Friday, September 26, 2014


15 more events this week of the Fall In Love 2014 season! This week features release parties, grape stomping, and multiple concerts! As well as the Baldwin Vineyards Cigars & Stars party as well as Paintball Biathalon at Brookview Station this weekend!
Come on down and enjoy!

Sept 26 – 28 Rhinebeck Arts Fall Festival 2014, 10am-5pm both days. (WINE TENT)

Sept 26 – Cigars & Stars 12 wines by the camp fire. S’ mores. Live music. Hand rolled cigars available for purchase. 7:00 – 10:00 PM BALDWIN VINEYARDS

Sept 26 – Al Westphal 7:30-10:30pm – Inside   PALAIA VINEYARDS

Sept 27 & 28 Grape Stomp Festival ROBIBERO VINEYARDS

Sept 27 & 28 – Apple Festival 12 wines, release of Spiced Apple Wine, local vendors, local fruits, homemade desserts, hand-made jewelry and more! The engraved wine glass is yours to bring home. LIVE MUSIC BALDWIN VINEYARDS

Sept 27 & 28 – 12-7pm Annual Harvest Grape Stomping Festival BENMARL WINERY

Sept 27 – Paul DiDio music CLEARVIEW VINEYARDS

Sept 27 – CRNA Orienteering and Paintball Biathalon        9AM      5PM BROOKVIEW STATION

Sept 27 – The Not too far from home Comedy Show Comedy Night PALAIA VINEYARDS

Sept 27 – 2nd Annual Spirits, Beer & Wine Tasting Non to 7pm CATSKILL DISTILLING

Sept 28 – Marji Zintz music CLEARVIEW VINEYARDS

Sept 28 – The Whitney Rose Band – Doug & Ann O’Connor and friends – 2:30-5:30pm – Inside PALAIA VINEYARDS

Sept 28 –  Live Jazz by Barry Scheinfeld and Friends  CATSKILL DISTILLING

Read more at:

Friday, September 19, 2014

THE VALLEY TABLE: Spirited Apples

In the September-November 2014 The Valley Table magazine, there's an article entitled Spirited Apples by Timothy Buzinski and Robin Cherry. It's a fabulous article about Apple Jack and the other exciting distilled products being made from apples in the Hudson Valley. Really terrific.!

Read more at:

The Valley Table magazine: Hudson Valley Ciders

The September-November 2014 issue of The Valley Magazine has a tremendous article on the changing apple cider landscape in the Hudson Valley. An excellent story. One everyone should read. It covers only the major players, but such a tory would take too much time to involve every player on the stage. An excellent article!!! Congrats to the people at Valley Table!

Read the whole thing at The Valley Table:

THE VALLEY TABLE Lauds Taste Camp 2014 in the Hudson Valley

Taste Camp 2014 will be held in the Hudson Valley. This is a very exciting thing. And many people want to be involved. Writers and bloggers from around the country will descend on the Hudson Valley for two-and-a-half days, and sample the best wines, spirits, and ciders of the region. It is both an honor and a opportunity to showcase the quality products that are being made in the Hudson Valley. Very exciting.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


The following are a series of articles, profiles, and essays collected to present a snap shot of the Hudson Valley. It is incomplete at this time, as there are a number of profiles I will continue to be adding as the days pass by. But more than anything, it represents a more clear, concise, and yet detailed portrait of the Hudson Valley than anyone else has ever endeavored to do.
The Hudson Valley is an exciting place, with great wine, a fabulous distilling industry, an explosive cider industry, and more. It is home to incredible history and great farming and food. The Hudson Valley is well noted for tit's great mansions and other historic sights. It is also noted for it's incredible CSAs, Hudson Valley artisanal creameries, the home of the Culinary Institute of America, and it's exquisite farm-to-table cuisine and restaurants. 
 The wine industry has gone through a tremendous metamorphosis over the last five years, and is producing bright, lean whites, and soft, approachable reds, well worthy of attention, which it has received form many news outlets.
I hope it provides illuminating and enjoyable.
- C. DeVito
Author's Note
I apologize in advance for typos and mis-spellings that may give readers pause. I humbly ask your forgiveness and indulgence, and bow my own head in disgrace. Corrections will be made over time.

