival BENMARL WINERY

Oct 12 Hudson Valley Wine & Leaf Peeping Fest 1pm-4pm Hudson Valley Wine Market, Gardiner, NY

Oct 12 The Brian Dougherty Band Concert ROBIBERO VINEYARDS

Oct 12 Et Tu Bruce Concert 2 to 5 pm Warwick Valley Winery

Oct 13 Rave On Concert 2 to 5 pm at Warwick Valley Winery

Oct 13 Complete Wine Tour With Owner 3pm WHITECLIFF VINEYARDS

Oct 13 The Me 3 Band Concert ROBIBERO VINEYARDS

Oct 14 John Sheehan Concert 2 to 5 pm WARWICK VALLEY WINERY

And of course, for more events, go to:

Monday, October 07, 2013

Let Them Eat Lamb - Lunch At Black Ankle Vineyards

It’s difficult to have to write about Black Ankle Vineyard yet again. I know it must seem repetitive that I am writing about them again. But every time I am there I have a great time and taste fabulous wine. It hasn’t gotten tiresome yet for me, but I do worry that some might think I am running out of ideas or wineries to write about. But that is not so.

This last April I visited Black Ankle again, along with dozens of wine writers and bloggers. It was during the DLW 2013 trip to Maryland. We were all herded into the tasting room to taste the wines and try them out with local ingredients.  
What did I think was going to happen? Exactly what did happen - I fell in love with Back Ankle all over again.  
To start off with, there were tons of people from far and wide. Dave McIntyre from the Washington Post, Lenn Thompson of the New York Cork Report, the Virginia Wine Mafia, Michael Wangbuckler and Tom Mansell, and many others. 

The afternoon started off with a lovely white wine and raw oysters!! What's not to love?! Bedlam 2011 was the white wine blend we had with the oysters. A blend of Viognier, Gruner Veltliner, Albarino and Chardonnay, this was an exceptional austere white wine with an incredibly floral nose and a lovely bright lip-smacking acidity. Fantastic!


The next course was Maryland Suffolk local lamb. Grilled lamb. And grilled lamb sausage. And grilled vegetables. Giants platters of it. And I cannot lie - we gorged on it. Amazing.
And the Black Ankle Vineyards, Leaf-Stone Syrah 2010 went beautifully with it. Not too big, but strong enough n both character and balance. The wine is named for the stone in the vineyard where it is grown that carry the fossils of leaves on their round faces. The wine was 100% Syrah. It was aged 18 months in 65% new French oak.  Alcohol 14.6%.  Cherry and cassis and strawberry. A nice medium-bodied red wine with lovely, lovely dark fruit with nice acidity and good tannins. Well balanced. Fantastic! 


Passggiata 2011 came next. Actually it wasn't on the tasting course - I went off menu. Sorry. But it was a beautiful red wine that instantly made me thrilled. A medium to light bodied red, the nose was a wallop of ripe, deep raspberry with hints of vanilla and spice. This is a dry red blend with a lovely hint of French oak. Cedar and other dark hints. A lovely, lovely drinking wine.

Dave McIntyre of the Washington Post, posed here with the owners, Ed Boyce and Sarah O'Herron. They are always great hosts and great all round folks.

Here's Sarah with Kevin Atticks, Exec. Director of the Maryland Wineries Association and an Affiliate Professor of Communication at Loyola.
Rolling Hill 2010 was another one of the wines that was served with the menu. As I devoured more succulent grilled lamb (along with my cohorts) I tried the Rolling Hills 2010. Hills is a bigger wine. A more sophisticated, Bordeaux-styled blend. Traditionally the Cabernet Sauvignon has made up almost half the blend, with Cabernet Franc and Merlot chipping in another 20% each, with small additions of Malbec and Petit Verdot. Black currant, black cherry, and toasty vanilla spice all come through as promised. A gorgeous, gorgeous wine. Fantastic!

A fantastic time was had by all. We all called for more Maryland lamb, and got it! Luckily, we had a lot of great Black Ankle wine to wash it down with. One of the best wineries on the east coast. What an absolutely fantastic experience.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Fabbioli Cellars Tre Sorelle 2008 (VA)

Fabbiloi Cellars is among my favorite Virginia wineries. And Doug Fabbioli is a fascinating character within the Virginia wine scene. I am always looking to see what Doug is up to when I can. He is one of the most imaginative and inquisitive wine minds on the east coast.

Doug believes in sustainability. He also grows foods to compliment his wines. If you buy one of his white wines, especially in spring, he’ll implore you to buy the asparagus they grow to have with it. It’s not about the money. He doesn’t grow enough of it to make that much money from the vegetable. But he wants you to experience how the terrior can be tasted in different aspects of the different things grown on the farm. It’s an incredibly small thing, but its big point. Think about what you are eating. Find the taste in more than just the wine. See how the two compliment each other. Few wineries in North America put that kind of thinking into their customer experience.

Doug was attending Syracuse University for Production Management when he took a part-time job helping a friend plant and run a vineyard. “This was a very exciting time for me but I knew that we all needed to learn a lot” Doug says. This realization sent Doug and his wife to be Colleen to Sonoma Valley in Northern California for their next chapter.
Doug was employed in the wine cellar at Buena Vista Winery in the Carneros district. Over the ten years of his employment, Doug had a chance to work with many fine winemakers including the legendary Andre Tchelicheff. He continued his education in both enology and viticulture at U.C. Davis and Santa Rosa Junior College. Doug was becoming an accomplished home winemaker while he continued to work and learn as a professional. He had been the assistant Winemaker for 3 years when he heard the calling to return to the East Coast.
Doug accepted the winemaker position at Tarara in Lucketts, VA in 1997 and brought his wife Colleen and sons Matthew and Sam to start a new chapter in the fledgling Virginia wine industry. “My time at Tarara gave me a chance to find out just what my capabilities are. As much as I knew, I found out how much more there was to learn. Even though I get recognition of success through gold medals and awards, I am humbled by the thought that the best wine is not achievable, but a journey of constant effort and learning.”

In 2000, Doug was giving some guidance to Windham to improve quality and productivity in both the vineyard and cellar. This effort increased greatly when in 2001, Doug left Tarara and became the Vintner for Windham. The goal of balance in the vineyards has led to changing some trellising systems causing both quality and quantity increases. In 2002, Doug’s efforts were rewarded as Windham won its first gold medal along with numerous other honors of gold, silver and bronze. Not long after, Doug’s passion for wine brought him to his latest endeavor of owning his own winery and operating Fabbioli Cellars with his wife Colleen. They own a 12 acre vineyard and are strongly known for their red wines and have numerous awards across the board.
Tre Sorelle means Three Sisters in Italian. And indeed, the grapes in this wine are sisters of a kind. This is a dry red blend of 65% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 15% Petite Verdot. They are among the noble grapes of France, and three of the five found in many of the great blends of Bordeaux. So, I get the whole sisters thing,

The wine itself was big, deep, and rich. Almost California in inspiration. But obviously, Doug was channeling Italy when he named it. If I had to say, it’s a unique wine. Sort of like the Italy via California. Big deep beautiful flavors of dark cherry plum, blackberry, and cassis in a dark red wine. Nice expression of fruit up front, with very nice acidity and lovely tannins for a wonderful, well balanced wine.
This was a deep lovely wine that was shared with me by friend David Jackson, a wine connoisseur. I was most grateful for the experience. He first introduced me to Fabbioli Cellars (we shared an incredible Tannat), and I have been a big fan ever since.

After this fabulous red blend, I remain 100% convinced that Doug Fabbioli continues to be a leader in winemaking on the east coast.