Ichabod Crane and Rip Van Winkle? This Ain’t Your Grand Father’s Hudson Valley!!!


From the Ice Age to Now

Brotherhood, America's Oldest Winery Rewrites the Book on History and Wine

The Hudson Valley is Expanding

Is the Hudson Valley the New Burgundy?

Hudson Valley Noir



THE VISIONARY: Michael Migliore of Whitecliff Vineyards

Brad Martz Promoted to Winemaker at Whitecliff Vineards

John Graziano is the Stan Musial of New York Wine – The Quiet Superstar

The Vine Dresser of Athens - Stephen J. Casscles of Hudson-Chatham Winery

Kristop Brown

Ben Peacock of Tousey Winery: The East Wineries Interview

Tousey's Innovative New Debut of Scarlet Tiger a Roaring Success!

Pressing Matters - Ed Miller of Brookview Station Winery

When You’re at Robibero – It’s Like Family! C’mon in!

Clinton Vineyards

Applewood Winery: A Rosey Apple (and Grape) in the Hudson Valley

Benmarl Winery


Brimstone Hill

Stoutridge Vineyard


Some of My Favorite Hudson Valley Ciders

Ye Olde Hard Cider is Hipster Cool

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

Applewood Naked Flock Original and Pumpkin

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

Nine Pin Cidery - Farmstead Apple Cider in Albany (NY)

Orchard Hill Cider

Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery – Ciders

Brookview Station Jo-Daddy's Hard Cider

Baldwin Vineyards


Six Great Grappas - La Dolce Vita on the Hudson

Summer Cocktails and Bitters

A Visit to Hillrock Estate Distillery

Hudson Valley Distillers

Coppersea Raw Rye

Catskill Distilling Company

Harvest Spirits

Millbrook Distillery Dutchess Private Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Tuthilltown Distillery


Albany Distilling

Ben Feder

Everett Summer Crosby and High Tor Vineyards

John Bruno of Oak Summit - A Life Rich in Steak and Pinot Noir





WINE, SERIOUSLY on the Hudson Valley

Wall Street Journal on Whitecliff Vineyards

Chronogram on Cereghino-Smith

Valley Table on John Dyson of Millbrook Vineyards

Wine Spectator (older piece)

Christopher Matthews

Steven Kolpan

Edible Manhattan on Hudson-Chatham

Debbie Gioquindo – Videos
Tasting HV Cassis
HVWGA 2014 Wine Competition
Touring the HV


15 more events this week of the Fall In Love 2014 season! This week features release parties, grape stomping, and multiple concerts! As well as the Millbrook Harvest Party as well as Hallowine at Altamont begins this weekend!
Come on down and enjoy!

Sept 17 – YelFest with Cathy Patty 9pm CATSKILL DISTILLING

Sept 18 – 24th Annual Harvest Party w/ Culinary Institute of America With Michael Weiss and Steven Kolpan 12-4pm MILLBROOK VINEYARDS

Sept 18 – Vine Van Gogh 7pm ROBIBERO VINEYARDS

Sept 18 – Whiskey & Bourbon Tasting & Stacy & Friends LIVE CATSKKILL DISTILLING

Sept 19 – 7:00pm- Save Monroe Theater Fundraiser – Live Music   PALAIA VINEYARDS

Sept 20 – Wine Tasting and Dinner at Hudson-Athens Lighthouse HUDSON-CHATHAM WINERY

Sept 19 & 20 – 5th Annual Hallowine Festival benefits the American Red Cross Celebrity Chef Competition farm-to-table and Cocktail Reception w/DJ ALTAMONT VINEYARDS

Sept 20 & 21 – 12-5 PM Artisanal Hudson Valley Cheese & Wine Tasting WHITECLIFF VINEYARD

Sept 20 – Carol Lee Company music CLEARVIEW VINEYARDS

Sept 20 – Big Time Tomato! – 7:30-10:30pm – Inside   PALAIA VINEYARDS

Sept 20 – Live music featuring Petey Hop ROBIBERO VINEYARDS

Sept 20 – Hudson-Athens Lighthouse Wine Dinner HUDSON-CHATHAM WINERY

Sept 20 – 2014 Goold’s Golden Oldies Car Show BROOKVIEW STATION WINERY

Sept 21 – Brad Scribner music CLEARVIEW VINEYARDS

Sept 21 – Alec Phillips – 2:30-5:30pm Inside PALAIA VINEYARDS

Sept 21 – Live music featuring Nick Morrizzo ROBIBERO VINEYARDS

Read more at:

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Martha Clara Shines With 6025 North Fork 2010 and Pinot Noir 2012

Earlier in the year, at the Governor's mansion, I had the great pleasure of tasting two Maratha Clara wines with the winemaker Juan E. Micieli-Martinez. I tasted two wines with him, and both were impressive.
In 1978, The Entenmann Family agree to sell their family company and move on to greener pastures. One of Martha Clara’s sons, Robert Entenmann, purchased a potato farm and transformed it into a thoroughbred horse farm on the North Fork of Long Island. Throughout the years he enjoyed his horses and the beauty of the area. However, he couldn’t help but notice the changing landscape all around him. The neighboring potato farms began to give way to vineyards; it was just a matter of time before he would follow suit.

In 1995, Robert caught the grape bug and planted 18 acres of vitis vinifera grapes. Over the next four years his vineyard acreage grew to over 100 acres as he anxiously waited for the grapes to come to age. Robert Entenmann, owner of Martha Clara Vineyards, named the venture after his mother, Martha Clara Entenmann.

Juan E. Micieli-Martinez is the winemaker. Born in Mexico and raised on the Eastern End of Long Island, Juan graduated from SUNY Binghamton in 1999 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and Psychology. After leaving Binghamton he continued his education at Suffolk County Community College minoring in Horticulture. That same year he got a taste for the wine industry and started his journey as a tasting room employee at Pellegrini Vineyards. Juan quickly moved into the cellar and became a vintage intern where he assisted the wine making team at Pellegrini Vineyards in various aspects of production.

The following year staying within the realm of “all-things-fermented” Juan moved to the Southampton Publick House and became Assistant Brewmaster for the nationally recognized micro-brewpub. While he found the craft of making beer fascinating Juan could not shake his ‘oenophiliac tendencies’ so in 2001 he took a position with Premium Wine Group, a custom crush facility in Mattituck. While still at Premium, he headed to Australia and became a ‘Vintage Casual’ for Houghton Winery in Western Australia in 2002. Juan assisted in all aspects of Crush ’02 as he worked with premium fruit from the acclaimed Margaret River appellation.

Juan returned to Premium Wine Group in the summer of 2002, but this time as the production winemaker for Pellegrini Vineyards. Juan’s cellar experience grew and it paid off when he landed his first Head Winemaking position in 2006 with Shinn Estate Vineyards in Mattituck. Juan proudly joined Martha Clara Vineyards in 2007.

Juan is a very nice, jovial guy. Hardworking, and very affable, friendly. Like any other wine geek, he likes to talk wine. He's at many events, standing behind a table. Always willing to talk to anyone who wants to talk wine.

First I tasted the estate grown Pinot Noir 2012. The wine is a light garnet color. Very pretty. Bright ripe cherry and some dark berries dominate the nose and palate. Lovely finish. Great long lasting fruit.
The other wine I tried was the Martha Clara Estate 6025 2010 Vintage. All grown on the North Fork of Long Island. The wine is made from 42% Merlot, 39% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec, 5% Petit Verdot. It's a classic Meritage. The wine has lovely, ripe cherry, blackberry, and cassis. Nice fruit lasts long across the palate and has very good, classic structure. Great tannins. This is a lovely wine, one you could drink now or cellar for some time. Really fantastic!

Great job to Juan and his staff!

Pazdar Aspen's Bite Grapefruit Wine (NY)

According to David Pazdar, Aspen, the family dog, may look like a cute little dog but she has quite a bite. And so the newest wine was named - Aspen's Bite.
What is Aspen's Bite - its a white wine made with grapefruit in it. It's got a wickedly fantastic nose of fresh squeezed grapefruit. And the taste is incredibly palate pleasing. It's a lovely white wine with a fantastic grapefruit flavor. And it has a nice touch of black pepper as well.
David has come up with some interesting wines in the past. He was the first to make a chocolate wine, and his line of pepper wines is one of the most popular at festivals throughout the state.
Despite my skepticism, this was a fantastic wine! Try it. It' really good! 


Mill River Winery (MA)

So Mill River Winery was a revelation. I found a few bottles in a liquor store when I went to visit my sister in Amherst, Massachusetts. The store had a decent selection of local wines, which was a nice surprise. I asked for some advice from the several people who were working, and all said the same thing  - try the Mill River wines. And so I did.
But who in the hell was Mill River Winery. I'd never heard of it. And so I did a little digging.
Rick & Donna’s story is about friendship, chemistry and hard work. Donna was (and remains) a Ph.D. chemist and Rick was an accomplished amateur wine maker. They did a year's worth of renovations at Dodge’s Cider Mill, and created a dedicated team of employees, and founded Mill River Winery.
Located on 3.3 acres of the picturesque North Shore of Massachusetts, they hope that their winery reflects the history and charm of this area that they call home. Apparently they opened in July 2011, with a mission of producing handcrafted wines using the finest grapes from Massachusetts and other notable wine regions.
Who knew?! Not me. Until

Mill River Winery’s Plantation red wine honors Rev. Ezekiel Rogers, who organized a company of twenty English families to sail to the New World on the “John of London”. In 1639, “Ezekiel Roger’s Plantation” was settled as the town of Rowley, MA. According to the owners, this wine celebrates the brave start of Colonial America. This is a lovely, dry, red blend, with ripe raspberry jam the come across the nose and on the palate. Hints of vanilla and spice. A nice, light touch of oak.

The Suisun Valley AVA is an American Viticultural Area in Solano County, California, located just east of the Napa Valley wine region in the Coast Range. It was established as a wine appellation on December 27, 1982, making it the second oldest AVA in California (Napa Valley being the first).
Lots of dark fruit (black cherry, blackberries, cassis) with hints of oak and lots of tannin and spice. A beautiful wine.
Though I'm hoping we'll see more fruit from the north east sneak into the portfolio, what is there is lovely!

Vineyard View Winery on Keuka Lake

Met these fine folks at the Finger Lakes Wine Festival, and it seemed like they were into doing some serious wines, so I gave them a try and was pleasantly pleased.
Adam Folts is a fifth generation grape grower, tending vines on the same property his great, great grandfather first cultivated.  The Folts Farm grows mostly native grapes and some French-American hybrids. Adam spent his life in the vineyard, helping his father on the family farm for about 12 years. He served four years active duty in the Air Force, but in his heart and mind he never really left the farm. It was happenstance, then, that the Air Force sent him to Texas, where he met a couple who owned a small winery. He helped them in the cellar and developed a love for making wine.
He first created his business plan in 2010 with his wife Nikki and with his father Mike. They have joined him in this venture to create an estate winery on 50 acres of Folts Farm. A Registered Nurse by profession, Nikki has always had a passion for wine and shares Adam’s desire to nurture the grapes and the craft of wine making. In addition to helping to set the vision for the winery and tasting room, she has been an active member of the Folts farm since they met.
According to the Folts family, "Currently, wine is being made off-site at Inspire Moore Winery and Vineyard. We have been working directly with Tim Moore in producing the wines, and we couldn’t be more happy with this years vintage. 2012 was almost the perfect growing season for the Finger Lakes, and we are thrilled to start our first year off with such an amazing vintage."

I've been very lucky lately - I've tried a number of really good Gewurztraminers recently, and this one is no exception. This is a lovely Gewurztraminer, with a big floral nose, some wonderful green apple and tropical fruits, and a nice, grapefruit ending. Absolutely lovely!

The Dry Riesling was also very impressive and expressive. Big notes of bright green apple, tropical fruits, honeysuckle, and hints of spice made this delicious before I even took my first sip. And those flavors were confirmed in my first sip. A very, very nice wine. I prefer Dry Rieslings, and this one was a straight up lovely wine right down the middle of the fairway. Very, very nice.
Look forward to more wines from Vineyard View.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Honey Hollow Brewing - A New Farm Brewery in Earlton (NY)

According to their website, "We are a sub-nano, do it ourselves farm brewery located in Earlton, NY producing small batch hand crafted ales. Hone Hollow beers are made entirely of New York State ingredients and future home grown hops  from our garden"

Albany Times-Union beer writer, Greg Back wrote in November of last year, "I’ve been keeping an eye on this new farm brewery opening up in Earlton. If Albany Ale is the reawakening of the past, then the Honey Hollow Brewery is most certainly a sign of the future. Matty Taormina, Honey Hollow’s brewmaster, is ready to show his nanobrewery to the world. He joins The Beer Diviner as the second licensed farm brewery in the area, with Green Wolf Brewing still waiting on certification. For the opening, Matty has a honey lager brewed with local honey, a brown ale, a ruby red ale and Hurricane pale ale."

I couldn't agree more. Farm breweries are the wave of the future. And there are more and more of them popping up around the region. I first came into contact with them at a small beer fest at the Beer Diviner in Stephentown, NY. It was there that I first tasted their beers. These are good folks who make some very honest beers - and they drink nicely.

You can read the descriptions for yourself above. No nee for me to re-introduce them. But on the other hand, I can say that I liked all three very much. Very much. The Hurricane Pale Ale was a very, very drinkable pale ale. Went down easy. Very fun. The IPA had some pop to it. If you like IPA, then that's what you'll get. It has a lot of body, so it's not all just hops. There's some malt there, and lots of flavor. But its also very aromatic. Very. And lastly had to be one of my favorite beers from that day - a coffee porter. really, very lovely. Big, deep, dark, rich, like a cup of espresso, but with that chocolaty touch to it. Lots of malt. Gorgeous.

This stuff I definitely worth seeking out!!!! Great job, folks!

Imagine Moore....Great Wine!

There are plenty of cool dudes in the wine business...and even more who think they are cool but are not. Count Tim Moore in the first category. Handsome, well connected, and well liked, Moore walks through a room like he already owns it. There's not a lot of braggadocio. There's a little bit of cockiness...but that's just the attitude of someone who knows what he's doing. He' not walking the floor looking for attention. He doesn't dress outrageously. He's doing his own thing. People come to him. One imagines Tim aging much like the character in the beer commercials, eventually morphing in his old age into the World's Most Interesting Man. Hell, he's already more than halfway there.
Tim is well balanced by his lovely wife Diane, who has her own movie star good looks thing going on. She's very pleasant an always nice when I stop by their booth. I see Tim plenty of times during the course of a year. Mostly festivals. He's helped me a couple of times. And I have long been a fan of his wines. And I must say, Moore wines have often been a fall back when we have company. They are usually soft, approachable, and complex, and please a good number of palates.
Tim and Diane Moore bring over 15 years of winemaking and grape-growing experience in the Finger Lakes to Inspire Moore. They met at the University of California at Davis, where Tim was studying Enology and Diane, International Relations. The dream of starting a winery was always a part of their vision from the time they met.
Tim and Diane were blessed to have 5 beautiful children who are an integral part of everyday life at the winery, as well as the pictures behind the images on the bottles. Jordain, the oldest, and Madison, her sister next in line, share a yoga pose on GRACE, walk hand in hand on CHANGE, and jump for JOY. Cassie, the middle girl, smiles in the vineyards for HARMONY, while the boys, Nate and Nick, both have places on WISDOM and RADIANCE. They can often be found helping out around the winery--unloading wine, doing yard work, helping with the cash register...Inspire Moore was started as a family business, and that is the basis of all that they believe in and hold to be most important in their life.
GrĂ¼ner Veltliner is a variety of white wine grape variety grown primarily in Eastern Europe. We don't see a lot of them here on the east coast, but I am always curious when I see one. And more are coming no doubt. This 2013 Finger Lakes Gruner is light and fruit forward. Oz Clarke has said the Gruner sometimes develops it's nose after some time in the bottle, but I am telling you this 2013  white wine had plenty of nose to spare. Green apple, tropical notes, almost as pretty and floral as a Gewurztraminer. It also had some lovely spiciness and a hint of grapefruit and white pepper at the end. Refreshing, with zippy acidity, this complex white wine was a stunner!!! Easily one of the best Gruners on the east coast.
Synchronicity has long been a favorite in our household. I have tried several times to build up a small stockpile of this wine in m cellar, but it has become popular enough in our house I never have more than one bottle left at the end of a year. In the past, the wine was usually Finger Lakes Syrah with a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon. However, this year, that recipe changed. It was 80% Blaufrankish and 20% Merlot. When Tim told me this I was bummed. I do not like the whole Lemberger/Merlot thing going on. Just not a fan. I wanted to say, "WTF? Why?!" Then I tasted it.
It was lovely! And the funny thing? It tasted to me not unlike it's previous vintages!  The wine still had pretty damned good color, and still had the notes of sweet cassis and spice that the previous vintages had. And I had to eat my words, because I have preached lightness on Blaufrankish, because many of the winemakers seeking Blaufrankish's darker colors are often achieved at the price of off flavors that overly extracted Blaufrankish can produce. This was not the case. It was soft, drinkable, complex red wine. Lovely. Hats off to Tim and his folks on this one.

Wisdom is a Chinon-styled Cabernet Franc tinged with a small dollop of Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine spends11 months in oak. This is a lovely, soft, Cabernet Franc. It has nice fruit up front, and a nice finish. Not too much tannin. And the fruit lasts a long time in your mouth. A very nice Cabernet Franc.  

Truth has been another popular Moore wine in our household. Again, like Synchronicity, it has been hard to keep in the cellar. The 2012 edition is a Meritage blend of  41% Cabernet Franc, 30% Merlot, and 29% Cabernet Sauvignon. Aged for 16 months in European and select American oak. This wine of course also pleased me immensely. Big, bold fruit up front, with a nice mid-palate, and a lovely, firm finish. The acidity up front held the fruit up nicely, and the tannins at the end, gave the wine structure and a good, solid finish. For sure, an easy crowd pleaser for those who like reds wines. Very lovely! A very nice, sophisticated wine.

If you like good wine, and YOU want to be cool, you'll serve Moore wines to friends, and drink more of them yourself. Great stuff! Congrats to Tim, Diane, and their family and staff!

Have You Tried August Deimel's Wine? If Not, You Should be Drinking Keuka Spring Vineyards!

Whether or not you like it, math and wine are inseparable. How many tons of grapes come from an acre of vineyard? How many bottles of wine come from a ton of grapes? My personal favorite, through experience, is the classic, 'If little Johnny has two pages of "the new math" homework, how many glasses of wine will it take before his parents gets over it?" 
According to his biography, "A polymath, raconteur, intellectual-at-large, gourmand, and Steelers fan, August Deimel came to winemaking the usual way: accidentally. Having studied the Great Books at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, NM he followed the well-trod path of liberal arts majors into re-tail sales, taking a job at a wine shop in Baltimore, MD. His passion for wine quickly took him on a whirlwind tour of the wine industry, selling wine for a distributor in Washington, DC and working a harvest for Goldeneye Winery in Philo, CA. Of course, all of this was done while exploring careers in the theatre and politics as well. But eventually decisions must be made, and in 2010 August concluded that winemaking was his first and greatest passion and it was time to commit to a path. He crossed the Rubicon (or at least, two state borders) to attend Cornell University where he received his Master’s degree, studying Enology in the Depart-ment of Food Science and Technology. After graduate school, he took up the position of wine-maker at Adams County Winery in Orrtanna, PA where he produced some nice wines while achieving immortal infamy for appearing in a series of promotional videos on YouTube (Yes, Virginia, acting classes can pay off!) But his time in the Finger Lakes while at Cornell left an indelible impression. Unable to resist its pull, he returned to the region like a swallow to Ca-pistrano in the spring of 2012. He took up the winemaking duties at Keuka Spring Vineyards where, along with a crack team and the dedicated leadership of the Wiltberger family, he strives to create the benchmark wines...."
I can't say all that because I really don't know him THAT well. I chatted with him twice, so it's not like we've kicked back with a six-pack and a couple of bottles. But I can tell you this - it seems right, even after only meeting him for a few minutes here and there. I like what I have seen. And I like what I have tasted. You can taste the authenticity.
I had the pleasure to meet August at the Hudson Valley Wine Festival 2014. He came right up and introduced himself, and it's been a pleasure ever since. He has a wicked sense of humor that comes across easily. I have always wanted to meet him, so that was cool, and we easily started the wine geek admiration thing. He can speak wine-geek with the best of them. Keuka Spring has produced some lovely wines, and so I took full advantage of the opportunity to partake of his wines  - despite his affiliation with that team that says it plays "football" near the confluence of three rivers in Pennsylvania.

In the early 80's Len and Judy Wiltberger had the opportunity to purchase 30 acres of land overlooking beautiful Keuka Lake. With their love of wine and winemaking experience,  they planted several wine grape varieties at the site with help from their children and Len's sisters. They opened a tasting room in the mid-80's, adjacent to the vineyards, as an outlet for their premium wines. Keuka Spring's first vintage was in 1985. Throughout the 80's and 90's the Wiltberger family produced and sold wine primarily out of this tasting room. In 2003, the Wiltbergers designed and constructed a new tasting room on the opposite side of the vineyard overlooking the lake, which opened in 2004. 
The vines that they planted in 1981 continue to bear very worthy fruit. They have added additional plantings of Lemberger and Cabernet Franc to the original Chardonnay, Seyval Blanc, Riesling, and Vignoles vines. Throughout the years, all of the Wiltberger children have contributed to the development of the business and are still involved today. The family runs the day to day operation of the winery, and usually either Judy, Len, or Jeanne is around.
Len and Judy are committed to making consistent, high-quality, award-winning wine, hand-crafted from vine to bottle.  From the beginning, they have believed that Keuka Lake is an area capable of producing world-class wine and wanted to be a part of this trend. They have been residents of the area since 1973.
Initially, the Wiltbergers intentionally kept production small, to about 2,000 cases per year, hand-bottled and hand-labeled.  As business grew, more and more wine became sold out.  To meet customer demand, they have expanded production to about 8500 cases per year. Len and Judy Wiltberger continue to run the business today, aided by a wonderful tasting and vineyard staff.

OK, on to some of my favorite Keuka Spring Vineyards wines.

 100% barrel-fermented, 9 months gross lees contact, 100% ML, 66% bought fruit (E. Seneca) 33% Estate.  8% new Hungarian oak.  Remainder is a mix of ancient USA and France.  Says August, "[We're] Looking for reasonably fruity Chard that still shows classic barrel-fermented character.  We've been playing around with this and are continually tweeking it." So far, so good. Nice bright fruit. Green apple. Tropical fruits. A hint of creaminess. Very nice.

This Gewurztraminer is sourced from 3 different vineyard sources, ripest grapes in the blend came in at 25.5 degrees Brix. "18 hour cold soak that we chilled with dry ice. In addition to keeping the whole thing cold the dry ice aids extraction by breaking up the skins. Pressing it is like pressing fermented reds. Love this Gewurz, personally. I think it may well be a Gewurz lovers Gewurz in the end," August told me. If you like Gewurztraminer, then this is your wine. It's got a gorgeous nose, and great acidity and really full mouthful make this an extraordinary light white. And it's not too sweet. Coming in at 0.07% RS makes this an elegant wine. Lovely. Really pretty. A must have for Gewurz lovers.

This is Keuka Spring Vineyard's largest production Riesling with 961 cases made. With 1.4% R.S., this is a semi-dry that drinks fairly dry. This Riesling is a blend of 3 vineyard sources, 5 different fermentation lots, 2 different yeasts. According to August, "This is in many ways our signature wine and I think it combines a lot of elements that define our house style.  Appealing fruit? Check.  Very little phenolics, allowing the acid to carry the finish without any roughness? Check.  A bit of CO2 to keep things lively? Check.  What I like about the balance is that I think there's enough sugar to keep it drinkable without food but it's dry enough that it will pair with most things at the dinner table." He couldn't be more spot on. A really lovely, lovely Riesling. A fine wine.

This semi-sweet Riesling goes through a 4 month long fermentation, and results in a 2.5% R.S., The fruit is from the Humphreys vineyard on West Seneca. According to August, "This is our super-long fermentation wine.  We were looking for aromatics that were different than anything else we had in our other Rieslings along with a bit more texture in the mouth.  This was a fun one, as it changed so much during its fermentation." This is a more conventional styled Riesling with that green apple and tropical fruit with a hint of sweetness. If you like a hint more sugar this is really special. Great acidity balances this lovely wine. Very elegantly done. Great complexity.
 This is one of my absolute favorites. 6% R.S. "15-25% botrytis.  Came in at 25.5, fermentation stopped very early (obviously). Vines were planted in 1981. Older Vignoles develops such nice depth. The botrytis only serves to intensify the standard Vignoles character and I have never EVER seen sour rot in this vineyard despite botrytis being everywhere.  I like our winemaking on this, but really it's all in service of showcasing this amazing fruit." This was an absolutely astounding Vignoles. Floral, crisp, fantastic aftertaste. An amazing wine! Possibly one of the best Vignoles I have ever had.

August told me that this was made from, "100% estate fruit, grown on Scott Henry to try to capture as much sun as possible."One of the reasons I really liked this was that it was not over extracted. A light red full of flavor. Bouncy, ripe cherry, pomegranate, and other bramble fruit made this a lovely,  Burgundy-styled wine, that was soft an approachable. This is how Lemberger should be made. Instantly one of my favorite Lembergers (why couldn't you call it Blaufrankish?) on the east coast. Fabulous!

This is a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cab Sauvignon.  And it's aged in Older oak, both French and American.  When I tried this wine it had only been in the bottle 3 weeks before I tasted it. "Cap management was 100% delestage in order to bring out the primary fruit and to round out the tannins and begin to develop solid structure in the fermentor. This was essentially a barrel selection from 2013 red varieties, picking and choosing our favorites and then working up a blend that highlighted their qualities.  Loved the strawberry jam thing." This blend is full of dark cherry, blackberry and plum all come through, both across the nose and on the palate. Hints of vanilla, spice, and a whiff of fall make this a lovely, lovely red.
If Little Johnny can figure out his math home work in at least a few hours, especially the new math, then if mom is really lucky, she'll have a glass of Keuka Spring Vineyards wine. How many glasses will she have? If she's lucky, she'll have a whole bunch. That's good math. 
The best math that I can muster is this - Keuka Spring is making too many good wines to count! So you will have to try them for yourself. Luck you!
Great job, August!!!